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For a complete list of all reported concert and other events
involving Christos' music that have taken place before the current year please click HERE
or on PAST, CURRENT & UPCOMING EVENTS on the left-hand-side menu.

Performances of smaller solo or chamber works of which
we are not notified by the performers or presenters
may not be listed.

2017

January 1 -8. Performances of the ballet dance work One and Others based on String Quartet No. 1 (The Awakening). Demis Volpi, choreographer. Episodios Nocturnos Coreograficos. Ballet Nacional Sodre (National Ballet of Uruguay). Teatros del Canal, Madrid, Spain.

 January 9 to 14, 12 pm (repeated 12 am). Christos Hatzis was featured as "Composer of the Week" in five one-hour-long radio shows dedicated entirely to his music, a different one each day, airing at noon and repeating at midnight on ERT-Trito Radio, the national Greek broadcasting network. Produced and hosted by Markos Moissidis. This was the second time in a six month period that Hatzis was featured on Greek National Radio as the "Composer of the Week".

 January 20, 8:00 PM String Quartet No 1 (The Awakening). Quatuor Saint-Germain. Musée régional de Rimouski, 35, rue Saint-Germain O., Rimouski, Quebec.

 January 20, 7:30 PM. Four Songs on Poems by Elizabeth Bishop. Leslie Fagan, soprano. London Sinfonia (the former Orchestra London) under the direction of Kevin Mallon. Metropolitan United Church. London, Ontario.

 January 20, 7:30 PM. Fertility Rites. Member of the FlamaDUO (Luis Camacho Montelegre & Frnacesco Mazzoleni), marimba. One Vibe concert at the 14th International International Percussion Week. Bjelovar, Croatia.

 January 22, 2:00 PM String Quartet No 1 (The Awakening). Quatuor Saint-Germain. Marie Côté, artist. (Hatzis attended the performance and participated in a post-concert talk with the artists and audience. audience via Skype). Musée régional de Rimouski, 35, rue Saint-Germain O., Rimouski, Quebec.

 January 28. World premiere performance of SYN-PHONIA (Migration Patterns) for Arabic vocalist, Inuit throat singer, large orchestra, SurrounSound audio, Virtual Reality and 3D action painting. Maryem Hassan Tollar, Arabic vocalist; Tiffany Ayalik, Inuit throat singer; the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Alexander Mickelthwate. Virtual Reality: Khaled Sharif and Project Whitecard; Robert Pasternak, action painting. Opening concert of the 2017 Winnipeg New Music Festival. Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg, MB.

 January 28, 2017 8:00 PM, January 29, 2017 2:00 PM. String Quartet No. 1 (The Awakening). Members of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Voices of Canada program. Government House. Regina, SK

 February 3, 7:30 PM. Old Photographs. Trebelle Piano Trio Jennifer Dunn, violin; Robyn Wells, piano; Heidi Nagel). Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy, Boise, Idaho.

February 4, 7:30 PM. Old Photographs. Trebelle Piano Trio Jennifer Dunn, violin; Robyn Wells, piano; Heidi Nagel). Jewett Auditorium, College of Idaho, Caldwell, Idaho.

 February 5, 8:15 PM. Fertility Rites. Noè Rodrigo Gisbert, marimba. Junventudes Musicales de Espana, Centre Cultural Palau de Vivel, Vall de Uxó, Castellón, Spain.

 February 7, 8:15 PM. Fertility Rites. Noè Rodrigo Gisbert, marimba. Junventudes Musicales de Espana, El Albéitar. León, Spain.

 February 11, 6:00 PM. In the Fire of Conflict. Magda Myrczik, marimba. Arctic Dreams 1.Kalina Majewska, flute; Magda Myrczik, vibraphone. Concert Hall; The Karol Lipiński Academy of Music, Wroclaw, Poland.

 February 12, 7:30 PM. Old Photographs. Trebelle Piano Trio Jennifer Dunn, violin; Robyn Wells, piano; Heidi Nagel). Eagle United Methodist Church, Eagle, Idaho.

 February 15, 7:00 PM. Atonement. Norm Adams, cello; Barbara Pritchard, piano. Chamber Players Series. The Music Room. Halifax, NS.

