Issue 03, October 2006
homepage > Review Onassis Music Bonds

Bonds of Music

Panoramic view of the Benaki Museum Atrium, venue of the Scholars’ Association summer concert
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Panoramic view of the Benaki Museum Atrium, venue of the Scholars’ Association summer concert

The annual concert organised by the Scholar's Association at the end of June was held in memory of the honourable Foundation President, Stelios Papadimitriou, further to a wish expressed by a number of artist-scholars.

 
 

On 28 June 2006, the atrium of the new building of the Benaki Museum hosted the 43 concert contributors and hundreds of Association invitees in a unique artistic evening during which genuine "Musical Bonds" were formed. As a small token of their appreciation for all of the moral and material support given to them by the Foundation and Stelios Papadimitriou from the period of their studies up until today, forty one musician-scholars worked together to organise a gathering of numerous high profile soloists on the music scene - a gathering of a magnitude never before seen in Greece.
Apart from Foundation scholars, other prominent soloists participated in the concert recognising the significant work that the Foundation undertakes in the scholarship field; namely, Georgios Demertzis (violin) and Apostolos Chandrakis (cello) of the New Hellenic Quartet, and Angelos Politis (principal clarinet with the ERT National Symphony Orchestra). The event was directed by scholar, Konstantinos Arvanitakis, an established drama director who has studied in the United States and collaborated with a number of artists on the entire spectrum of theatrical repertoires. Scripts were read by scholar, Katerina Didaskalou, an actress known for her successful roles in theatre, cinema and TV.  Responsible for the difficult coordination of this undertaking and its many contributors was musician-scholar, Dionysis Mallouhos, who helped devise the programme and create small chamber music ensembles especially for the occasion. Dionysis Mallouhos, a prominent pianist with a continual presence on the Greek music scene and abundant didactic work, has participated in the discographic productions of Greek composers' works. He also collaborates with the Third Programme and ERT Radio.
The evening began with a six-member musical ensemble that accompanied soprano, Mina Polychronou, and mezzo-soprano, Irini Karayanni, in a duet from Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. Mina Polychronou has had a number of appearances at the Greek National Opera, as well as at premieres of Greek composers' works. Irini Karayanni has won awards at international competitions and performed many important roles in operas both in Greece and abroad. The work was transcribed by composer, Tasos Rosopoulos, who, though not a scholar, offered its collaboration for the concert. The musical ensemble was made up of Sofia Kamvysi, a flute soloist with selective concert appearances and exceptional educational work, oboist; Yannis Papayannis, who has specialised in early music and has had a continual presence on both Greek and foreign music scenes for a number of years; Alexandros Economou, a top bassoonist with the Athens State Orchestra who began winning awards at a very early age and has participated as a soloist in a number of orchestras in Greece and abroad; Georgios Faroungias, a top bassoonist with the orchestra of the Greek National Opera who has appeared in a number of chamber music concerts in Greece and abroad; Angela Yannaki, a viola soloist with very frequent appearances in great halls where she performs the works of the viola repertoires of foreign and Greek composers; and pianist and organist, Titos Gouvelis, who has won awards at international competitions and organised successful series of chamber music events for the Athens State Orchestra.
Irini Karayanni performed "Dido's Lament" from Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas transcribed by Kostis Kritsotakis. She was accompanied by Yannis Papayannis on the oboe, Alexandros Economou and Georgios Faroungias on the bassoon, and Angela Yannaki on the viola. Composer, Kostis Kritsotakis, has written works for chamber music, concertos, and theatrical music, to name a few, and has composed a significant number of songs.
