Scholars' Association News
Issue 36
November 2015


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The Onassis Cultural Centre’s programme for the upcoming artistic season

Wooden crates marked ‘Fragile’ ‘Onassis Cultural Centre’, ‘premium goods’ and ‘Stegi’, shop window mannequins, packing straw and vintage furniture paint the picture of a customs warehouse, which was the set where the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens presented its new programme on the main stage on 28 September. One innovation this year was the magazine with the same background the Onassis Cultural Centre had developed for the 2015-2016 season. The front cover features Greek artists, ‘the Greeks’ as they are known when they operate beyond our national borders.

Instead of holding events to celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, the Onassis Foundation is laying the foundations for the next 40. The point of reference is ‘creative Greeks’, meaning anyone who produces culture in Greece, irrespective of nationality or citizenship, anyone whose works travel abroad, all international artists who honour us with their presence on the Greek stage and anyone who appreciates the importance of education. Many of them have been able to spread their wings with the support of the Onassis Foundation.

The President of the Onassis Foundation, Antonis Papadimitriou, was the first to take the stage and talk about the Onassis Foundation’s development and activities so far (see his speech elsewhere in this issue). The Onassis Cultural Centre’s programme was presented by Christos Karras (General Manager / Artistic Director - Music), Afroditi Panayiotakou (Deputy General Manager / Communications and Marketing Manager) and Katia Arfara (Artistic Director - Theatre and Dance).

Theatre and Dance

– The Onassis Cultural Centre’s Greek productions continue to travel all around the world (Blood, Circling the Square, Late Night, and Still Life).

– New productions are being prepared for both Greece and abroad: 6 a.m. How to disappear completely by blitz (9–18/10/2015), Clean City by Anestis Azas and Prodromos Tsinikoris (3–14/2/2016), Europium by RootlessRoot (29/10–1/11/2015) and the new performance by Iris Karagian (26–29/2/2016).

– The Onassis Cultural Centre’s international joint productions are making a bold impact on the international artistic scene: The revival of the legendary work Available Light by John Adams (music), Lucinda Childs (choreography) and Frank Gehry (set design) (5–8/12/2015), as well as the new production from Complicite, The Encounter by Simon McBurney (1–3/4/2016).

– Major foreign productions are being staged for the Greek public for the first time: Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Karamazovs by the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre, who are travelling outside of Russia for the first time; Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 & 2 by Adolf Hitler from Rimini Protokoll (21–24/4/2016); Coup Fatal by Alain Platel, KVS & les ballets C de la B; La Mélancolie des Dragons by Philippe Quesne (26–28/2/2016); 6+7 by the Chinese TAO Dance Theatre (9–10/4/2016).

– Major new Greek productions from the Onassis Cultural Centre are bringing various generations of Greek artists together: Roula Pateraki is directing Post Inferno – Towards Damascus by August Strindberg (11–22/5/2016); Io Voulgaraki is staging Griffith’s Intolerance in a silent spectacle featuring live music (20–30/1/2016); Akyllas Karazisis presents Ödön von Horváth’s Faith, Love, Hope (19–30/12/2015); Thodoris Ambazis has created an opera for the entire family based on Andersen’s The Snow Queen (22–30/12/2015); Dimitris Karantzas tackles Virginia Woolf’s The Waves (22/11/2015–24/4/2016); while for teenagers the ‘En Dynami’ group is planning a performance with disabled and non-disabled actors directed by Eleni Efthymiou: The ‘other’ house (9–24/1/2016).

– Festivals continue to attract theatre lovers: 1) The third and final round of the Onassis Cultural Centre’s geopolitical festival entitled Transitions focuses on Central Europe this year (11–29/11/2015). 2) The Youth Theatre Festival, which has been giving teenagers from all over Greece a platform to express themselves for the last 4 years, is back from 22 to 24/4/2016. 3) The Onassis Cultural Centre is organising the Young Choreographers Festival for the third consecutive year, continuing to provide firm backing for Modern Greek dance (23–24/3/2016). 4) This is also the third year of the Fast Forward Festival, an institution that loves new technologies, unconventional staging and public space (May 2016).

– Events at the Centre and elsewhere: 1) For the fourth year now the Onassis Cultural Centre is bringing modern dance to schools via its youth educational programme Dancing to connect (20/3/2016). 2) Anna Kokkinou’s performance Thucydides the Athenian travels around Greece with the support of the Onassis Foundation and the aid of the Onassis Cultural Centre (October 2015 – March 2016). 3) Jonathan Livingston Seagull, directed by Paris Mexis, is being presented at schools, hospitals, orphanages, old people’s homes, prisons, public spaces and foundations nationwide (October 2015 – May 2016).


– Jazz ensembles: We’ve put together a programme ranging from the explosive quarter Mostly Other People Do the Killing (9– 10/10/2015) to Sokratis Sinopoulos, the master of the Constantinopolitan lyre, who recently signed a record deal with ECM ( 24/10/2015); from Rudresh Mahanthappa of Indian descent, who has won praise from the US jazz scene (6/11/2015) to the Cuban pianist David Virelles (11/11/2015); from the Greek great composer Kostas Theodorou, who is staging a tribute to the land of his childhood (9–10/3/2016), to the US trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (18/3/2016) and the star of Italian jazz Giovanni Guidi (30/3/2016).

