Cyprus Mail

Chamber music to take over the island with annual festival

the olive grove concert4

Recognised as one of Europe’s leading music festivals, the International Pharos Chamber Music Festival has gained a reputation for the unparalleled quality of its concerts as well as its enchanting atmosphere and settings. This spring, the 21st edition of the festival returns at stunning venues in Nicosia, Kouklia and Delikipos.

Guided by a visionary spirit and dedicated to artistic excellence, the Pharos Festival was the first festival of chamber music in Cyprus, and it has placed the island on the international cultural map, garnering enthusiastic acclaim from music lovers all over the world who visit the island especially to be part of this exceptionally uplifting music experience.

Throughout its 21-year-old history, the festival has presented numerous memorable concerts with many of the world’s finest and most celebrated musicians. At the same time, it has maintained a strong tradition of community service, by making chamber music more accessible to the general public and giving the unique opportunity to students from all over Cyprus to benefit through its educational activities.

This year, between May 24 and June 4, the 21st International Pharos Chamber Music Festival welcomes 15 remarkable soloists, for eight chamber concerts. The festival will open on Tuesday, May 24 at The Shoe Factory in Nicosia with a cello and piano recital by the fascinating cellist and artistic director of the festival Alexander Chaushian, and Alessio Bax, described by the international press as “one of the most remarkable pianists” in the world.

With their insightful interpretations and dazzling virtuosity, the duo will offer the audience a ravishing listening experience of works by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Chopin and Crumb, and carve the way for a magnificent week of music-making in Kouklia’s Royal Manor House – one of the finest surviving monuments of Frankish architecture in Cyprus and a Unesco World Heritage site.

the olive grove concert5

Specifically transformed by the festival to an atmospheric recital hall, the Royal Manor will host six chamber concerts, on May 27, 28, 29, 31 and June 1 and 2, with 15 internationally acclaimed soloists joining forces in an impressive array of instrumental combinations and repertoire. Alongside Chaushian and Bax, the festival will welcome the much-anticipated return visit of the spectacular violinist Daishin Kashimoto – first concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, as well as the first visit of the brilliant violinist Viviane Hagner – praised for her highly intelligent musicality and passionate artistry.

Also performing is the remarkably gifted young violinist Alexandra Tirsu – recent audience-award winner of the prestigious ARD Competition 2021 and violist Razvan Popovici – recognised as one of the most accomplished and versatile violists of his generation. Cellist Kyril Zlotnikov – founding member of the renowned Jerusalem Quartet will also be part of the festival as will the 22-year-old prodigious pianist Marie Sophie Hauzel – the youngest student ever to have been admitted to the Mozarteum at the age of 15, and the French-Cypriot soprano Sarah Aristidou.

The festival will also welcome the return visit of Freddy Kempf – one of today’s most celebrated pianists who has built a unique reputation as an explosive and physical performer not afraid to take risks, and the festival’s exceptional soloists who comprise the core of the festival each year – violinists Boris Brovtsyn and Levon Chilingirian, violists Diemut Poppen and David Abrahamyan, and double-bassist Nabil Shehata.

On Saturday, June 4, chamber music will travel from the ancient village of Kouklia to the ancient Olive Grove – the idyllic open-air venue of the Pharos Arts Foundation in Delikipos, for the final concert in a wonderful programme by Mendelssohn, Franck and Brahms, performed by pianist Hauzel, violinists Brovtsyn and Chilingirian, violist Popovici and cellist Chaushian.


21st International Pharos Chamber Music Festival

Performances by 15 remarkable soloists, for eight chamber concerts. May 24. The Shoe Factory, Nicosia. May 27 – June 2. Royal Manor House, Kouklia. June 4. The Olive Grove, Delikipos. 8.30pm. €20. Tel. 22-663871

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