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Annual Report

  • Year: 
  • Please describe your organization’s activities over the past year, including concerts, commissions, collaborations, publications: 

    Annual Report 2017
    Greek Composers’ Union
    Greek Section of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM)

    After the elections of March 19 - 2017, the Executive Committee of GCU - ISCM Greek Section, consists of:
    Theodore Antoniou - President, Iakovos Konitopoulos - General Secretary, Joseph Papadatos - A’ Vice President, Leontios Hadjileontiadis - B’ Vice President/ ISCM Greek Section Responsible, Fani Kossona - B’ Secretary, Konstantine Flerianos - Treasurer, Maria Cristina Krithara - Publicity/ Promotion, Helena Skarkou - Electronic and Technical Support, Stathis Gyftakis - Supervisor.

    Since 1931, the Greek Composers’ Union has promoted the Greek musical creations and 2017 has been another year full of activities:
    15 concerts at various concert halls, with a strong emphasis on contemporary composers, premiers and commissioned works, a workshop for young composers, and the edition of 3 volumes of the GCU magazine, “music POLYTONOn”.

    1. Megaron, The Athens’ Concert Hall, continues the collaboration with the G.C.U.
    At January, there has been a concert under the general title “Nikos Skalkottas and the environment of Berlin (1921 - 1933)” with works by Nikos Skalkottas, Philipp Jarnach, Kurt Weil, Hanns Eisler and Arnold Schönberg
    At May, young composers from all over Greece presented their work during the Young Greek Composers Workshop.
    This years’ Workshop is dedicated to the memory of Nikos Kazantzakis, on the occasion of 60 years from his death and all the compositions presented in this workshop used as a starting point and context, extracts from his oeuvre.
    All the concerts in the Athens’ Concert Hall, were performed by the Hellenic Ensemble of Contemporary Music, under the direction of Iakovos Konitopoulos.

    The collaboration with the institutes of foreign languages in Athens, such as Goethe Institute and Hellenic American College, resulted also a series of concerts.

    2. At the first concert at the Goethe Institute -“Greece and Germany” - were presented works by August Klughardt, Savvas Tsiligiridis, Iossif Valette and Victor Bruns. The works were performed by the Woodwind Quintet «Aeolos» Ensemble (Vangelis Stathoulopoulos - flute, Yiannis Tselikas - oboe, Angelos Politis - clarinet, George Faroungias - basoon, Spyros Kakos - horn).
    At the second concert (“Keys and Rotors”), the soloists Grigoris Assonitis - horn and Maria Moschidou - piano, performed works by Yiannis Drossitis, Alkis Papadopoulos, Costantine Flerianos, Iakovos Konitopoulos and Josef Rheinberger.
    Two more concerts took place at the Goethe Institute during March:
    At the first - a colaboration between Greek Composers’ Union and Documenta - there were presented three works by Jani Christou, John Cage and Iannis Xenakis, with the participation of the Contemporary Music Lab by Alexandros Kalogeras, under the direction of Iakovos Konitopoulos and Telemachos Krevaikas.
    At the second concert under the title “Music for two - pieces by Greek and foreign composers”, the soloists Angelica Poulimenou - French horn and Τania Sikelianou - violin, presented works by Olivier Messiaen, Sigurd Berge, Howard J. Buss, Ion Marmarinos, Agapito Gαlán Rivera, Pierre Boulez, Iannis Xenakis, Theodore Antoniou, Μorton Feldman, Mofakham Samini Idin, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Vassiliki Filippeou.
    At April, the Female Choir of Cefallonian Municipality presented works by
    Alkis Baltas, Nikos Astrinides, Theodore Antoniou, Lina Tonia, George Couroupos, Μanolis Kalomiris, Mikis Theodorakis, Antiochos Evangelatos, Alekos Xenos, Dionysios Lavrangas, Ina Papadopoulou Nekrasova, Vassilis Makridis, Maria Christina Krithara and Iakovos Konitopoulos, under the direction of Angelos Mourelatos.
    At November, the guitarist Νikos Baloyannis performed works by Αlexandros Kalogeras, Agustín Barrios Mangoré, Carlo Domeniconi, Nikos Baloyannis and Theodore Antoniou.
    At the last concert, the pianist Katerina Konstandourou presented pieces by Frank Nuyts, Katarzyna Szwed, Michalis Paraskakis, Nikos Ioakim, Miranda Driessen, Stefan Wolpe and George Apergis.

