Across the Aegean

Aside from its political and humanitarian impact, the Great Fire of Smyrna marked the end of the unique cultural melting pot that was Smyrna for centuries: “nowhere else can one find so many street organs”, wrote the Breton composer Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray at the end of the 19th century about the city where everyone was already dancing “alla franca, alla greca, alla turca” since the early 18th century, according to the French traveller Joseph Pitton de Tournefort. The cosmopolitan and eclectic musical tradition of Smyrna decisively influenced the musical production of the newly-founded Modern Greek state, also transplanting to its soil a multitude of pre-eminent Anatolian composers who went on to define Modern Greek art music, such as Manolis Kalomiris, Yannis Constantinidis, Timotheos Xanthopoulos and Georgios Poniridis.

Accomplished GNO soloists Julia Souglakou and Yannis Christopoulos, accompanied by the pianist Sofia Tamvakopoulou sing works by the aforementioned pioneering musicians as well as songs on the subject of Smyrna by legendary composers from Greece and abroad, such as Leonidas Zoras, Dionysios Lavrangas, Maurice Ravel, Emilios Riadis, Theofrastos Sakellaridis, but also by more recent figures such as Tasos Rosopoulos, Philippos Tsalahouris etc.; a programme that bridges the distance between “art” and “light” Greek music of the past and present, functioning at the same time as a moving tribute to the musical tradition of Asia Minor.

Sunday 23/10/2022 at 19:30

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