Non-stop shows at top conservatory

Operating as a splinter stage to the capital’s main concert scene for over a decade now, the Philippos Nakas Conservatory’s modestly sized and well-equipped concert hall has proven a reliable venue for a steady flow of interesting performances by trained soloists and ensembles, mostly in the classical, jazz, and traditional Greek domains, as well as with specialized seminars. Many of the performers work as instructors at the privately run institution. The concert hall, which was inaugurated up by the state-accredited music school in 1989 and hosts about 150 concerts each year, likes to plan in advance, as is reflected by an active concert agenda that is currently loaded with events through late May. The current month is no exception. Tomorrow, three accomplished Thessaloniki-based musicians drawn together as a trio by a common fascination for chamber music – Giorgos Petropoulos, the Thessaloniki State Orchestra’s first violinist, cellist Yiannis Stephos, also a member of the second city’s orchestra, and pianist Myrto Karypidou, an instructor at the school – will present works by Beethoven, Smetana and Shostakovich. On Friday, the gifted jazz pianist Giorgos Kontrafouris, who studied piano at the National Conservatory, and, by his mid-teens, had switched to jazz, will perform a solo set featuring material off two CDs, «Don’t Be Shy» and «Too Close,» as well as work off a forthcoming album, which will be called «The Storyteller.» An experienced musician, Kontrafouris’s track record includes collaborations with the local groups Page One and Exit, as well as notable foreign acts, including Louisiana Red and Marc Johnson. He also presently teaches at the Athenaeum Conservatory and the Ionian University on Corfu. Later this month, on February 20, another key local jazz player, Pantelis Benetatos, has chosen a repertoire featuring numbers by Thelonius Monk, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Bill Evans, to be performed both solo and as a duo with accompanying guitar or vocals. An instructor at the Philippos Nakas Conservatory over the past seven years, Benetatos has played and recorded with a broad range of some of the country’s finest artists of jazz, Greek, and Latin-American music. On the first day of March, the Thessaloniki-based guitar duo of Kyriaki Kondi and Thanassis Pavlou, both graduates of the capital’s National Conservatory and regular performers – together – at various festivals over the past decade, will render tangos by Astor Piazolla and Sergio Solar, lively Brazilian material by Radames Gnatalli, as well as more solemn work by Gabriel Faure. Also next month, Irineos Koulouras, a Berklee College of Music graduate who these days is tutoring students in electric and double bass at Philippos Nakas, will lead a capable combo through Balkan jazz terrain on March 20.Concerts begin at 8.30 p.m. Philippos Nakas, 41 Ippocratous, tel 010.363 4000.

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