    3. There has been also the collaboration with the Hellenic American College.
    At the first concert, the DuO-ErgOn-a-TastOn ensemble with Constantine Karitzis - violin and Angelica Papanikolaou - piano, presented works by Αrvo Pärt, Witold Lutoslawski, Christos Anastassiou, Fazil Say, Toru Takemitsu and Matthias Hutter.
    The second concert was entitled “Works for the harpsichord by Greek and American composers”, where Julie Ventoura - harpsichord, Nathali Korniluk - Sdrali - violin, Effie Dimitrelou - soprano, Ioanna Vrakatseli - mezzo soprano, presented works by Theodore Antoniou, George Leotsakos, Pavlos Ventouras, Lou Harrison, Dominick Argento, Babis Kanas, Helena Skarkou, Dinos Constantinides and Theodore Spathis.
    At the final concert of the season, the pianist Elsa Featham gave a concert under the title “ Music and Symbolism in the 20th & 21st centuries” with works by Maurice Ravel, Henry Cowell, Vangelis Symsiris, Helena Skarkou and Joseph Papadatos.

    4. Another collaboration of the G.C.U. was with the Philippos Nakas Conservatory. During 2017 two more concerts have been taken place, under the general title “Greek Soloists of the 21rst century”.
    At February, the soloists Nikos Baloyiannis - guitar, Maria Theofili - flute and Yiannis Tsanakaliotis - piano, performed pieces by Theodore Antoniou, Manos Hadjidakis, Charalambos Ekmektsoglou, Κyriakos Tzortzinakis, Dimitris Minakakis and George Kertsopoulos.
    At the last concert, the pianist Constantine Destounis gave a concert with piano works by Theodore Antoniou.

    5. Besides the organization of these concert series, the Union organized also this year the “Yiannis A. Papaioannou” Pan - Hellenic composition competition.

    6. Concerts under the auspices of the Greek Composers’ Union

    Last March, the childrens’ choir «Kallitechnimata», gave a performance at Athens Concert Hall with songs by the following composers: Ang. Capsaskis, M. Theodorakis, E. Economopoulos, M. Tziniolis, St. Vassiliades, D. Kanaris, St. Zorzou, V. Makrides, V. Goulas, B. Kanas, F. Kossona, M. Kalomiris, V. Andreopoulos and D. Minakakis.
    Maria Michalopoulou: conducting, couching, artistic direction.

    The pianist Erato Alakiozidou will give a series of concerts in Greece and abroad presenting her recent cd In Blue and White, which includes pieces by Greek composers.
    The composers that feature in the cd are:
    Theodore Antoniou, George Couroupos, Stathis Gyftakis, Leontios Hadjileontiadis, Vassilis Kitsos, George Koumendakis, George Kyriakakis, Aspasia Nassopoulou, Joseph Papadatos, Anastassis Philippakopoulos, Costas Siembis, Demetrios Skyllas, Costas Tsougras and Calliope Tsoupaki.

    7. Since 2003, the G.C.U. has its own magazine “music POLYTONOn”, a bimonthly publication whose main aim is to promote and disseminate Greek and international contemporary music to the wider public. The magazine also serves as an information and communication channel between the Greek musical community and mostly contemporary artists.
    Here are some interesting titles and summaries featuring at POLYTONOn through 2017.