 February 17, 8:00 PM. Old Photographs. Art of Time Ensemble. Part of NORTHERN SONGS: A Festival of Canadian Music. Harbourfront Centre Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. ON.

 February 17, 7:30 PM. Old Photographs. The Koerner Piano Trio  (Nicholas Wright, violin; Joseph Elworthy, cello; and Amanda Chan, piano). Main Hall, West Vancouver Memorial Library, Vancouver, BC.

 March 3, 5:00 PM. In the Fire of Conflict. Fabian Ziegler, marimba. Aula Sekundarschule Löhracker, Aadorf, Switzerland.

 March 9, 12 pm. Fertility Rites. Mario Boivin, marimba. Journees des sciences humaines, A la croisee des disciplines, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Sherbrooke University, Sherbrooke, Quebec.

 March 10-26. Odd World, from Constantinople (arr. by Architek Percussion). Architek Percussion (Ben Reimer, Mark Morton, Ben Duinker, Alessandro Valiante). Debut Atlantic Tour (Venues TBA).

March 10, 7:30 PM. Moncton Community Concert Association. The First Church of the Nazarene, Moncton, NB.
March 11, 8:00 PM. Antigonish Performing Arts Series. Imaculata Hall, St. FX, Antigonish, NS.
March 13, 8:00 PM. Rotary Arts Centre, Corner Brook, NL.
March 15, 7:00 PM. The Music Room Chamber Players Series. Halifax, NS.
March 16, 7:30 PM. Dr. Steel Recital Hall, UPEI, Charlottown, PEI.
March 22, 8:00 PM. Lawrence O'Brien Arts Centre, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL
March 24, 7:00 PM. th'YARC Playhouse and Arts Centre, Yarmouth, NS.

 March 30, 7:30 PM. Fertility Rites. Nick Shumaker, marimba. Peterson Recital Hall, Lincoln Music Hall, South Dakota State University. Brookings, SD.

 April 1, 1:30 PM. Old Photographs. The Gryphon Trio. Classical Nominees' Showcase, JunoFest 2017. Dominion-Chalmers United Church, Ottawa, ON.

 April 2. GOING HOME STAR: Truth and Reconciliation wins a Juno Award in the Classical Album (Large Ensemble) category. Ottawa, ON.

 April 12, 8:00 PM & April 13, 2:00 PM. The Isle is Full of Noises. Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andrey Boreyko. Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, ON.

 April 19, 8:30 PM. Fertility Rites. DeLane Doyle, marimba. Mead Witter School of Music, University of Wisconsin, Madison. WI.

 April 21, 7:30 PM. Odd World. Olympus Trio (Regi Papa, violin; Ben Capps, cello; Konstantine Valianatos, piano). Friends of Chamber Music series. WCR Centre for the Arts, Deading, PA.

 April 25, 7:00 PM. Anaktoria (from Three Songs on Poems by Sappho). Cara Search, mezzo-soprano; Rachel Rice Norris, clarinet; Lauren Tyros, viola; Jake Klinkenborg, cello; Jack Olszewski, piano. Redpath Hall, Montreal, Quebec.

 April 26, 8:00 PM. Anaktoria (from Three Songs on Poems by Sappho). Angelica Cathariou, mezzo-soprano. Ensemble of Ionian Festival under the direction of Christos Kolovos. Athens Conservatoire, Athens, Greece.

 April 27. (Hatzis work TBA). Group of percussion Conservatory of Music Juan Montes and contemporary dance group of the Professional Dance Conservatory of Lugo. Gustavo Freire Auditorium, Lugo, Spain.

 April 28. Orbiting Garden. Joseph Petric, accordion. Hochschule fur Musik, Trossingen, Germany.

 May 6, 8:30 PM. Fertility Rites. Jason Schirripa, marimba. Crane Music School, SUNY at Potsdam, Potsdam, NY.

 May 8. Workshop of Hatzis's music and talk by the composer, including a performance by percussionist Fabian Zeigler of In the Fire of Conflict. University of the Arts, Zurich, Switzerland.