– Jazz Festival: Events range from the 5th Greek Jazz Panorama (Magnanimus, BalaRom Trio, World Dog, Alekos Vretos Quartet, George Spanos Intergalactic Nucleus Trio: 4–6/12/2015) to the Greek Jazz Panorama / New Generation 3 (Next Step Quintet, Stelios Chatzikaleas Quintet, Stefanos Chytiris Flux Project and others: 9–11/6/2016).

– Electronic, experimental, site-specific music: We’ve chosen leading lights from the Lumen Drones ensemble comprised of 3 amazing Norwegians appearing before a Greek audience for the first time (28/1/2016) to the London Breakfast Club quartet, who examine what public space in Athens means based on the three innovative urban dérives/concerts (23–24/4/2016). InMute ’15: The dialogue between cinema innovations and the experimental music scene continues for the third year (30/10–1/11/2015). The Borderline Festival continues its explorations for the seventh year, recording modern trends in modern-day experimental, acoustic and -above all- electronic music (8–10/4/2016).

– The Hellenic Project: 2) Music Inspires Literature: Three authors wrote works inspired by music. Now their texts are being presented to readers as a complete set of works (6/11/2015). 2) Greek Song Competition 5: The competition attracts more than 1,500 participants and is celebrating its 5th year marking the event with a major concert at which new songs from composers from recent years will be presented (11/12/2015). 3) Transformations Cycle: A series of 3 concerts presenting classical and new works that explore new listening experiences (27/1/2016). 4) In a move to supplement the repertoire of major works, Dimitris Papadimitriou has composed ‘An early autumn chronicle’, a symphonic work for opera soloist and symphony orchestra which will be performed by the Athens State Orchestra, conducted by Giorgos Petrou (4–5/3/2016). 5) Once upon a time... 2 musical fairytales for narrator and symphony orchestra (4–5/3/2016).

– Modern music: 1) Giorgos Petrou and Camerata are certainly au fait with Philip Glass’s characteristic musical style. This year they come together again under the director and set designer Paris Mexis. Together they have created their own version of The Penal Colony by Franz Kafka within the walls of the Diplareios School for a unique site-specific performance produced by the Onassis Cultural Centre (28–31/1/2016). 2) The musical group Ergon Ensemble, diehard fans of the masterpieces of contemporary music, are hosting an event dedicated to Claude Vivier (13/2/2016). 3) A musical bridge over Syngrou: The ‘natural’ boundary formed by Syngrou Ave. becomes a musical bridge uniting the Onassis Cultural Centre with the Panteion University. The two foundations are collaborating for a series of four contemporary music concerts, presenting today’s sound as well as up-and-coming musicians (24/2–24/5/2016). 4) ‘Open Day: Minimalism(s)’: The event that encourages visitors to expand their musical horizons and allows them to freely wander around the Onassis Cultural Centre’s venues and events returns for a fourth year (6/3/2016). 5) dissonArt ensemble: Pierrot Lunaire by Arnold Schönberg (2–3/4/2016). 6) Music for the New World is a new Onassis Cultural Centre project, in cooperation with both the Ochi Pezoume group -which contributes a rich body of content and the experiences gained from the Dourgouti Island Hotel- and the modern music group ARTéfacts Ensemble (13–14/4/2016). 7) Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart – Voices in Space: 6 new composers from the Mediterranean fully exploit the instrument of total flexibility that is the human voice. The concert will take place in the main hall of the Diplareios School, allowing the singers to take up different positions and experiment with how sound changes as it moves through space (13/5/2016).

– Big Bang Festival 2, a music festival for kids: Big Bang, the European music festival for young, adventurous spectators aged 0 to 12, is dropping by the Onassis Cultural Centre for a second year. It promises a colourful music programme featuring concerts, sound installations and workshops (21–22/5/2016).

– Rembetiko: Marika Papagika / Sotiria Bellou: Konstantinos Vita stirs up his old memories of rembetiko. In an unexpected meeting, the leading light of Greece’s electronic music scene, presents new interpretations of songs by two leading figures from rembetiko, Sotiria Bellou and Marika Papagika, curated by Andreas Angelidakis and Angelos Plessas (3–4/6/2016).

Visual Arts – Exhibitions at the Onassis Cultural Centre

– Angelos Plessas, winner of this year’s DESTE Prize, undertook the Installation of the year 2015-2015, entitled (28/9/2015–30/6/2016).

– Digital Revolution: Following in the footsteps of London’s Barbican Centre and Stockholm’s Tekniska Museum, the Onassis Cultural Centre is bringing together all aspects of digital art in an exhibition that is a real revolution. An exhibition to blow your mind (20/10/2015–10/1/2016).