    POLYTONOn n.80

    Sir Neville Marriner (1924 - 2016)
    by Stathis Gyftakis
    This obituary is dedicated to the memory of the important conductor Sir Neville Marriner, an English musician who achieved worldwide fame with his lifetime musical activities and contributions. The article follows Marriner from his early life and studies to his significant career achievements, among which perhaps the most widely known has been his founding of and long collaboration with the English orchestra of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

    Roland Dyens: the composer - guitarist
    by Helen Skarkou
    On the sad occasion of the sudden and untimely passing of the significant guitarist, arranger and composer Roland Dyens (1955 - 2016), Helen Skarkou writes an obituary dedicated to his important artistic achievements. The author stresses the importance of his work, and discusses the ways in which it contributed greatly to the development of the repertory of the classical guitar in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    Jean - Claude Risset (1938-2016): in memoriam
    by Anastasia Georgaki
    In this obituary, written in the memory of Jean-Claude Risset, the French composer who passed away on November 21, 2016, Anastasia Georgaki offers an account Risset’s life and work. Georgaki informs readers of Polytonon about Risset’s activities, which began in the 1960s and spanned over five decades, and she stresses the importance of his valuable contributions in computer music, a field in which he was an indisputable pioneer and active spokesperson worldwide.

    4th Conference of the Hellenic Society for Acoustic Ecology
    by Theodore Lotis
    The fourth Conference of the Hellenic Society for Acoustic Ecology took place from November 3 to November 6, 2016, in Lesvos, under the title “Sound, Noise, Environment.” In the present article, the main aim of the conference is discussed, along with information about its structure, keynote speeches, and certain interesting aspects, which arose as the conference progressed.

    8th Interdepartmental Musicology Conference
    by Ioannis Fulias
    The eighth Interdepartmental Musicology Conference, co-organized by the four Music and Musicology Departments under the auspices of the Hellenic Musicological Society, took place at the Athens Concert Hall from November 25 to November 27, 2016, under the title “Influences and interactions.” Dr. Ioannis Fulias offers an informative account of the yearly institution of Interdepartmental Musicology Conferences in Greece, discusses the scope and main aims of this year’s conference, and provides interesting information on papers and round table discussion topics.

    Athens Philharmonia Orchestra
    by Constantine Lignos
    On November 8, 2016, the musicologist Nikos Maliaras and the conductor Byron Fidetzis gave a press conference on the founding of Athens Phillharmonia, a new symphonic orchestra whose main purpose is the promotion of Greek art music of the 19th, 20th and the 21st century; Constantine Lignos writes about this exceptional initiative, rightly stressing its great importance in these dire times the country is going through.

    The first century of jazz
    by Arion
    In the present article, Arion presents in brief the roots of jazz music in America, during the first years of the 20th century and refers to the very first jazz recording, on February 26, 1917.

    Collective management - copyright and related rights:
    the present and the next day
    by Antonis Plessas
    Taking as a starting point the bill concerning copyright which is to be discussed in Greek Parliament, Antonis Plessas writes this article on the current state of affairs concerning the management of copyright on behalf of A.E.P.I., and points to possible forthcoming changes after the law has been passed. The author refers to the claims of composers and songwriters over time, the diachronic problems with A.E.P.I. and the recent reactions on behalf of A.E.P.I.

    An interview with Anastasios Symeonidis
    by Maria Christina Krithara, Helen Skarkou and Maria Theofili
    The conductor Anastasios Symeonidis, new artistic director of the ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation) Third Programme Music Ensembles, talks to Polytonon about his post. In this interesting conversation, he shares with readers of the magazine his experience up to now, the challenges on a practical level he will need to overcome during his three-year contract, as well as his artistic intentions concerning the Music Ensembles, which consist of the Symphony Orchestra, the Contemporary Orchestra, and the Chorus: in his overall plan, he has included the active presence of all ensembles, and the pursuit of extended discography and of interesting collaborations.

