CULTURE

Greece’s first academy of music opens

The meager Greek music scene has taken two great steps forward during the past decade: The first was the construction of the Athens Concert Hall, followed by the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, both of which brought major changes. The second is the recent creation of a Music Academy, offering both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Until recently, the courses offered by the departments of music studies at the universities of Athens and Thessaloniki and the Ionian University seemed hardly sufficient, as they only succeeded in producing an excessive number of musicologists, who then had great difficulties in finding a job. However, the Department of Music Studies of the Corfu-based Ionian University was recently upgraded, according to presidential decrees 102/2002 and 156/2003, to a Music Academy. The new courses offer specialization in three separate directions: Musical composition, musical interpretation and musical science, while studies at postgraduate level fall into the same categories. In order to appreciate the importance of the academy, one should realize that, up until now, departments of music studies only offered a degree in general musical knowledge, and that is why they could only produce musicologists. «The studies they offer are not equivalent to those of music academies abroad,» explained Miltos Logiadis, the permanent conductor of the Orchestra of Colors and a professor in the Department of Musical Studies at the Ionian University. It seems that this great gap is about to be filled in for the first time. The academy will start functioning this coming academic year. «Before September, we will acquire more teaching staff. Already Leonidas Kavakos has been selected to teach violin, Giorgos Kouroupos for composition and Dionysis Savvopoulos for contemporary Greek songs. All of us, including the head of the department, composer Haris Xanthopoulos, and the teaching staff, are determined to equip the academy with major personalities from the music scene so as to attract more candidates. Most students opt to study in either Athens or Thessaloniki, and they need a good reason to decide to come to Corfu.» The Ionian University’s Department of Musical Studies already features prominent musicians like composers Xanthopoulos, Iosif Papadatos and Dimitris Maragopoulos, all of whom have been teaching composition, conductor Miltos Logiadis, who has been teaching orchestra conducting, and musicians Costas Kotsiolis (teaching guitar), Socratis Anthis (trumpet), Antonis Latos (horn) and Spyros Mourikis (clarinet). Additions will be made to the staff before the beginning of the new academic year, due to the department’s upgrading. Students taking a degree in musical interpretation will, of course, specialize in the musical instrument of their choice (piano, violin, guitar and horn, to mention just a few), while the academy also offers opera singing courses, instituted for the first time in Greece. When taking a degree in musical science, one has again the option of following different directions, including technical specializations like courses in musical technology or recording. «The most important thing here is that we are finally shaping the people who will later found the basis of music studies in our country. Academy graduates will not just be musicians but also able music teachers, who will have practical experience on top of theoretical knowledge. These people can then go to schools and create a much more informed and demanding audience. The academy will benefit musical events in Greece and at some point it will also lead to a proper rating of the certificates awarded by music schools, because the current situation is chaotic. I do hope similar upgrades take place in the remaining departments of music studies and that further music academies are created in other universities.»