– 3 Experiments in the City by Candy Chang, whose interactive installations ‘break down’ the barriers between public and private space in tens of urban centres worldwide. 1) School of the future. 2) Before I die. 3) Confessions (February – May 2016).

Words and Thoughts

– Chris Watson: The famous British composer, field recordist and sound artist is visiting for a sound recording workshop in the city, and for a talk about his work which has won him important prizes (13–14/10/2015).

– ‘Body and public space’: What is the relationship with our body and other people’s bodies? What will we tolerate and what won’t we put up with in public view? How does the body stand in public space? Through a series of talks the Onassis Cultural Centre seeks out our body’s place in our own day-to-day life (20/10/2015).

– ‘Body and gender’: How can the engendered body redefine itself today? How can we ‘reimagine’ gender and what new identity issues arise through this process? Greek and foreign authors and artists explain why gender –at the heart of, at the boundaries of and beyond the body- is once again becoming an arena for confrontation, inspiration and assertion (4/3/2016).

– Don DeLillo: The author of Underworld and White Noise, one of the last 30 year’s most influential writers, returns to Greece, the beloved land of his youth, and critiques the morals of the modern Western world (16/3/2016).

– Rainer Höss: Rainer Höss, grandson of Rudolf Hess (commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where 2.5 million people met a tragic death during WWII) and activist who delivers anti-Nazi talks all around the world, vigorously denounces his grandfather’s activities and ideology (22/4/2016).

– ‘Utopia’: 500 years after Thomas Moore’s famous book was published, as we go through a period that often seems devoid of any vision for the future, we host a talk which explores various theoretical and artistic approaches that help us explore types of utopia, eutopia and dystopia. The event includes the first Greek performance of the work La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura by the famous Italian composer Luigi Nono, featuring Tania Sikelianou (Violin) and Thomas Pouliasis (electronic sounds) (17/5/2016).

– ‘The structure of the senses’: The emotions we encounter in the built environment frequently manifest before we begin to build our narratives or understand why we react to space in a particular way. At this event, inspired by the book of the same name by Raymond Williams (1977) we expand the research into how we experience built space started by the urban and architectural researcher Adam Kassa and historian Yoke-Sum Wong (7/6/2016).

– Werner Herzog talks to Paul Holdengräber in the spring of 2016.


– ‘Hack the book’: A marathon event to redefine what the book is all about. A festival aimed at designers, publishers, content editors, start-uppers, programmers and creatives in general. Through a series of talks, workshops and a two-day hackathon the festival’s audience will have the chance to renegotiate and propose new models of what books are and how they are distributed (22-24/1/2016).

– ‘Hypnos Project’: What happens when the body is asleep? How do we actually spend 1/3 of our lives? Dreams, nightmares, insomnia, sleepwalking, REM and NREM, and hypnosis are all ways of discovering our darkest-most secrets. Both inside the Onassis Cultural Centre’s venues and elsewhere, the Hypnos Project promises to open our eyes to all those hours of our lives when we don’t know who we are. Activities that form part of the Hypnos Project: 1) six d.o.g.s: Sounds from instruments, sounds from bodies, sounds from the brain. From midnight to dawn a musical study will unfold in the Onassis Cultural Centre’s basement. 2) Diotima: The leading French quartet returns to the Onassis Cultural Centre for a night-time programme. 3) ‘Body, Sensation, Emotion’ – ‘Body, Death and Resurrection’: Two talks about the body. Researchers, artists and writers deal with timeless questions such as the fear of dying and belief in resurrection, as well as more recent concerns like the ability to create life in the age of biotechnology. 4) ‘Energy Food: A Mouth Full of Fuel’: For the second time the Onassis Cultural Centre is organising a series of themed dinners, this time focusing on the much-talked-about subject of super-foods, i.e. high quality foods that help revitalise the body and bolster brain function (April-May 2016).


Our mission is to educate. Education for all ages, programmes for babies, infants, children, teenagers, families, adults and the over 65s; for those with or without disability; for those with autism spectrum disorder; for the sighted and non-sighted; for children and individuals of any age, in a space open and accessible to all. This year the Onassis Cultural Centre will be exploring Greek tradition and mythology through a series of events at the Centre’s premises and elsewhere. The focus will be on developing skills via graphic design, cinema, photography, journalism courses and we will be exploring new topics such as health and diet. We embrace kids from the autism spectrum and groups of kids with or without disability. We will travel all of Greece, mingling mountain and sea.

For yet another year, schools are asked to give their pupils the chance to participate in experiential dance, theatre, music, art and poetry workshops which will be held at the Onassis Cultural Centre’s premises and elsewhere. Infants, children and adolescents can attend shows, get to know the performers up close and visit behind the scenes at the Onassis Cultural Centre. The objective in all this? To get pupils to freely express themselves, to develop their own creativity, imagination and self-confidence; to cultivate a sense of collective belonging; to understand ourselves and the ‘other’; to understand diversity. All that through the power and magic that only art can offer. Through creative, collective processes, some of the school programmes end up as group performances and exhibitions, while others travel around the Greek regions.

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