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International Pharos Contemporary Music Festival returns

3 fidelio trio photo credit © christopher baines

The Pharos Arts Foundation has prepared an exciting autumn season ahead, which opens with a fantastic new edition of the International Pharos Contemporary Music Festival. Reflecting Pharos’ deep commitment to creativity and innovation, this was the first festival of new music to be established in Cyprus, and since its early days, it has been recognised as one of the most innovative annual events in Europe.

For over a decade, the International Pharos Contemporary Music Festival has acquainted Cyprus with the music of our times, and served as an important platform for composers to collaborate with some of the most eminent soloists and ensembles in the world. The Pharos Contemporary has presented dozens of world premieres, but also numerous Cyprus premieres of neglected masterpieces of the 20th century as well as works by the new generation of composers.

From October 5 to 14 at The Shoe Factory in Nicosia, the 13th International Pharos Contemporary Music Festival presents four distinct and exciting concerts, alongside an array of interdisciplinary events, such as lectures, workshops and educational activities for youth.

The festival opens on Wednesday, October 5 with a concert by the internationally acclaimed Fidelio Trio. The three musicians are enthusiastic champions of the piano trio genre, performing the widest possible range of repertoire on concert stages across the world. For their Cyprus debut, the Fidelio Trio will perform works by Gabriel Faurè, Sofia Gubaidulina, David Fennessy and Judith Weir.

The second concert of the festival, on October 7, is a rare and remarkably captivating event since it presents for the first time in Cyprus the Dutch pan-flute virtuoso Matthijs Koene. Internationally recognised as one of the foremost panpipes players of today, Koene is celebrated for his ground-breaking vision and approach, which have vastly expanded the technical and expressive capabilities of this ancient instrument, and introduced it to the classical music world.

With a repertoire spanning from the early Renaissance to the 21st-century, Koene has inspired numerous composers to write pieces for panpipes, and to date, more than 200 new works have been written for and dedicated to him. For his recital in Nicosia, which is supported by the embassy of the Netherlands, Koene will perform works by Claude Debussy, Steve Reich, Calliope Tsoupaki, Evis Sammoutis, Ron Ford, Roderik de Man and Daan Manneke.

The Ergon Ensemble – one of the leading Greek ensembles of contemporary music – will be up next, returning to The Shoe Factory on October 12 for a concert dedicated to the great pioneer of 20th century music Iannis Xenakis, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth. An explorer of the furthest frontiers of music, architecture and thought, composer, music theorist, mathematician and architect Xenakis is widely recognised as one of the most important post-war avant-garde figures. His dazzling mathematical constructions changed the face of music forever, and his organic structures lent poetry to post-war architecture.

Shimmering strings, thundering percussion, heartfelt voices stemming from his inimitable imagery, and his daring imagination empower audiences and musicians with a passion born out of a tumultuous and traumatic life. This fascinating concert exploring Xenakis’ smaller and lesser-known works is supported by the embassy of Greece.

Two days later, the festival will conclude with the exciting sounds of Trio Zukan – one of the most notable and experimental ensembles of the contemporary music scene in the Basque Country, which has emerged from the combination of three uncommon instruments: accordion, percussion and txistu (traditional Basque flute that can be played with one hand, leaving the other one free to play a percussion instrument). The concert, which is supported by the embassy of Spain, will include works by Salvatore Sciarrino, Georges Aperghis, Evis Sammoutis, María Eugenia Luc, Francisco Dominguez and Mikel Chamizo.

 

13th International Pharos Contemporary Music Festival

Four concerts with international acts. October 5-14. The Shoe Factory, Nicosia. 8.30pm. €15. www.pharosartsfoundation.org. Tel: 22-663871

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