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Music

Composer Dimitris Dragatakis to Be Honored at Megaron on March 11

ATHENS – The prolific Greek composer Dimitris Dragatakis (1914-2001) will be honored on Friday, March 11, 7 PM, at the Lilian Voudouri Music Library of the Friends of Music Association at the Megaron Athens Concert Hall, home to his archive. The event features the presentation of the book Dimitris Dragatakis, Official Discography and Archival Recordings by Thomas Tamvakos (published by the Music Society of Alexandroupolis, 2021) with a discussion by distinguished scholars and artists, shedding light on the special musical personality of the composer. The evening is framed by a short musical program with songs for voice and piano and piano works by the composer, many of which are making their world premiere.

Dimitris Dragatakis was a prolific composer. He wrote music for most musical genres, with the total number of his works exceeding 140. His first compositions date back to before 1940 and the last in 2001, the year of his death. His first dated String Quartet No. 1, in 1957, already had the stamp of maturity. The fact that he started composing at a relatively old age (40-42 years old), after he had already settled into a way of life, also contributed to keeping his Greek entity intact amid the pioneering currents of the time. Since 1958, Dragatakis was active as a composer and wrote systematic works, many of which are distinguished in Panhellenic Competitions, and follows in every possible way (radio, concerts, lectures) the composing trends of his time, gradually approaching the modern musical currents.

Composer Dimitris Dragatakis in a portrait by his granddaughter Ismini Koronidi. Photo: Courtesy of the Megaron Athens Concert Hall

Despite his initial apprenticeship with Leonidas Zoras and Manolis Kalomiris, he never identified with the style of the National School of Music; nuggets of this style can only be found in some of his first works. On the contrary, he was mainly a self-taught composer, as the influences from the music of his place of origin, Epirus, the musical currents of his time (the musical avant-garde of the ’60s and ’70s) and especially his personal conception of the art of music essentially shaped his creative language.

The significance of Dragatakis’ work, however, is independent of the very number of his works or the number of distinctions he received during his lifetime. The acceptance and recognition that Dragatakis’ music gained is mainly interrelated with the special characteristics of its creator. Dragatakis was a contemporary composer, who listened to the messages of his time and expressed them through his music; also a deeply Greek composer, who consistently integrated the Greek musical tradition and especially of Epirus into his work. Finally, there was a creative humanist, who wanted art to approach the average person and not just address the “experts.”

The speakers scheduled for the event: Stefania Merakou, musicologist, director of the Lilian Voudouri Music Library of Greece; Dr. Athanasios Trikoupis, Associate Professor, University of Ioannina, Department of Music Studies; Dr. Magdalene Kalopana, musicologist, organist; George Monemvasitis, music critic, writer; Iakovos Konitopoulos, composer, chairman of the Board of the Friends of Dragatakis Association, general secretary of the Board of the Union of Greek Composers; and Thomas Tamvakos, musicologist, critic, researcher, writer, honorary member of the Union of Greek Composers.

The musical portion of the event includes: mezzo-soprano Ioanna Vrakatseli, soprano Annie Fassea, Diana Branousi on piano, and Christos Marinos on piano.

The event is free, register online for priority tickets available on Eventbrite: https://bit.ly/3szXZio.

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