CULTURE

Going beyond the black and white keys

Lorenda Ramou is a pianist whose love for the instrument has taken her far beyond the black and white keys. A graduate of the Athens Conservatory, with postgraduate studies in Paris and London, Ramou is very active, both as a concert pianist as well as with recording. She recently performed works by contemporary Greek composers at the Athens Concert Hall, while she also released Nikos Skalkottas’s «Ballet Music for Piano» with the Bis label. Another very interesting work, Dimitris Dragatakis’s «Complete Solo Piano Music,» with Ramou at the piano, has also been released by Naxos’s Greek Classics series. «When I saw that Naxos was starting off this series, I sent a file with a few suggestions and a demo,» she said. «They opted for Dragatakis and, in fact, they pressured me to organize the entire production quickly. The result was a huge album, as I worked a lot on the composer’s manuscripts because there were many mistakes in the printed scores. Eventually, a new edition of Dragatakis’s works came out, in collaboration with the composer’s archive. I met with all the pianists who have interpreted his works and I wrote down the directions he had given them.» Ramou may be a classical pianist but for her the piano keys are just the beginning. «In general, I have a contemporary, 20th-century repertoire, without this meaning that I don’t follow or listen to the more classical repertoire. I went through the classical repertoire when I was in Paris. But I took classes with Claude Helffer, who worked with Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez and others. This repertoire makes me feel freer physically, it is a music that is more self-evident to me. When I play Schubert, I feel a little bit like an archaeologist. It has to do with character and with how you handle your body.» Forever restless, Ramou will soon be heading off to New York and Boston, where in the next few months she will explore the relationship between the piano and multimedia, video art and more. «I will also look into the composition of works where the pianist has to perform theatrical elements incorporated into the work. I find using just the keys very restricting. A pianist naturally uses the full potential of the piano as well as his body, but all this is done through the keys. I want to get into the other side and see what happens behind the keys. It is a wonderful musical instrument with unbelievable possibilities.»