To call this concert a huge success would be nothing short of an understatement.
The highly acclaimed and globally revered performer Dimitris Basis, wowed the audience for the Greek Festival of Sydney at the world renowned City Recital Hall in Angel Place, Sydney, on Friday 14 May 2021.
Two hundred years ago in 1821, Greeks rose in revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which had dominated their land for over 400 years. After many vicissitudes, the Revolution of 1821 led to the establishment of an independent, internationally recognised Greek kingdom in 1832. Nonetheless, the struggles of Greek men and women for the liberation of occupied territory and for democracy in their own country continued intermittently and reached a new climax in the period of military dictatorship (1967-74). Since before the Revolution to the present day, music and song have inspired Greek people to struggle for a better world and to honour those who have given their lives for the cause.
To mark the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the War of Independence, the Greek Festival of Sydney put together a concert titled “200 Χρόνια Ελεύθερη Ελλάδα” with songs of revolution, liberation and empowerment created over several decades by four iconic composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: Vassilis Tsitsanis, Manos Hatzidakis, Stavros Xarchakos and Mikis Theodorakis. The concert featured soloist, international artist Dimitris Basis, together with a Greek band, a symphony orchestra and a choir, under the direction of conductor George Ellis.
ABOUT THE COMPOSERS:
Vassilis Tsitsanis was a Greek songwriter and bouzouki player. He became one of the leading Greek composers of his time and is widely regarded as one of the founders of modern Rebetiko and Laiko music. Tsitsanis wrote more than 500 songs and is remembered as an extraordinary composer and bouzouki player.
Manos Hatzidakis was a Greek composer and theorist of Greek music. His legacy and contribution is widespread among the works of contemporary Greek music, through the second half of the 20th and into the 21st century. He was also one of the main proponents of the “Éntekhno” form of music (along with Mikis Theodorakis). In 1960, he received an Academy Award for “Best Original Song” for a film titled “Never on Sunday”.
Stavros Xarchakos is a Greek composer and conductor who has served as the director of the Greek National Orchestra. His music has been recorded to 42 albums and has been used frequently in film and television. Internationally he is known as the composer for the Rembetiko film score, composing the music for the Werner Herzog film “Signs Of Life”, and composing the music for the 1983 BBC TV mini-series, “The Dark Side of the Sun”.
Mikis Theodorakis is a Greek composer and lyricist who has contributed to contemporary Greek music with over 1000 works. He is Greece’s most well-known composer and has achieved international acclaim for scoring the films “Zorba the Greek”, “Z” and “Serpico”. He is also responsible for composing “The Ballad of Mauthausen”, a well-revered work based on Kambanellis’ poem of Holocaust survival.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Dimitris Basis is a Greek singer and musician who has performed with some of Greece’s finest musicians and is a regular vocalist with the Mikis Theodorakis Orchestra. With a diploma in Byzantine music, he started chanting the liturgy in the local church before taking his first steps in professional singing at the age of 20. Over the years, he has released a catalogue of many albums that have been a huge success in Greece and internationally.
Carefully convened and crafted, with the utmost respect, this concert pulled at the heartstrings of all those who were present. From the clear and powerful voice of Dimitris Basis, to the perfectly appointed orchestra and band, as well as the dulcet tones of the 12 voices strong choir, George Ellis took them all under his musical guidance as he magnificently conducted with finesse, vigour and passion.
President of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, Mr Harry Danalis opened the event and welcomed the packed house with a warm and moving speech. It was evident to all in attendance that the tireless efforts of the Greek Orthodox Community Board consisting of Nia Karteris (Vice President), Michael Tsilimos (Secretary), Chris Belerhas (Treasurer), Con Apoifis, Panagiota Avramidis, Dimitris Bekris, George Diamataris, Ula George, Nick Gratsounas, Christos Gravanis, John Karavitis, Fotios Larentzakis, Nicholas Malaxos, George Ronis, Alexandros Samaras, Artemis Theodoris, Peter Tsilioris and the entire team were all at play here, ensuring the event ran smoothly, without any hiccups or breaches of the Covid restrictions imposed upon Sydney siders at the time.
Unable to dance or sing, the difficult task of remaining seated with mouths closed was respectfully adhered to by all those in attendance.
However, there was a lot of tapping, clapping and appreciation shown throughout the entire concert.
His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Australia was also present and was noticeably enjoying the show, lapping up the Hellenic pride that was evidently felt by all.
WHO WERE THE MUSICIANS?
MUSICAL DIRECTOR AND CONDUCTOR: George Ellis
- FLUTE: Emilia Antcliff
- OBOE: Joshua Ning
- CLARINET: Alexei Dupressoir
- BASSOON: Nick Zengoski
- FRENCH HORN: Christine Pringle
- TRUMPET: Matthew Collins
- TROMBONE: Arthur Johnson
- PERCUSSION: David Manuel
- VIOLINS: Dimitri Calligeros (Concertmaster), Jane Stanley, Yena Choi, Jasmine Baric, Anna Murakawa, Dominique Gallery, Marlane Bennie, Sagar Nagaraj, Nataliya Lukich, Matthew Tsalidis, Heather Burnley, Sarah Howard, Isabel Tzorbatzaki, Lu Guo, Tatyana Lukich, Maryana Sywak, Lizzy Greenhalgh, Jenny McCullough
- VIOLAS: Aisha Goodman, Heather Lloyd, Phoebe Gilbert, Freya Meaney, Darius Kaperonis, Kallirroi Dionysiou, Gabrielle Steele
- CELLOS: Eleanor Streatfeild, Nikkie Dobosi, Ezmi Pepper, Marleen Broekmans, Bronte Ellis
- DOUBLE BASSES: Emily Green, Julia Magri.
- GUITAR & BAGLAMA: George Doukas
- BOUZOUKIA: Nathan Pylarinos, Perry Tsepetzis, Michail Mattheou, Serafim Bougiotis, George Paradisis
- ELECTRIC BASS: George Nikolopoulos
- DRUMS: Mike Paraskevadakis
- BAGLAMA & BOUZOUKI: Sotiris Procopiou.
Arthur Maroungas, Catherine Prineas, Dimitry Moraitis, Dionysis Maroungas, Emmanuel Conomos, Fotini Stavridis, George Karantonis, Irene Gryllis, Jenny Giannitsios, Joanne Mayson, Katerina Mavrolefterou, Leon Vitogiannis.
For more information on other Greek Festival of Sydney events, please click here.