    An interview with Manos Hadjidakis (1985)
    by Theodore Antoniou
    In this interview of historical interest, Manos Hadjidakis talks to Theodore Antoniou during a radio program on the Third, the public radio station of ERT. The discussion begins with, and revolves around, Hadjidakis’s theater music, providing insight into the processes involved and the feelings behind his writing for the stage. It frequently, however, moves to broader territory, and therefore becomes an interesting testimony on Hadjidakis’s views on his past and present as an influential music professional, and of his stance on musical, political, and social matters in Greece of the 1980s.

    Soviet Russia, informal culture, imitative musical tradition
    and Schnittke’s relationship with the regime. Part II
    by Katerina Maniou
    In the second part of her article, the author writes about Soviet composers of the Thaw period and their activities of producing what came to be characterized as the “informal” music of the time. Of particular interest is the reference to different aesthetic trends represented in the three major musical centers of the U.S.S.R., that is, Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev, as well as the discussion of audiences of the period. The article then moves to examine closer the case of Schnittke, putting his work into the broader perspective already discussed.

    Official discography of Spyridon - Filiskos Samaras (1861 - 1917):
    a contribution to commemorate the centenary of his death
    by Thomas Tamvakos
    In the present article, Tamvakos presents an exhaustive catalogue of the recordings of Samaras’s compositions. Samaras’s discography consists of 70 vinyl records, cassettes, and compact discs, and dates from as early as 1904. In this are included many important works of the composer, and yet there are also certain glaring omissions, as the author notes.

    Musical praxis through time: a conversation with Andreas Schiff
    by Constantine Lignos
    On the occasion of the passing of the important cellist and conductor Andreas Schiff in late 2016, Polytonon republishes an in interview the artist gave to Constantine Lignos in 2006, as a tribute to his memory. In this lively and interesting conversation, first published in the 16th issue of the magazine, Schiff shares moments from his long successful career and viewpoints on music.

    POLYTONOn Νο 81

    The Greek National Opera
    by Maria Christina Krithara
    The permanent relocation of the Greek National Opera from the historic building in Academias str. to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is taking place in spring 2017, and Polytonon publishes press releases that introduce the public to the Opera’s next artistic plans. Our readers can find out about Giorgos Koumendakis’s first press conference as the new artistic director of the Greek National Opera, and read a schedule of performances and other interesting activities organized by both the Main and the Alternative Stage of the Opera.

    1st Conference of Music Libraries and Archives
    by Maria Theofili
    On April 21 and 22, 2017, the 1st yearly Conference of Music Libraries and Archives will take place at the premises of the Music Library of Greece in Athens, under the auspices of the Music Library of Greece and the Greek branch of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML Greece). In this article, Theofili offers an overview of the scheduled sessions in which topics related to the fields of musical information and music librarianship will be covered. Two keynote speeches and a number of other interesting activities will also contribute to this interesting two-day conference.

    Collective management of copyright and related rights:
    AEPI, the crisis, the law plan, and the next day
    by Antonis Plessas
    The collective management of copyright in Greece has been in the spotlight for the last months, largely due to the serious findings, which have recently emerged concerning A.E.P.I. and the role it has been playing for the past years. Antonis Plessas writes an informative article, which includes all the latest news and developments on the issue, which, besides being of great interest to all Greek composers, also seems to have much broader consequences.

    An interview with Matthias Hutter
    by Helen Skarkou, Angelica Papanikolaou, Christos Anastasiou
    and Charalabos Risvas
    On the occasion of the premiere of Matthias Hutter’s new work Rapsodie fur Violine und Klavier, written for and performed by “Duo-ErgOn-aTastOn” (Constantine Karitzis and Angelica Papanikolaou), the composer talks to Polytonon while on his short visit to Athens. After he discusses elements of his personal musical idiom, the conversation moves to broader territories, and includes Hutter’s views on art music today and its reception in Germany, copyright and the distribution of music, and his stance towards composition.

