Scholars' Association News
Issue 28
November 2013


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George Lazaridis and Prism Quartet at Carnegie Hall

Showcasing the music of one of Greece’s contemporary composers, the Onassis Cultural Center NY presented a concert of works by Giorgos Koumendakis, whose eclectic works range from chamber pieces to the music for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The concert took place at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday October 15,2013.

The program, performed by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet and pianist George Emmanuel Lazaridis, a scholar of the Onassis Foundation, featured Koumendakis’s Typewriter Tune and the US premiere of excerpts from his piece Mediterranean Desert, Steven Mackey’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral in a new transcription made especially for this concert, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Typewriter Tune is described by Koumendakis as ˝a series of works inspired by tradition“,”a type of correspondence“ that he ”forwards to various recipients“, ranging from people to natural phenomena. In this case, the recipient was John Cassavetes’s 1968 “Faces.”

The work “Mediterranean Desert” consists of 24 pieces whose content draws inspiration from the Mediterranean fauna and flora. According to the composer: “… We have all felt the power of the Mediterranean landscape to some extent; a landscape which is distorted day by day through the thoughtless treatment by its inhabitants. The contemporary man's relationship with the natural landscape—at times charged, imbalanced or nonexistent—was the starting point for this composition. Music heeds no tourist guides. It becomes itself the medium for the reveries of the soul. It reconstructs the memories of summer and turns into a comforting guide for winter. Every time we open our window, the Mediterranean sea is always there“. Each of the 24 pieces starts off as musical commentary on the particular physical traits of fish, birds, animals, insects and plants. The work was commissioned by the "Michael Marks Charitable Trust".

The members of PRISM Saxophone Quartet are: Timothy McAllister, Soprano Saxophone , Zachary Shemon, Alto Saxophone, Matt Levy, Tenor Saxophone and Taimur Sullivan, Baritone Saxophone.

George Emmanuel Lazaridis, a pianist and composer, studied at the Royal Collage of Music in London with Yonti Solomon, as well as with Alfred Brendel, Ruth Nye, Domna Evnouhidou, Paul Badura Skoda, Noretta Conci Leech and Douglas Finch. Since the age of eleven he has received prizes, honorary awards and scholarships like the ‘Jeunes Solistes D’ Europe’ and ‘Steinway & Sons’ Grand Prix, Scholarships from the Hattori, Onasis and Levendis Foundations, RCM ‘Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’ award and Chappell Medal 2000. He has received medals from the Academy of Athens, the Worshipful Company of Musicians and many more.

During the past 20 years he has performed in some of the most prestigious venues worldwide like Royal Albert Hall, Barbican, Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw, St Petersburg Philharmonia Hall, Palais des Beaux Arts, Festspielhaus, Cologne’s Philharmonie, Stockholm’s Konserthuset, Cite de la Musique in Paris, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Palace of the Arts in Budapest to name a few. His appearances have received great critical acclaim from audiences and critics alike, recognizing him as one of the finest pianists of his generation.

His work, "Sleepwalking", performed at London's Wigmore Hall was nominated for a Sony Award. His rhapsodic song-cycle ‘Tragic Love’, written for the singer Maria Farandouri, received its world premier at the Ancient Epidaurus Theatre in July 2008.

Lazaridis has also been an active teacher, a successful artistic director and the founder of new international cultural structures. Since early 2013, he is a founding member of the KYKLOS international ensemble.

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