A symphonic first for Santorini

The International Santorini Music Festival is already in its 23rd year, and continues to offer classical music events of high caliber. This year’s calendar includes six concerts by prominent as well as up-and-coming younger artists of the international music scene. The festival opens its doors on Sunday, with a concert by renowned viola player Yuri Basmet accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra. Among other works in which he plays as soloist, the musician will conduct Schubert’s Fifth Symphony, marking the first time a symphonic work will be performed on the island. The next concert will take place on September 11, with musicians from France. Pianist Pastial Godard and violinist Eric Crambes are offering a concert with a number of exquisite chamber music works for piano and violin. A piano recital by Australian Duncan Gifford is also scheduled for the same day. On September 14, a genuine representative of France’s classical music tradition, the String Quartet of the Paris Opera, will interpret works by Haydn and Debussy, as well as the Brahms quintet for clarinet. Joining forces with the Quartet is Greek clarinetist Spyros Mourikis. Young and promising Two promising young Greek artists, soprano Mata Katsouli and tenor Evangelos Hadzisimos, will interpret arias and duets from popular operas on September 16, accompanied by British pianist Steven Harrison. The festival ends on September 23, with the five wind instrument soloists who make up the Greek State Radio’s Woodwind Quintet. The evening program includes Poulenc’s Sextet, interpreted by pianist and the main inspiration for the festival and its artistic director, Athina Kapodistria. All concerts will take place at the Conference Center Hall in Santorini’s capital, Fira. As an artist living in the later part of the 19th century, Gyzis lived at a time of artistic plurality and vivid experimentation. Although much of this experimentation was taking place in Paris, and despite the fact that Gyzis himself was somewhat ensconced in an academic environment, he was still an artist of his times. What these times were like and what status the art we nowadays consider as avant-garde occupied back then, are issues not that easily resolved. So, if by contemporary standards, Gyzis is considered a competent artist working in an academic style but still outside art’s more innovative developments, such an appraisal should still be placed within the context of his time.

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