Scholars' Association News
Issue 32
November 2014


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The Onassis Cultural Centre (OCC) announced its programme of events for the new 2014-2015 season at a spectacular presentation on 23 September. As always, the packed schedule of events covers the whole spectrum of arts. The OCC’s attentions may be focused on Athens, but that doesn’t stop it from taking the public on a journey to the four corners of the earth. There’s an emphasis on educating people of all ages, coupled with a clear intention to prevent all forms of social exclusion as a matter of policy.

During his opening address, the President of Onassis Foundation, Antonis Papadimitriou, referred to one of the OCC’s greatest achievements: its outward-looking focus, achieved by systematically bringing Greek productions to the rest of the world. He also stressed that the Foundation is proud of the fact that the OCC supports diversity, inclusiveness and criticism. “The culture you generate or support is a stance you take,” said Anthony Papadimitriou. “That’s why we do political theatre. That’s why we run so many programmes for kids with and without autism, for those who are disabled and not. That’s why we are working with so many schools in Athens and the regions. We feel it’s our responsibility to have -but also that we are free to have- a political stance on things. We have opted to live in society, even if the cost of that decision entails the effort and worry created by often-times harsh criticism. We have decided to work in our own way to combat exclusion, violence, and the fascist mindset.”

He added that, “The Onassis Foundation is not a bottomless pit of money. We are not merely here to provide finance. That’s not our mission. That’s why we are dealing with issues relevant to Athens, the city and public space, in collaboration with the State and citizens. That’s why the OCC is not a hotel for culture. Not any old one can book a room here. We are creating our own identity, and through it are engaging in politics,” concluded the Foundation’s President.

Christos Carras (Executive Director/Head of Music), Afroditi Panagiotakou (Executive Deputy Director/Director of Communication and Marketing), Katia Arfara (Head of Theatre and Dance) and Marilena V. Karra (Head of Visual Arts) presented the programme.


William Kentridge, a South African director and artist, is back after the outstanding Refuse the Hour, to present his masterpiece Ubu and the Truth Commission, in a new version of this historic 1997 show, in partnership with the internationally-renowned puppet theatre company Handspring Puppet Company (17-21 December).

The up-and-coming blindspot group and the talented director Michalis Konstantatos stage Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, taking a fresh, unexpected, almost filmic look at the play (22-30 December).

The internationally acclaimed director Giannis Houvardas accompanied by his great troupe will tackle Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in a radical re-imagining of this leading work from the world of theatre (14 January – 1 February).

Egg White / Cream & Meringue, by Eugène Labiche. Based on materials from two 19th century farces that take things to extremes, from one of the greatest innovators of European theatre, the incomparable master of musicality Christoph Marthaler appears at OCC for the first time (13-15 February).

Themelis Glynatsis’ Romanticism is a performance based on Hermann Broch’s Sleepwalkers. What led humanity from romanticism to fascism? Based on the monumental trilogy by the Austrian writer, a highly promising director from the modern generation skilfully directs this work depicting the decline of Europe in the late 19th century (18-29 March).

Stage poet Nikos Karathanos grapples with one of the world’s greatest theatrical masterpieces, Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard (22 April – 3 May).

The Youth Theatre Festival runs from 23 to 25 April 2015, while Georgia Mavragani and Happy End will present the youth theatre performance Not Innocent Any More from 16 November to 26 April.

Hate Radio is an award-winning show from the innovative author and director Milo Rau. After appearing at the Avignon Festival and the Berlin Theatertreffen the show is now journeying to more than 15 countries. The work examines the role of the RTML Station in Rwanda during the genocide of the Tutsi and the annihilation of the Hutu moderates (13-15 May).


The Crimson House by the Polynesian Lemi Ponifasio, which opens in November 2014 (7-9 November) at the Onassis Cultural Centre, blends dance and theatre, once again utilising the force of hypnotic images from his performances to raise awareness among the public about the problems humanity faces.

Jerôme Bel’s Disabled Theatre reveals the political dimension of how the mentally retarded are treated (12–13 December).

Azimut is the title of the show Aurélien Bory will stage in December along with the Tangiers Acrobatics Troupe, combining acrobatics with modern art (28–30 December).

January will see the Persa Stamatopoulou Modern Dance Company present Siopi (Silence) (28-31 December), while Zoe Hatziantoniou presents Afixi (Arrival) from 11 to 22 January. February will see the Unlimited Access International Dance Festival for people with or without disability.

For the second consecutive year the Onassis Cultural Centre is organising the Young Choreographers Festival, showcasing the work of four up-and-coming, artistically talented choreographers: Artemis Lambiri (Me on top), Lia Tsolaki (Around), Kyriakos Hatziioannou (Or who owns the world) and Georgia Vardarou (Phenomena) (14– 17 February).