 May 9, 8:00 PM. European premiere of Tongues of Fire. Fabian Zeigler, percussion; Wind Band Helvetia Rüti-Tanunder under the direction of Thomas Trachsel. Nocturno from Modulations 1. Fabian Ziegler, Lukas Aebi, Matthias Kessler and Luca Staffelbach, mallets. In the Fire of Conflict., Fabian Ziegler, marimba. Concert Hall, University of the Arts, Zurich, Switzerland.

 May 19 & 20, 7:30 PM. The Isle is Full of Noises. Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Andrey Boreyko. Concert Hall. Warsaw, Poland.

 May 20 & May 21, 7:00 PM. The Mega4 Meta4. Jonathan Morgan, viola. Congruency concert series. Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology, 513 Garden St., Santa Barbara, CA.

 May 25 , 8:00 PM. Fertility Rites (3rd movement). Noé Rodrigo, marimba. Theatre of the Station. Conservatory of Music at Aragon, Zaragoza, Spain.

 May 26 , 7:30 PM. In the Fire of Conflict. Fabian Ziegler, marimba. Evangelische Kirche Matzingen. Matzingen, Switzerland.

 May 27 , 7:30 PM. Arctic Dreams 1. Leslie Newman, flute; TBA, vibraphone. The Furious Stomp. The Church of St. John the Evangelist, 320 Charlton Avenue W, Hamilton, ON.

 May 29 , 7:30 PM. Modulations 1. Kaori Kamada & Coen Dijkstra, marimba; Kostas Argyropoulos & Maria Foubel, vibraphones. Percussion-House, Hochschule für Musik Detmold; Detmold, Germany.

 June 2. The Isle is Full of Noises. National Symphony Orchestra of Greece, under the direction of Alexander Myrat. Megaron Mousikis (Athens Concert Hall), Athens, Greece.

 June 5. 4:30 PM. Fertility Rites. Peter Prommel, marimba. Netherlands Blazers Ensemble concert. Oranjewoud Festival. Rabobank Pavillion (Overtuin). Oranjewoud, The Netherlands.

 June 11, morning. In the Fire of Conflict. Fabian Ziegler, marimba. International Katarzyna Mycka Marimba Academy, Hamboldt University, Arcata, California.

 June 13, 7:30 PM. Arctic Dreams. Les Allt, flute; Beverley Johnston, marimba. Lark enbsemble concert. Corkin Gallery, Distillery District, Toronto, ON.

 June 15. Extreme Unction. Jeff Reilly, bass clarinet; Thirteen Strings under the direction of Kevin Mallon. CD recording of the work for release in October 2017. Jeff Reily, producer. Dominion-Chalmers United Church, Ottawa.

 June 16, 7:30 PM. Extreme Unction. Jeff Reilly, bass clarinet; Thirteen Strings under the direction of Kevin Mallon. Dominion-Chalmers United Church, Ottawa, ON.

 June 18, 2:30 PM. Old Photographs. The Muse Ensemble (Terence Tam, violin; Laura Backstrom, cello; Lorraine Min, piano). Eine Kleine Summer Music. First Unitarian Church of Victoria, Victoria, BC.

 June 19, 7:00 PM. Old Photographs. The Muse Ensemble (Terence Tam, violin; Laura Backstrom, cello; Lorraine Min, piano). Eine Kleine Summer Music, Church and State Wines, 1445 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC.

 July 1, 7:30 PM. Modulations 1. Filip Mercep and the three winners of the Bamberg marimba compeition, mallets. Marimba Festiva 2017. Gemeinschaftshaus, Nürnberg Langwasser, Glogauerstr. 50, 90473 Nürnberg, Germany

 July 1, 7:00 PM. String Quartet No. 2 (The Gathering). Benoit Cormier - Violin; Pascale Gagnon - violin; Mary-Kathryn Stevens-Toffin - Viola; Blair Lofgren, cello. "Les Escapades Musicales de la Cité" festival. Announciation Greek Orthodox Church, 17 Boulevard René-Lévesque E, Quebec City, Quebec.

 July 4, 7:30 PM. Phosphorus and In The Fire of Conflict. Beverley Johnston, marimba. Barachois Summer Music festival. Barachois, NB.

 August 3, 1:00 PM. Dystopia. Marc Djokic, violin. Chamberfest. National Gallery of Canada. 280 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON.

