CULTURE

Pianist and ensemble join forces for unique concert

very interesting musical meeting will take place at the Athens Concert Hall tonight. Skilled pianist Evangelos Sarafianos will join forces with a distinguished music ensemble, the Amar Quartett, for a unique concert. Both the pianist and the ensemble are based in Switzerland, where they are very popular. «It was an unavoidable meeting,» said Sarafianos on a phone interview. «The Amar Quartett is one of the best-known string quartets in Switzerland.» Hindemith inspiration The ensemble was named after the historic quartet founded by composer Paul Hindemith in 1922. The quartet is particularly fond of the work of Hindemith, one of the top 20th-century German composers, and has recorded numerous of his compositions. It is keen on promoting contemporary music works, many of which are commissions of famous and lesser-known composers. It further specializes in productions that combine chamber music with theater, ballet and multimedia performances. It has received various international awards, such as the Bubenreuth, the Graz, the Migros-Kulturprozent, the Geneva and the London Millennium Award and has performed in top concert halls around Europe. Along with Sarafianos, the ensemble will interpret Haydn’s «String Quartet Op 77, No 1» as well as Brahms’s and Cesar Franck’s piano quintets. «The two quintets are huge works; each of them is a concert in itself,» said Sarafianos, who studied at the Athens Conservatory before moving on to the Basel Music Academy. «I came to Switzerland almost by chance,» he said. «There was a friend, I won a scholarship and the plan was to return to Greece at some point. But I ended up staying and working here.» The Greek pianist’s reputation has reached as far as Japan, a country to which he returns every year to give recitals and master classes and where in 1997 he received a rare honorary title. «During the past decade I have traveled to Japan about 30 times and I have done eight different tours. The Japanese market is difficult, given that they have excellent musicians. Asia in general has produced some great soloists over the past few years, but it seems that from the start they saw something different in me, something that they liked. The chemistry was mutual.» He said he misses Greece a lot. «I love Greece very much and I am very interested in this country. That is where my memories and where my people are. By now things are also happening in Greece, it’s not what it was like when I left, 25 years ago.»