Contemporary Greek Music at Boston's Stuart Street Playhouse

On Monday, May 7, 2001, The Greek Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts sponsored a concert, titled "Greek Song From Rebetiko to Hadjidakis to the Present," at the Stuart Street Playhouse, presented by the 6-piece Contemporary Greek Music Ensemble. Performing to a capacity crowd in the playhouse, this ensemble received frequent applause from an enthusiastic audience.

Some of the most talented Greek musicians in the region participate in this ensemble: Pericles Kanaris, keyboard; Dimitris Antonides, drums, Dimitris Gialamas, bass guitar; Dimitris Kalaitzidis, bouzouki; Panagiotis Liaropoulos, guitar; and Manolis Vourakis, guitar. All of these performers are currently completing advanced degree work in the Boston area—at Berklee College of Music and at Boston University. Between them their musical accomplishments have garnered a plethora of awards and honors, among them scholarships from Berklee, the Barnes and Nobles Award, the 2001 Soren Christiensen Award, a prestigious Fulbright grant, and first place in the 1998 B.B. King Blues Guitar Competition in Athens.

A Range of Musical Styles

Founded in 1998 by Pericles Kanaris, the Contemporary Greek Music Ensemble highlights the abilities of its skilled and talented musicians. The group performs with precision and passion, pleasing audiences with a range of musical styles taken from contemporary Greek composers. Among the numbers performed during the concert were Simata Morse, Tis Dikaisinis Ilie, Ximeroni, Afto ton Kosmo Ton Kalo, O Notos, Thalassografia, Kuro Siwo, Odi Ston G. Karaiskaki, Ti Ine Afto Pou Mas Enoni, and Kokkina Yialia.

Greek Song Transformed During Sixties, Says Kanaris

Kanaris expounded upon the musical impact of works by such composers as Hadjidakis and Theodorakis on his group: "The 1960s and the emergence of . . . [these] composers . . . triggered events that were to change the face of Greek Song forever: building on material from the marginalized genre of rebetiko, they transformed Greek song from 'light' non-intellectual entertainment to an art form that took a stand on sociopolitical issues that were until then considered taboo. Even more importantly, it signaled the fusion of popular music with the words of great poets such as Odysseus Elytis, George Seferis and Nikos Gatsos, an achievement unique to contemporary Greek culture. Ever since then, this fusion indelibly marked the sound and lyrics of the Greek song and became the blueprint for a very rich anthology that was to follow up to the present. It is to this legacy that the Contemporary Greek Music Ensemble owes its existence."

Institute Promotes Awareness of Greek Culture

Through its sponsorship of this fine musical ensemble, The Greek Institute of Cambridge has proudly fulfilled its mission again "to create a greater awareness and understanding of the extraordinary achievements of Greek culture from antiquity to the present."  Maria Anagnostopoulos, the Associate Director of the Institute, invites all interested persons to attend cultural events of music, Classical readings, poetry, and art scheduled throughout 2001, in addition to the Institute's regular instructional sessions. For more information on upcoming events or classes, contact The Greek Institute at 617-547-4770.