 August 10 - 19. Awakenings from String Quartet No. 2 (The Gathering). The Crimson String Quartet (Étienne Pemberton and Audrey Sproule, violins; Alvin Tran, viola; Alyssa Ramsay, cello)

August 10, 8:00 PM. Woodboia Fundraiser at McMaster Manor, Woodrow, SK.
August 12, 11:00 AM. Market Square, Swift Current, SK.
August 12, 7:30 PM. Red Roof Studio, Duchess, AB.
August 13, 7:30 PM. House concert, Calgary, AB.
August 14, 8:00 PM. Classical Revolution, Calgary. Koi Cafe, Calgary, AB.
August 17, 7:30 PM. Westminster United church, Humboldt, SK.
August 19, 8:00 PM. Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Regina, SK.

 August 13. String Quartet No 1 (The Awakening). Quatuor Saint-Germain. Canadian Kaleidoscope. Rioux farm of the Parc national du Bic. Bic Islands, Quebec.

 August 13, 5:00 PM. Arctic Dreams. Iva Ugrčić, flute; Garrett Mendelow, percussion. Sound Out Loud. SOL @ The Union Terrace. Madison, Wisconsin.

 August 16. In the Fire of Conflict. Fabian Ziegler, marimba. Young Artists in Concert. Chämi Bar, Davos, Switzerland.

 August 17, 5:00 PM. Dystopia. Marc Djokic, violin. Garage Concert 4.5. 5226 Clark, Montreal, Quebec.

 August 17, 7:30 PM. Old Photographs. Rubén Marcelo Jiménez, violin; Héctor Rodríguez, cello; Ulrike Kauenhowen, piano. Recital de Música de Cámar. Salón Auditorio de la Sinfónica Nacional, Teniente Coronel Ayala Velázquez 376 casi Capital Brizuela (Barrio Mariscal López - Asunción), Paraguay.

 August 20, 1:30 PM. Old Photographs. The Gryphon Trio. Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival. Community Hall, 12956 Madeira Park Road, Madeira Park, BC. 

 August 26, 5:30 PM. Fertility Rites. Noe Rodrigo Gisbert, marimba. Uitmarkt. Grote Zaal, Muziekgebouw, Oosterdok, Netherlands.

 August 27, 3:00 PM. Old Photographs. The Amarok Ensemble (Brenna Hardy-Kavanagh, violin; Bryan Holt, cello; Lisa Tahara, piano). Festival Pontiac Enchanté, 440 Chemin Cregheur, Luskville, Quebec.

  September 7, 8:00 PM. Evangelismos from Byzantium. Jeanette Zyko, oboe. Faculty recital; Forbes Center for the Performing Arts, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

  September 17, 2:00 PM. Odd World (from Constantinople). The Olympus Piano Trio (Regi Alexandros Papa, violin; Ben Capps, cello; Konstantine Valianatos, piano). Le Petit Salon de Musique; Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stonybrook, East Setauket, NY.

  September 22. Official release of the CD To Dream of Silence by Jeff Reilly. The CD includes the premiere recording of Extreme Unction (In Memory of Gustav Ciamaga) by Hatzis.

  September 23. Tongues of Fire. Fabian Zeigler, percussion; Wind Band Helvetia Rüti-Tanunder under the direction of Thomas Trachsel. In the Fire of Conflict. Fabian Ziegler, marimba. Highlights event. Concert Hall, University of the Arts, Zurich, Switzerland.

  September 24.In the Fire of Conflict. Fabian Ziegler, marimba. Aula Sekundarschule Löhracke, Aadorf, Switzerland.

 September 28. Everlasting Light. Conrado Moya, marimba, Coral de Bilbao under the direction of Enrique Azurza. Commemoration event for the 80 years since the bombing of Guernica. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain.

 September 29, 5:00 PM. In the Fire of Conflict. Beverley Johnston, marimba. Ivana Bilic Marimba Week. Samobor, Croatia.

 September 30. Everlasting Light. Conrado Moya, marimba. Coral de Bilbao under the direction of Enrique Azurza. Commemoration event for the 80 years since the bombing of Guernica. Queen Sophia Museum, Madrid, Spain.