The gifted Akram Khan returns to the Onassis Cultural Centre in March 2015 in partnership with the flamenco dancer and choreographer Israel Galvan in the show entitled Torobaka (10-15 March).

‘Dancing to Connect’ returns to the Onassis Cultural Centre for the third consecutive year, in a modern dance performance staged by school pupils from Heraklion, Crete this time, who will be showcasing 10 original pieces of choreography (21-22 March).


Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet will present Ten Freedom Summers, an activist rhapsody of the civil rights movement by one of jazz’s most innovative improvisers (1 November).

The Glue Ensemble was born in Germany when drummer Giorgos Dimitriadis came together with British trumpeter Tom Arthurs and Canadian bass player Miles Perkin. They will be jamming on 2 November.

An interdisciplinary colloquium on ‘Sounding Possibilities: Improvisation and Social Action’, is being hosted at the OCC in cooperation with the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation on 1 and 2 November.

“AMOK”, a piece dedicated to the work of Italian composer Fausto Romitelli (1963-2004) to mark the 10th anniversary of his death, will be performed by the ARTEfacts Ensemble on 12 November. Scholars Zoe Zeniodi (conductor) and Myrsini Margariti (singer) will be taking part.

The Discussion on Greek Song is being hosted by Greek Plan on 12 November.

MMW (Medeski Martin & Wood) will perform modern jazz masterfully combining findings from blues, rock, country, funk, fusion, post-bop and lounge on 21 November.

“242”: 24 groups will perform one after the other on the OCC’s Upper Stage in one 24-hour period, offering a relentless diverse range of sounds, moods and images (8-9 November).

The fourth round of the Greek Song Competition will focus on song as the integrated outcome of music and lyrics, of music and the word (6 December). As part of its endeavours to support new creative works and stimulate interaction between diverse art forms, Greek Plan will grapple with literature. Three young writers will be asked to write short stories inspired by music. Their short stories will then be read to the public by the authors on 4 February, 3 March and 22 May. Greek Plan is also hosting the 2nd Short Film Competition for audiovisual works inspired by Greek music from 6 to 8 March.

Open Day, dedicated to composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, will take place at various venues at OCC on 7 December 2014.

The 4th Panorama of Greek Jazz will host the musicians Floros Floridis (12 December), Nikos Anadolis (13 December) and Petros Klambanis & Contextual (14 December).

Christmas in the Paris of the Sun King: Camerata, which is regularly invited to the Versailles Royal Opera, will be accompanied on the night of 23 December by a team of outstanding soloists and the Municipality of Athens Choir in what promises to be a Christmas musical experience that will bring us closer to the sounds of the fairytale court of the Sun King.

Music Village presents 3 days of musical shows covering a diverse range of types of music from old music to European avant-garde (23-25 January).

Arborescence sees Aaron Parks improvise on the piano (6–7 February).

“Mediterranea”: continuing its partnership with the French Paris 8 University, OCC is jointly organising a 2-day conference entitled ‘Modernity and musical composition in the Mediterranean’ attended by composers and musicians from almost all Mediterranean countries (18-19 February).

The Borderline Festival is now in its 5th year, exploring all modern trends in experimental music worldwide. This year there’ll be many surprise activities as well such as lectures, listening sessions, installations and soundwalks (6-8 and 11-12 March).

Jordi Savall / Xavier Diaz-Latorre / Pierre Hantai will present works for viola da gamba from the composer Marin Marais (1656-1728), whose style gave this specific instrument an almost human timbre and expressiveness (18 March).

Alternativa by Ergon Ensemble is a programme of 5 original performances in Greece of works and composers who move beyond stylistic boundaries and well-established ways of thinking about modern forms of musical composition and performance (28 March).

Latinitas Nostra return to OCC to present ‘Then I would lie down in the dust’, a rare musical journey that perfectly matches the Easter spirit (3 April).

György Kurtág’s work for soprano and violin Kafka-Fragments (1985–87) lasts one hour and is one of this composer’s longest pieces. It consists of 40 compositions lasting anything from a few seconds to 7 minutes and is based on extracts from the diaries and letters of the author Franz Kafka (17-18 April). Scholars Myrsini Margariti (singer) and Antonis Sousamoglu (violin) will perform.

“Play Steve Lacy”: 6 musicians known as The Whammies, reinterpret well-known and unknown scores from Steve Lacy, allowing us to discover the composer as well as the innovative improviser (30 April).

“Big Bang”: an amazing music festival for kids (9-10 May).

“Prism”: modern fusion, avant-garde, funk, jazz groove, from Dave Holland and Kevin Eubanks, Craig Taborn as well as Eric Harland (16 May).

A mini Mozart Concerto Festival at the OCC, a musical marathon with Mozart’s masterful concertos presented by Camerata. The musical ‘battle’ between different instruments, in unique works rarely performed, with an authentic sound help us rethink everything we thought we knew about the music of the amazing Wolfgang (15 May).

