Sounds of Cyprus Recognized with 2024 Queens Arts Fund Grant

QUEENS, NY – Sounds of Cyprus, the musical ensemble dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Cyprus, has been honored with the 2024 Queens Arts Fund – Arts Access grant and is one of 138 Queens-based artists, artist collectives, and small non-profit organizations to receive funding through the Queens Arts Fund program, presented by The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) in partnership with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Sounds of Cyprus was recognized with an Arts Access Grant for ‘An Evening of Traditional Cypriot Music and Dance,’ which will bring a live performance of traditional Cypriot music and culture to the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens in September, 2024.

Fiscally sponsored by NYFA, this esteemed award uplifts Sounds of Cyprus’ exceptional commitment to the preservation and promotion of all of Cyprus’ traditional musical legacies, cultural histories, and language dialects.

Despite facing challenges within the diaspora concerning historical accuracies in the preservation of all the musics and dialects of Cyprus, this award will enable Sounds of Cyprus to sustain their independent and non-political approach in presenting an interdisciplinary performance of traditional Cypriot music and dance, which will be accessible to all members of the public at no cost. The event will be held under the auspices of the Consulate General of the Republic of Cyprus, highlighting the cultural significance and official support for Sounds of Cyprus’ endeavors.

Sounds of Cyprus has gained international recognition particularly in Greek and Cypriot media for their engaging performances and their blending of traditional melodies with contemporary flair. This grant will enable the ensemble to reach more audiences, delve into research, and create new works, all aimed at nurturing Cyprus’ unique and multicultural folk and traditional arts.

The support and recognition from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the City Council, NYFA, and the Consulate General of the Republic of Cyprus demonstrate the group’s success in its mission to preserve and promote Cyprus’ musical heritage to worldwide audiences and engage in bicommunal activities that create positive cultural exchange.

The City-funded Queens Arts Fund, administered by NYFA, will provide $457,600 in project grants to Queens-based artists, artist collectives, and small non-profit organizations of all artistic disciplines to support the local production of artwork and cultural programs that highlight, engage, and bolster the borough of Queens. Members of the public can participate in Queens Arts Fund programming by following the hashtag #QAF2024 on social media.

This ‘Sounds of Cyprus – An Evening of Traditional Cypriot Music and Dance’ event will be made possible (in part) with public funds from the Queens Arts Fund, a re-grant program supported by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by NYFA.

Sounds of Cyprus has performed to appreciative audiences at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City and looks forward to future performances there this coming summer.

Sounds of Cyprus is a Cypriot orchestra co-founded by Peter Douskalis and Elena Chris in New York City. The group performs the traditional music of Cyprus in varying orchestrations and styles that both consciously honor the time period of composition and period instruments as well as perform with a modern approach. Peter Douskalis, Project/Music Director, plays the laouto, oud, mandolin, and guitar in the group, switching between the proper instrument as needed for the authentic and modern orchestration of the pieces. Elena Chris, vocalist and Creative/Artistic Director of the group, sings the traditional songs in the Cypriot dialect of Greek, as well as in Turkish for songs that contain lyrics in both languages. Other instruments and members of the group include violin/viola – Alex Tasopoulos, contrabass – Erikos Vlesmas, pithkiavli and ney – Stavros Papadopoulos, and percussion – Mark Katsaounis.

For more information about Sounds of Cyprus, their upcoming projects, and to become a community partner, visit: www.soundsofcyprus.com.


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