    A conversation with Christos Anastasiou
    by Helen Skarkou, Eugenia Arseni and Angelica Papanikolaou
    In this interview, Christos Anastasiou, composer and member of the GCU, talks to Helen Skarkou about his work Nomion, which was premiered by the pianist Angelica Papanikolaou in February. He also talks about his large-scale work In Aeternum, which will be performed in May, and also makes a short reference to his next project, Oedipus Rex. During the conversation, Anastasiou gives an overview of his compositional output.

    An interview with Eugenia Arsenis
    by Helen Skarkou and Christos Anastasiou
    In this interview, the director and dramaturg Dr Eugenia Arsenis talks to Polytonon about her successful career in directing, and she also describes her rich artistic activities of past and present. She talks about premieres of works she has directed abroad, her collaboration with the alternative stage of the National Greek Opera and Theodore Antoniou, her relationship with the GCU, and her projects for the future.

    Official discography of Spyridon - Filiskos Samaras (1861-1917):
    a contribution to commemorate the centenary of his death, Part II
    by Thomas Tamvakos
    After having presented the complete catalogue of the analogue recordings of Samaras’s works, Tamvakos now discusses the digital discs. He lists 59 CD recordings and one DVD, including the main credits for each entrance. He then follows with a short description of digital recordings of Samaras’s compositions on the internet, and concludes with an unofficial discography.

    POLYTONOn Νο 82 - 83

    1st Annual Conference of Music Libraries and Archives: a report
    by Maria Christina Krithara
    The 1st Annual Conference of Greek Music Libraries and Archives took place last April at the premises of the Music Library of Greece in Athens. The conference was organized under the auspices of the Greek Branch of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML Greece), and the Music Library of Greece “Lilian Voudouri”. This report describes the activities which took place during this very successful meeting of music and librarianship, via professionals from all related fields, and it includes short abstracts from all speeches delivered during the conference.

    A conversation with Charalambos Farandatos
    by Giorgos Demertzis
    Charalambos Farandatos, one of the most prominent Greek soloists and clarinet teachers, passed away this July at the ripe age of 95. On this occasion, Polytonon republishes an immensely interesting interview Farandatos gave to Demertzis in 2013, talking about his career which spanned over sixty years, in which it is no exaggeration to claim that readers can learn a lot about the whole course of 20th-century music in Greece.

    Music Birthday
    by Arion
    A recording of seminal importance appeared on February 26, 2017, by the quintet called The Original Dixieland Jazz Band (ODJB). It was the first time that this relatively new musical style appeared on record, which meant that its ability to disseminate would multiply very soon. This milestone marked the beginning of the recording history of Jazz music, which, in this respect, celebrates its 100th birthday this year, as the author reminds us.

    An interview with Thomas Simaku
    by Vassilis Kitsos
    The musicologist, pianist, composer and member of the GCU Vassilis Kitsos, interviews the multi award-winning composer Thomas Simaku. Simaku talks about his Albanian background and discusses the influence of his environment in forming his unique artistic identity. He describes his need to write “the music of the era he lives in” and his desire to respond to stimuli around him by incorporating them to his musical language without, however, writing programmatic music. Simaku also talks about the composers who have influenced him the most, explains the role of musical gesture in his own output, traces periods in his work, and discusses his aesthetic stances towards musical style nowadays.

    Young Composers’ Workshops 1997 – 2017
    by Iakovos Konitopoulos
    The important institution of the Young Composers’ Workshops celebrates its twentieth birthday this year. The Workshops were established in 1997 by the Academic, composer, conductor and GCU President Theodore Antoniou, and have since been hosted at the Athens Concert Hall, playing a significant role in promoting the work of talented young Greek composers. All Workshops have been organized in collaboration with the Greek Composers’ Union, and the concerts have been presented by the Hellenic Ensemble of Contemporary Music, under the baton of Theodore Antoniou, Nikos Tsouchlos, and Iakovos Konitopoulos.
    In this tribute, the author offers an excellent review of the institution’s history, and then includes an interesting conversation he had with Theodore Antoniou on the Workshops and their important contributions in promoting contemporary Greek music. In the third part of the article, Konitopoulos informs us about this year’s Workshop, which took place between May 8-13 at the Athens Concert Hall, referring to its central concept (Nikos Kazantzakis), and to the works which were presented to the audience.

