Benaki Museum pays tribute to innovative Greek composer

“Understanding new things requires strong intuition, insight, sensitivity and good faith,» composer Yiannis Papaioannou had said at the opening ceremony of the first Greek Week of Contemporary Music in 1966. Thirty-eight years later, the exhibition «Searching and Innovation: Yiannis A. Papaioannou, Composer and Teacher,» which opened at the Benaki Museum last month, is trying to shed some light on the work of one of the most important Greek composers of the 20th century. «The Benaki Museum wants to express its interest in Greek music,» said Angelos Delivorias, president of the foundation, at a recent press conference. «Tributes to composers Nikos Skalkottas and Spyros Samaras will take place by the end of the year,» he added. Papaioannou was born in 1910 and died in 1989; his wide range of activities left its mark on contemporary music history. The very large number of works he composed over 60 years indicates an innovator whose interests lay in modern musical tendencies. The exhibition consists of photographs, press releases, parts of handwritten scores and documentation from various interpretations of his compositions. It is divided into four units: The first one deals with Papaioannou’s life and activities from his childhood in Kavala until his visits to Europe’s music centers in 1949-50. The second looks into how his work was the result of his research and his absorption of modern music tendencies and goes as far as 1965, when the Greek Association of Contemporary Music was founded. The third section follows the composer’s activities from 1965 until his death, while the fourth is dedicated to his educational contributions to later musicians. The exhibition runs to February 29. In addition, weekly concerts are taking place at the museum with the Greek Ensemble of Contemporary Music and pianist Alexandra Papastefanou. The next evening has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 17. Benaki Museum, 17 Vas. Sofias & 1 Koumbari, Kolonaki, tel 210.367.1043.