CULTURE

A Greek saxophonist on international hit CD

Greek saxophonist Theodore Kerkezos, who has over the years succeeded in building himself an international reputation, is collaborating with the esteemed London Philharmonic Orchestra in a CD titled «Ballades for Saxophone and Orchestra,» which was released by Naxos recordings in September and has sold out three times already in Greek music stores. «This recorded work by Naxos was greatly aided by a concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall in November of 2003,» said the musician to Kathimerini. «I played Piazzolla with the Philharmonic Orchestra, pieces that I had transcribed for the saxophone. We then decided to release this recording on the market along with other compositions for saxophone and orchestra by Henri Tomasi, Maurice Ravel, Frank Martin, Pedro Iturralde and Dimitris Dragatakis.» Kerkezos’s performance on the album has attracted rave reviews from international music critics, who noted that for the first time ever, works by Tomasi and Martin are performed with the detail and color that the composers themselves would have wished. This, says Kerkezos, is because his professor Jean-Marie Londeix had a personal relationship with the composers and was thus familiar with the manner in which they wanted those specific works to be played. It is also worth noting that this recording was supported by the Piraeus Municipality as the musician also serves as director of the Piraeus Municipal Saxophone Orchestra. «Ballades for Saxophone and Orchestra» does not represent Kerkezos’s only collaboration with the London Philharmonic. In 2002 he released «Music for Saxophone,» with great works for the instruments, in which he was accompanied by the celebrated British ensemble. To date, that CD, which includes works by Debussy, Villa-Lobos, Ibert and Milhaud, among others, has sold over 10,500 copies. «The saxophone is the most melodic instrument in an orchestra,» says Karkezos. «Because it can imitate the human voice as well as other musical instruments, we often see violin works transcribed for saxophone.» A few words about the musician Theodore Kerkezos graduated with honors from the Athens Conservatory and went on to train in Bordeaux with Jean-Marie Londeix and in Paris with Daniel Deffayet. He received the Papaionnou Award in 1992 and 1993 and has performed the whole existing classical repertoire for saxophone and orchestra, appearing with major orchestras throughout Europe. Kerkezos has performed at Carnegie Hall, New York, the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Great Halls of St Petersburg Philharmonic and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. He has had works dedicated to him by leading composers, including Iannis Xenakis and Theodore Antoniou, while he has also collaborated with the publishers Alphonse Leduc-Paris in promoting new works for the saxophone. A professor at the Athens Conservatory, he has given master classes at conservatories in Moscow, Boston, Princeton and the Gnesin and Kiev academies.