An aria from Christoph Willibald Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice was performed by tenor, Dimosthenis Fistouris, who was accompanied by Sofia Kamvysi on flute, Yannis Papayannis on oboe, Angela Yannaki on viola, and Alexandros Economou and Georgios Faroungias on bassoon. This aria and the one that followed from César Franck's Panis Angelicus were transcribed by Tasos Rosopoulos. The vocals were performed by tenor, Stamatis Beris, who is a soloist at the Greek National Opera, a veteran performer of all of the significant repertoire roles, and founder of the voice ensemble "Family Voices". Accompanying him was the musical ensemble from the first performance of the evening.
Mozart's music could not have been absent from the Association's musical evening in a year dedicated to the great composer. Two of his works were performed: a) the first part of the KV370 Oboe Quartet in F major with Dimitris Kitsos on oboe, Antonis Sousamoglou on violin, Hara Seira on viola, and Christos Grimbas on cello, and b) the first part of the KV 305 Sonata for Piano and Violin in A major with violinist, Yannis Georgiadis, and Dionysis Mallouhos on piano. Oboe soloist, Dimitris Kitsos, has a significant presence in 20th and 21st century repertoires. Antonis Sousamoglou is a concertino violinist with the Thessaloniki State Orchestra and has contributed significantly to popularising the modern repertoire in Greece. Viola soloist, Hara Seira, is a principal in the Thessaloniki State Orchestra and member of the eminent New Hellenic Quartet. Cellist, Christos Grimbas, is a member of the Thessaloniki State Orchestra and makes frequent concert appearances. Yannis Georgiadis is not only an established violinist, but also maestro and founder of the women's chamber orchestra "Feminarte".
«Il est doux» from Maurice Ravel's Chansons Madécasses was then performed by soprano, Vivianna Yannaki, who has studied in France and appeared in Paris and Athens. Accompanying her was Thodoris Giatras, a flutist specialised in picolo flute and highly experienced in chamber music, Yannis Tsitselikis, top cellist with the Athens State Orchestra with keen soloist activity in chamber music concerts and collaborations with symphony orchestras, and Thanassis Apostolopoulos, one of the most prominent pianists of the new generation.
The evening continued with a classical duet between young musicians. Corina Vouyouka, on guitar, and Thodoris Tzovanakis, on piano, presented Fantasia, Opus 145 for Guitar and Piano by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The duo, which has been working together for a number of years, performs an interesting repertoire and has received exceptional reviews.
Cellist, Nicolas Kavakos and violinist, Yannos Margaziotis (artistic director of the Cyclades Festival), are members of the very successful “Artis Piano Trio" - along with Anny Totsiou - which made its debut this year at New York's Carnegie Hall.
They presented the first part of Anton Arensky's Opus 32: Piano Trio in D minor with Stella Perraki on piano. The pianist, who has studied in Germany, frequently appears in chamber music recitals and concerts and has an educational offering that has amassed over a number of years.
Significant was the presence of composers who are also Onassis Foundation scholars at the Musical Bonds dedication. Periklis Koukos, one of the Greek composers whose work is presented frequently in both opera houses and concert halls abroad, has remained conductor of the Greek National Opera and the Greek Festival. Adagio for string quartet was performed by the New Hellenic Quartet, which is the most up and coming Greek chamber music ensemble, having recorded at the biggest foreign record companies and continually performing concerts in great European and American halls. It is comprised of Georgios Demertzis (principal violin) and Apostolos Chandrakis (cello) - both non-scholars who kindly offered to partake in the Association's concert-dedication - as well as scholars, Dimitris Chandrakis (second violin) and Hara Seira (viola).
The first part of the momentous concert closed with Ottorino Respighi's Tramonto for voice and string quartet, which was performed by the New Hellenic Quartet and Angeliki Kathariou, a mezzo-soprano with continual appearances in opera houses and concert halls in Europe and the United States and an abundant discography in a variety of repertoires.