 October 2, 7:00 PM. String Quartet No. 1 (The Awakening). The North: Soundscape of Canadian Music. 4th Wall Music. Capital Theatre, Windsor, ON

 October 3, 7:00 PM. Coming To. Emma Purslow, violin; Roelof Temmingh, piano. True North Sounds: A Canadian Celebration. Royal Ove-seas League. Park Place, St James's Street, London, UK

 October 6. The Isle is Full of Noises. University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Uri Mayer. MacMillan Theatre, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, 80 Queen's Park, Toronto, ON.

 October 21, 8:00 PM. Thunder Drum. Victoria Symphony under the direction of Bill Linwood. Part of the program "Tagaq Throat Singing." Golden Performance Hall, Victoria, BC.

 November 5, 3:00 PM. Arctic Dreams. Sara Hahn, flute; Tim Borton, percussion. Green Bananas. Instrumental Society of Calgary. St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Calgary, AB.

 November 8 - 23. National Tour of Argentina by Ballet Nacional Sodre of Uruguay, including "One and Other" by Demis Volpi danced to Hatzis' String Quartet No. 1 (The Awakening):

November 8 & 9, Córdoba
November 11 & 12, Tucumán
November 14, Rosario
November 16, Santa Fé
November 18, Mar del Plata
November 20, La Plata
November 21, Flores
November 22, Lomas de Zamora
November 23, C.A.B.A. Belgrano

 November 18, 7:30 PM. Thunder Drum. Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Eric Paetkau. TCU Place, Sid Buckwold Theatre, Saskatoon, SK.

 November 18, 5:30 PM. In the Fire of Conflict. Katarzyna Mycka, marimba. Rittersaal des Welfenschlos ses (Knight's Hall of the Guelph Palace). Hann, Münden, Germany.

 November 19, 2:00 PM. CD launch of Modulations by TorQ percussion quartet, which includes Hatzis' Modulations for two vibraphones and two marimbas. Gallery 345, Toronto, ON.

 November 24. Pyrrichean Dances. Neocles Nicolaides, viola; Marinos Tranoudakis, percussion; Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Alexandre Myrat. Megaron Mousikis, Thessaloniki, Greece.

 November 27, 7:00 PM. Departures. Alheli Pimienta, solo flute; Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM (OFUNAM) under the direction of Claudio Tarris. (Concert in support of the earthquake victims of the 2017 Mexican earthquake). Aula Magna, Monterrey, Mexico.

 November 28. De Angelis. Soloist TBA; English Chamber Choir under the direction of Guy Protheroe. The Temple Church, 1 Inner Temple Lane, Temple, London, UK.

 December 1. Official CD release of Mirage. featuring percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Anne Manson. The CD includes the title track, Mirage? for vibraphone, cloud gongs and string orchestra by Christos Hatzis.

 December 8, 12:00 PM. Fertility Rites. Robert Bullinga, marimba. ArtEZ Lunch Theater, Grote zaal, Deventer Schouwburg, Deventer, Netherlands.

 December 10, 2:00 PM.Phosphorus, Beverley Johnston, marimba. Seicho-No-le, 662 Victoria Park Avenue, Toronto, ON.

 December 10, 3:00 PM. Coming To. Veronique Mathieu, violin; Stephanie Chua, piano. True North concert. Hart House, St. George Campus, University of Toronto.

 December 11, 4:00 PM. Fertility Rites. T-Hsien Lai, marimba. Mannheimer Schlagwerk : Classic Percussion in Concert. Abendakademie, Mannheim, Germany.

2018

  January 11, 12:00 PM. World premiere of Night Sky for violin and marimba. Mark Djokic, violin; Beverley Johnston, marimba. BEV @ 60 anniversary concert. Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto.

  January 12, 7:30 PM. Arctic Dreams. Sally Schlichting, flute; Morris Palter, percussion. Con Brio: Chamber Series. Holly Trinity Episcopal Church, Juneau, Alaska.

  January 13, 7:30 PM. Arctic Dreams. Sally Schlichting, flute; Morris Palter, percussion. Con Brio: Chamber Series. Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives, and Museum. 395 Whittier Street, Juneau, Alaska.

February 3, 7:30 PM. In the Fire of Conflict. Katarzyna Mycka, marimba. Kulturraum St. Gereon Forchheim, Feuchtwangen, Germany.

