A rock flautist in Patras

Ian Anderson, the frontman of the legendary rock band Jethro Tull, has just embarked on a solo tour of orchestral performances in Europe, Israel and the USA. The tour, which opened Tuesday in Munich, makes its second stop in Greece tomorrow for one show in Patras, at the Ancient Odeum, as part of the city’s European Cultural Capital celebrations this year. Anderson has been a frequent visitor in recent years with Jethro Tull. Recent performances have included shows at the distinguished Herod Atticus Theater and in Thessaloniki, backed by the city’s symphony orchestra. Now four decades into his music career, Anderson, a Scotsman, lives a mostly quiet life on a farm in Wiltshire, southern England. Jethro Tull have had to endure several storms in more recent years, mostly over stylistic direction, but have nevertheless survived and remained popular. During their heyday, Jethro Tull stood at the top of the tree among progressive hippy bands. The innovative act’s mix of hard rock, folk, dense lyrics and overall profundity did not stop the British act from being a major seller. In more recent years, the numbers have declined, but Jethro Tull has continued performing at more modest venues to a considerable and devoted following of young and old. Anderson released his first solo album, «Walk into Light,» back in 1983. Its synthesizer-based sound did not appeal to fans and Anderson quickly revived Jethro Tull for the following year’s «Under the Wraps» album. It, too, fared poorly, selling less than any other Jethro Tull outing, partly due to a throat infection suffered by Anderson that forced the band to cancel a tour in support of the new release. The long-serving act’s slump was broken by 1987’s «Crest of the Knave,» a more aggressive-sounding album that took Jethro Tull into hard rock territory. It resulted in a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for the band that had suddenly become relevant again. Many critics, however, responded by questioning whether the distinction for the aging band was a deserved one. Despite the subdued response to Anderson’s debut solo album, he has continued to write and record solo material over the years, the most notable outings being «Divinities: Twelve Dances with God,» a classically oriented solo album with little or no resemblance to Jethro Tull that was released on EMI’s classical music division Angel Records. Concert canceled A concert scheduled to take place on July 19 with distinguished maestro Mstislav Rostropovich leading the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra in Patras as part of the city’s events celebrating its status as European Capital of Culture has been canceled due to Rostropovich’s health problems, according to the spokesperson for the 79-year-old Russian conductor and cellist. All of Rostropovich’s concerts scheduled until September 1 have also been canceled until further notice. Members of the public who have already purchased tickets can visit the Cultural Capital box offices and get a refund, while those who have purchased their tickets online will be notified soon via e-mail about refunds.