The second part of the evening was devoted to the work of Greek composers, both new and old. The first composition presented was that of yet another distinguished scholar-composer, Christos Papageorgiou, called Elegeia ("Lament"), which was performed by the composer himself on piano, Dimitris Kitsos (oboe), Antonis Sousamoglou (violin), and soprano, Anna Alexopoulou, who glides easily and successfully through opera repertoires and modern music. Christos Papageorgiou is a very talented and frequently performing pianist, a composer of award winning works for a variety of musical ensembles, and a successful radio and television presenter (Third Programme and ET1 - Hotel Triton, respectively).
His love for his birthplace, Alexandria, and the poet, Constantine Cavafy, accompanied the unforgettable Stelios Papadimitriou throughout his life. A tribute to the Alexandrian poet, therefore, could not be absent from the programme of this musical dedication. Four of his poems were selected by four composers and set to music with a unique approach: Eis to epineion ("In the Harbour") by Haris Vrontos was performed by Anna Pangalou, a mezzo-soprano who has studied in Vienna and won first prize at the "Dimitris Mitropoulos" International Competition, Angelos Politis, a top clarinettist with the ERT National Symphony Orchestra and non-scholar who kindly offered to perform, and Marianna Katerelou, a young, very promising pianist who has studied in London and already performed at recitals held in large halls. Apoleipein o Theos Antonion ("The God Abandons Antony") by Leonidas Kanaris was presented by soprano Mina Polychronou, violinist Yannis Georgiadis, cellist Yannis Tsitselikis, and pianist Marianna Katerelou. Etsi Poly Atenisa ("I've Gazed So Much") by Savvas Kassotis was transcribed by Kostis Kritsotakis and performed by mezzo-soprano, Irini Karayanni, flutist Thodoris Giatras, Eleni Savvani, principal oboe soloist with the ERT National Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Colours, Eddie Kalogeropoulos, bassoon soloist with a long-term presence in the ERT National Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Colours, Angela Yannaki on viola and Konstantina Gyftoula, a pianist with a number of appearances in chamber music recitals and concerts.
The dedication to Cavafy was rounded out by Dimitris Papadimitriou's composition, Polis ("The City"), which was transcribed by Tasos Rosopoulos and performed by mezzo-soprano, Irini Karayanni, Tasos Apostolou, a bass-baritone with a unique voice and exceptional ease in the theatrical performance of roles, Thodoris Giatras (flute), Eleni Savvani (oboe), Eddie Kalogeropoulos (bassoon), Angelos Politis (clarinet), Yannis Georgiadis (violin), Angela Yannaki (viola) and Konstantina Gyftoula (piano).
Three of Kostas Karyotakis' poems were set to music by scholar Nikos Christodoulou, Polymnia ("Polyhymnia"), Strophes ("My Verses"), and Agapi ("Love") (the latter two to a melody by Mikis Theodorakis). Tasos Apostolou sang and on piano was Nikos Christodoulou, permanent maestro of the ERT National Symphony Orchestra, musicologist and composer, collaborator of Manos Hatzidakis on Lilipoupoli, and analyst of Nikos Skalkotas' work, with many of his own compositions as well as transcriptions of the work of Greek and foreign composers.
Nikos Kypourgos is also amongst the scholar-composers whose work was presented at "Musical Bonds". One of Manos Hatzidakis' collaborators from an early age on the Third Programme and Lilipoupoli, he has since pursued a very personal genre, composing for all types of music (instrumental, theatrical, cinematic) and recording very successful discographic work. His work Amor, which was written for the play Dangerous Liaisons, was performed at the Association concert by Maira Milolidaki, a soprano who has studied in Milan, won international competition awards, and collaborated with theatres and orchestras in Greece and abroad, mezzo-sopranos, Angeliki Kathariou, Irini Karayanni, and Anna Pangalou, Thodoris Giatras (flute), Eleni Savvani (oboe), Alexandros Economou (bassoon) and pianist, Thanassis Apostolopoulos.
The concert closed with Manos Hatzidakis' songs Pera Sto Tholo Potami ("Down to the Turbid River") and Lianotragouda ("Eighteen Little Songs of the Bitter Homeland"), which were performed by Maira Milolidaki (soprano), Anna Pangalou (mezzo-soprano), Tasos Apostolou (bass-baritone), Antonis Sousamoglou (violin), and Miltos Logiadis on piano. For the last ten years, Miltos Logiadis, permanent maestro of the Orchestra of Colours, has been presenting and proposing particularly demanding works to the Greek public, which are often being performed for the first time.

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