The Cyprus Choral Association aims to bring people together through music. PAUL LAMBIS meets its founder
Since its inception in 2018, the Cyprus Choral Association has continued to expand its creative vision with meaningful and impactful performances, both locally and internationally, touching audiences through the power of choral music.
The establishment of the association was the brainchild of conductor Nicolaos Therapontos whose vision was to create a non-profit organisation that would unite music and culture under one umbrella. “Collective action in society has always been necessary,” Therapontos says. “Music is the channel through which I can create, offer, and inspire, and the founding of the association and its ensembles undoubtedly bolstered that goal.”
In the short time of its existence, the Cyprus Choral Association, as part of its World Choral Programme, has managed to establish itself as one of the island’s leading choirs and has represented Cyprus at international choral events in Greece, Hungary, Germany and Italy.
“Over the next five years, our aim is to participate in international concerts around the globe, highlighting and promoting our island through choral music,” Therapontos told Living. “Our journey and performances will be recorded on film for a special documentary feature that will follow every moment of our musical voyage, including the challenges and the triumphs.”
He also believes in promoting Cypriot identity through music, with the choral programme presenting a first-class opportunity to “re-approach and redefine the association’s values and adapt them experientially” as it promotes the island’s cultural heritage abroad.
In November 2021, the association travelled to Berlin for two special performances at Heiligkreuz Kirche and Saint Johannes Basilika, renowned cathedrals. “Among other musical compositions, traditional Cypriot choral works that have influenced our nation’s rich musical legacy were performed,” Therapontos said.
“In addition to international secular works by a string of world-renowned composers, which include Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, Jacob Obrecht, and Francisco Leontaritis, we strive to incorporate music created by performers who are profoundly connected to and inspired by Greece and Cyprus’ rich legacy, as part of our repertoire.”
Therapontos is a firm believer that music has a significant impact on everyone’s life. “Music, like other kinds of art, can be characterised as a method of expression that necessitates creative abilities and a strong imagination. It [music] has the ability to bring people together in a variety of ways.”
Although also interested in sports, Therapontos fell for music when he started to learn to play the guitar. “It was at that point that I made the decision to follow the music path, and I have never looked back since.”
When the Cyprus Choral Association was first founded, there was a surge of interest from various individuals and music societies who identified with the organisation’s aim and vision. “I felt that a part of our community was transforming and entering a new era,” Therapontos explained. “We aim to communicate important societal messages through our work. We do not want to limit ourselves to music as we continue to evolve.”
And in 2019 the association staged three sell-out performances, raising funds for the Cyprus Anti-Cancer Society. “I was really moved by the fact that we had filled the theatres with choral music-focused performances for the first time in Cyprus.”
He believes the Cyprus Choral Association is on a steady path, educating audiences about Cypriot culture locally and abroad, simultaneously learning from renowned choral associations in Europe.
The next stop on their World Choral Programme tour earlier this year, included performances in three of Rome’s famous landmarks that included Chiesa Parrocchiale di Dio Padre Misericordioso, Istituto Figlie di San Camillo, and Basilica dei Santi XII Apostoli, a 6th century church whose opulent Renaissance interior provided the perfect backdrop for the filming of the choir’s documentary.
“I am particularly pleased with our recent efforts to promote Cyprus’ rich cultural heritage in Rome,” he added. “I think we have achieved a remarkable level, and I am both moved and proud of our accomplishments.”
As part of an education ministry programme, the Cyprus Choral Association will be giving a large concert at the Municipal Theatre of Strovolos on November 3.
The concert, according to Therapontos, will feature the Pancyprian Choir, European Youth Orchestra of Cyprus, musicians, and soloists performing works by renowned Greek composers Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis, Nikos Gatsos, and Stavros Xarchakos among others.
“We are also looking forward to our upcoming trip to Brussels in February 2023, in the context of the World Choral 2023 Programme,” he added.
As far as Nicolaos is concerned, the Cyprus Choral Association has created a dynamic platform that unites individuals through music. “I encourage future generations to continue our work, centred around cultural events, creativity, and social contribution.”