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11. neue vocalsolisten photo©martin sigmund
ELENI PHILIPPOU looks forward to the 14th International Pharos Contemporary Music Festival in Nicosia next month

The Pharos Arts Foundation returns to The Shoe Factory in October to present the 14th International Pharos Contemporary Music Festival. As pioneers of contemporary music in Cyprus, the festival has consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity and innovation. Since its inception, it has been recognised as one of Europe’s most ground-breaking annual events.

For 14 years, the festival has introduced Cyprus audiences to the ever-evolving world of contemporary music, providing a platform for composers to collaborate with world-renowned soloists and ensembles. The Pharos Contemporary Music Festival has been a hub for presenting world premieres and introducing neglected 20th-century masterpieces, as well as works by the new generation of composers.

As the festival continues to redefine the cultural landscape of Cyprus, this year’s edition is certain to be an extraordinary sonic journey. Organised from October 4 to 13, the festival will present five distinct and exciting concerts alongside an array of ground-breaking interdisciplinary events such as lectures, workshops and educational activities for the youth.

The festival will open with violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved and pianist Roderick Chadwick for a fascinating programme of imaginative works inspired by birdsong. Works they are performing range from the brilliant circle of Bird Portraits by Edward Cowie, to works by Olivier Messiaen and Robert Saxton, and reach back to the 1600s, when composers were fascinated with birdsong.

On October 6, the Hymns concert will take place with the Cyprus debut of the Brussels-based Ictus Ensemble which will join forces with the fervent voice of the young soprano Soetkin Elbers for a programme inspired by hymns, ancient and modern, intersecting the 9th-century hymns of Saint Kassiani of Constantinople with works by John Cage, Dmitri Shostakovich, Salvatore Sciarrino, Michael Pisaro, Tarquinio Merula, Filippo Perocco and James Tenney.

Unheard-of sounds will be the focus of the third concert as it presents a rare, 45-minute performance by the talented and uniquely resourceful Passepartout Duo – comprising pianist Nicoletta Favari and percussionist Christopher Salvito. The centrepiece of their performance on October 8 is the Chromaplane, a new electronic instrument the Passepartout Duo have developed over the past year.

Then on October 11, the celebrated Neue Vocalsolisten will return to The Shoe Factory after ten years for another yet memorable concert, supported by the Goethe-Institut Zypern. They will join forces with the leading clarinettist Gareth Davis to deliver a programme of electrifying, vibrant and dramatic works by Georges Aperghis, Evis Sammoutis, Zeynep Gedizlioglu and Carola Bauckholt.

The festival will conclude with the debut in Cyprus of the renowned Greek pianist Pavlos Antoniadis. Collaborator of the team interaction-son-musique-mouvement at IRCAM, Antoniadis has collaborated with some of the most important composers of our time. For his recital, Antoniadis will perform an impressive programme of works by François-Bernard Mâche, Iannis Xenakis, Maria Kaoutzani, Hakki Cengiz Eren, Leoš Janáček, and Galina Ustvolskaya.


14th International Pharos Contemporary Music Festival

Music festival with concerts by international artists. October 4-13. The Pharos Arts Foundation, Nicosia. 8.30pm. 22-663871

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