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Composer/Pianist Maria Kotrotsou Talks to TNH about Her Latest Album

The National Herald Archive

Maria Kotrotsou's latest album is titled In My Dream. Photo: Album design: Mary Labrou – ML Design Creations/ Photo: Nekti Arabatzi

NEW YORK – Maria Kotrotsou, composer and pianist, released her fourth album, In My Dream, on March 14. The gifted Greek-born artist spoke to The National Herald about the album, coping with the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, and her upcoming work. Kotrotsou lives and works in Paris where she writes orchestral, neoclassical, electronic, and new age music. She also writes songs, and has collaborated with singers, including Joana Desfosses, Lukas Gauntt, Idra Kayne, Martha Moreleon, Anthony Koroneos, Eleni Tzatzimaki, and Ioannis Kotrotsos, among others.

Kotrotsou began piano lessons at age 6 and just four years later, she won the first prize with distinction in the piano competition at the London Royal Academy of Music. Three of her musical pieces (Pensees, Nostalgia, and Don’t Stop Dreaming) were part of the Neoclassical Collection 2018 alongside international artists Philip Glass, Ludovico Einaudi, and Phil Collins, among others.

In My Dream is available online and features Kotrotsou’s pure, neoclassical sound with piano, violin, cello, flute, bass clarinet, and in one piece, the addition of electric guitar, an instrument she included for the first time in her music. Kotrotsou not only composed the music and performs on the piano on the album, she also did the orchestration. She collaborated with the following musicians in Paris and Athens: Gabrielle Dello Preite on violin, Theodore Vibert on cello, Cristine Avila on flute, Vassilis Bratos on bass clarinet, and Dimitris Nassios on electric guitar.

TNH: How long did the process take from the idea of the album until the release?

Maria Kotrotsou: For my album, In My Dream, I was inspired by a situation that I experienced and that turned my emotions into notes in a relatively short time. For about a month and a half I completed the composition and the orchestration of the eight pieces. Then I recorded them with my orchestral ensemble, and completed the studio mixing and the mastering for the final result. The whole process including the release of the album as a digital and physical product, took me about 5-6 months.

The National Herald Archive

Composer and pianist Maria Kotrotsou. Photo: Sophie Thouvenin

TNH: Where in Greece are your roots?

MK: I was born and raised in Athens. After finishing some of my music studies at the National Conservatory in Athens, I left for Paris and continued my advanced studies at Ecole Normale de Paris and then my career started from here. Even though I live in Paris, Greece will always be with me.

TNH: How are you coping with the pandemic?

MK: It is a very difficult period for all of us. Confinement is not an easy matter, it must be managed with great patience and fortitude. I am used to staying confined in a place for long periods for my work. Now, of course, it is different because it is imposed on me. But I stay indoors and I try to keep under control all I can and to focus on the present. Since I do not go out at all, I have more time to work with myself on my spiritual development. This on top of my work that I continue with more or less the same rhythm. I watch films, talk with friends. I do all I can to render my hours and days nicer.

TNH: What are you working on next?

MK: Currently, I am composing the music for a French film, while preparing for my upcoming concerts in France that have been scheduled for June. If the concerts end up being postponed due to the pandemic, like the concert I was to give in Athens in April, which was rescheduled for October, they will be rescheduled for next year. Concurrently, I am also working on a new piano and violin project that I will present in the United States and some European countries.

More information about Maria Kotrotsou and her album In My Dream is available online: https://www.mariakotrotsou.com.