“Poetry set to music”: Greek Plan contacted popular composers and asked them to set Greek poems to music. The composers had to select their material and draw inspiration from beloved poets and from those less well known to the public (19 May).

Wajahat Khan, one of the most recognisable sarod maestros worldwide performs on the Upper Stage on 21 May.

Musical creations in a time of crisis are presented during “Reaction/Action”, featuring works by young musicians. Although their forms of expression are different, they are tied together by their shared stance towards modern electronic music (27 May).


The Onassis Cultural Centre is turning its attentions to cinema, with screens, talks and an educational programme. As part of its partnership with the Hellenic Film Academy, it presents the results of a survey which the Onassis Foundation commissioned IOBE to prepare (Greek film production and its contribution to developing the film industry and how to attract foreign producers). It is also running the Film Factory educational programme, hosting the annual Hellenic Film Awards prize ceremony and along with the European Film Academy is organising the Young Audience Award and the Young Audience Film Day. It is also organising an ‘Erotica’ evening, a night for adults only featuring films that praise eroticism (1 February).


The Lumen Prize: the world’s top digital art prize. Launched in 2011 and awarded every year for works created using digital media. After the competition is over, the best entries tour the world as part of ‘The Lumen Prize Exhibition’. This year, this impressive exhibition will stop off in Athens and be hosted at the Onassis Cultural Centre, where the 50 best works for 2013 will be on display. The 25 winning works for 2014 will also be presented for the first time away from Cardiff, home of the Prize. Among them will be Apodemy by Greek artist Katerina Athanasopoulou, which won first prize in last year’s competition. The work, commissioned by the Onassis Cultural Centre, is a 3D digital allegory of Athens, which was presented for the first time in the 2012 Artistic Dialogues. The exhibition will be curated by scholar Marilena V. Karra (31 October to 30 November).

“Strange cities”: artists from all over the world have been invited to create their very own image of Athens. There’s one condition though. They must never have seen the city! Working using an ‘inspiration box’ only, which contains a recipe, a scent, a poem, a book and recordings with sounds and music from the city, this exhibition is designed to awaken the curiosity and stimulate the imagination of artists and visitors alike (February – March 2015).

Look up, Garden: A flower-filled sky in the foyer of the OCC, specially designed by artist Rebecca Louise Law (September 2014 – June 2015).


Design has emerged as a dynamic keyword for the Onassis Cultural Centre for the new year. This year kicked off on 27 September with the international conference ‘Digitized 2014’ followed by the Industrial Design Colloquium (21 October) and the ‘Eso’ workshop on interior design and architecture (18 February). The Centre is also hosting the ‘Hello Future’ exhibition which presents a valuable archive of 200 notepads of sketches from the world’s most talented young artists (December to June) and the exhibition of 3D Printed Objects organised in partnership with Double Decker, a team of curators from London, which is bringing the revolutionary technology to Athens (December – January).


Just some of the topics covered are in this series of talks are ‘Something’s wrong with Greek families’, ‘The history of pain’, and ‘Food for thought – a different highly intelligent dinner’. The ‘Sharpshooters’ series features discussions with authors Paul Auster and George Pelecanos.

Under the umbrella of ‘Rethink Athens’, key topics for discussion will relate to how Athens is presented in Greek cinema, the post-war reconstruction of Athens packed with apartment buildings built by landowners giving over land in return for numerous apartments in the block, and the social solidarity initiatives that have emerged over recent years in the city.

The Cavafy Archive activities are also important, with a new series of debates about his work, the second series of adult classes and a series of other activities at the OCC and other venues. This year the aim is to go beyond concerns about the Cavafy Archive and how it is managed, to address issues of comparative study of this Alexandrian writer, and to expand debate to encompass archive policy and national culture.

Just some of the topics for the public debates to be held at the Cavafy Archives and the OCC will be Alexandria as a place of memory, culture and history. Adult classes will revolve around “Cavafy and ...”, (discussions about Cavafy’s relationship to other writers or literary styles), while the other actions, which will include a series of seminars away from OCC or a large interactive online venture called ‘and then I found Cavafy’, will seek to showcase the long-lasting, international popularity of the Alexandrian poet, and the new creative works inspired by him. Just some of the events being organised off-site are the ‘Cavafy in Cinema’ seminar at the Panteion University, and the ‘Cavafy and Antiquity’ and ‘Cavafy and gender studies’ seminars being organised at the University of Oxford. In what is the second year of adult classes at OCC, the main issue will be the comparative study of Cavafy and other writers or literary styles and the general topics his poems address. This series of classes will examine topics such as ‘Cavafy and Palamas’, ‘Cavafy, Wilde and fin de siècle and aesthetic literature’, ‘Cavafy, modernity and history’, ‘Cavafy and the city’, ‘Cavafy and Alexandrian literature’, as well as ‘Cavafy and Theatre’.

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