    Flute Master Class at the Music Library of Greece “Lilian Voudouri”
    by Maria Christina Krithara and Maria Theofili
    The Music Library of Greece “Lilian Voudouri” will organize an international flute master class at its premises; young professional flutists, Conservatory students, students at universities and music academies, as well as talented advanced students and flute teachers are welcome to attend.
    Polytonon had the pleasure to discuss with the director at the Music Library, Stephanie Merakos, and the world - reknowned flutist Natalia Gerakis, who will teach and perform at the seminar, about this important initiative.

    “When music becomes a child…”
    a conversation with Zana Metallidi
    by Konstantinos Pantelidis
    In this interview, the charismatic music teacher and composer Zana Metallidi talks to Konstantinos Pantelidis about her life and work. Born and based in St Petersburg, Russia, Metallidi has led a long and successful career, having written wonderful music which has been directed specifically at children. Her numerous pieces for young learners, as well as her music theory handbooks, have been published by the most prominent music publishers in Russia. Metallidi also talks about her years of study, her work with children, and her own music, in terms of style and aesthetic directions.

    The early recordings of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring
    by Maria Theofili
    Having caused a riot during its 1913 premiere, The Rite of Spring quickly gained the status of one of the greatest masterpieces of the 20th century. It was as early as 1929 that the first two recordings of the ballet appeared almost simultaneously, one by its composer who conducted the Walther Straram Concerts Orchestra, and the second by its premiere conductor, Pierre Monteux, and the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris. Its first American recording followed less than a year later, by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and in 1940 there appeared a second recording by Stravinsky, this time with the New York Philharmonic. The author discusses these early recordings of The Rite, also referring to its version for the mechanic piano, or pianola, dating from 1921.

    Dimitris Themelis’s Symphony No.3, Op.86
    by Markos Ph. Dragoumis
    In this interesting article, the musicologist Markos Ph. Dragoumis introduces us to Symphony No.3, Op.86, written in 2002 by the distinguished musicologist, composer and musician Dimitris Themelis, who passed away earlier this summer. Themelis’s Third Symphony premiered in 2003 in Glasgow by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Errikos Frezis and it is, according to the author, much more than one of the many good symphonies written by Greek composers: the work, bearing the subtitle “Ode to remember the Heroes”, is rather one of the truly great symphonies of our era, marked, as Dragoumis notes, by its torrential inspiration and tight structure, characteristics which are rare among its contemporary works which belong to the genre.

    George Themelis: the famous blind pianist from Leros
    by Venetia M. Skevofylaka
    In this article, which is part of a published text that appeared in the 2014 Proceedings Volume of the Dodecanese Chronicles, readers can learn about the life and the career of the talented pianist George Themelis (Cairo, 1915 - Syros, 1997). Themelis was blind since he was a baby, but this did not prevent his musical gifts from becoming apparent from a very early age. Studying with prominent teachers at the Conservatoire de Paris, he became subsequently a successful soloist who gave recitals throughout Europe and worldwide.

    Nikolaos Katsoulis’s Phaistos Disc
    by Angelica Papanikolaou and Nikolaos Katsoulis
    In the first part of this article, Papanikolaou introduces readers to her relationship with the composer, flutist, and music teacher Nikolaos Katsoulis, and includes his biographical note. Then, Katsoulis writes about his composition Phaistos Disc, informing us about its initial conception, its relationship with the homonymous ancient Greek plate, and its individual musical characteristics.

    Flash mob: social experiment, or a new Art form?
    by Haris Kanakis
    A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place in order to perform an act whose character can be entertaining, satirical, or artistic. The group quickly disperses after the act is completed. The term flash mob was introduced in 2003, and the originator of what came to evolve into a popular mode of expression mainly in big cities was Bill Wasik. In this article, Kanakis gives information about the history and the present of this movement.



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