February 17. Zeitgeist. Hamilton Philharmonic Orchetra under the direction of Gemma New. FirstOntario Concert Hall, Hamilton, ON.

 February 24, 8:15. The Isle is Full of Noises. Philharmonie Zuidnederland (South Netherlands Philharmonic) Under the direction of Dmitri Liss. Musiekgebouw Eindhoven. DLL Main Hall. Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

 April 8. Departures. Eftihia Arkoudis, flute. Ensemble TBA. West Virginia University School of Music. Morgantown, WB.

 April 12., 7:00 PM. Orbiting Garden. Joseph Petric, accordion. 918 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON.

June 1, 9:00 PM. Winter Solstice. Kostas Siskos, French horn; Athens State Orchestra under the direction of Myron Michailidis. Concert "Attitudes Towards Light" presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Canada in Greece. Christos Lambrakis Hall, Megaron (Athens Concert Hall), Athens, Greece.

June 28 Three Songs on Poems by Sappho. Alison Bolshoi, mezzo; Yoonah Kim, clarinet; Bellas Hristova, violin; Dimitri Murrath, viola; Dimitri Atapine, cello; William Hobbs, piano. Thessaly Chamber Music Festival 2018. Ancient Theater of Demetrias, Volos, Greece.

 

(for more reviews, write-ups and comments click HERE or on COMMENTS on the left-hand-side menu).

 

Christos Hatzis (born in 1953) is moving from his status as "one of Canada's leading composers" toward broad international recognition. If Constantinople (2000), for mezzo-soprano, Arabic vocalist, string trio, and digital audio, becomes widely distributed and known, it should be an important landmark bringing him attention on the international scene. Hatzis is an eclectic, who effortlessly draws on the resources of contemporary compositional techniques; the music of his native Greece, especially that of the Orthodox Church; popular music; and a variety of folk traditions, in what he describes as "cultural counterpoint." In the diversity of traditions he commingles or juxtaposes, the composer he most closely resembles is Osvaldo Golijov (whose Pasión Según San Marcos was premiered the same year as Constantinople). Constantinople, the city that was defined by the convergence of a variety of cultures, is an apt topic for a composition characterized by the sometimes abrasive, sometimes harmonious convergence of musical styles. The piece is complex in its psychology -- there are no simple, predictable resolutions -- and in its multilayered structures (what Hatzis calls its "semantic density"), but it's not aurally difficult. Its sumptuous abundance of ideas, and the ingenious and inspired ways in which they are related, overlay its depth with a brilliant, attractive surface. Hatzis constantly astonishes his listeners by confounding expectations with rhythmic, melodic, and textural surprises, but there are plenty of anchors to keep the listener engaged: repetition of melodies or patterns, familiar harmonic languages, and folk-like dance structures. And he writes gorgeous, sensual vocal lines and idiomatic, dramatically charged instrumental parts. The Gryphon Trio and vocalists Patricia O'Callaghan and Maryem Hassan Tollar deliver gripping, urgent, and beautifully nuanced performances. Hatzis conceived of the pieces as chamber music to be staged, with surround sound audio, and the extensive use of videos, lighting effects, and chorography. The audio component captured on the CD offers a limited picture of the piece, and the listener can only imagine its impact when performed with all of the elements it was created to incorporate. Analekta's sound is clean, spacious, and realistic. AllMusic review by Stephen Eddins. http://www.allmusic.com/album/christos-hatzis-constantinople-mw0001853902

A modern Canadian composer attends the première of a work to hear its last performance.” This bon mot by the distinguished Calgary musician Quenten Doolittle has become proverbial. Yet there are exceptions to the rule — and Toronto’s Christos Hatzis is one of them. To say that Hatzis is a successful composer would be a grave understatement. The “contemporary Canadian master,” as The New Yorker described him, was born in Greece, spent some years in the U.S. where he received his academic training, and then became Canadian by choice. Beginning in the late 1970s, Hatzis has slowly but surely built a tremendous career. With a string of recordings on EMI, Sony, Naxos, CBC Records and other first-rate labels, often successfully competing in sales with pop albums, his presence on the international classical stage is now comparable to that of Philip Glass, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Arvo Pärt, Krzysztof Penderecki, or Steve Reich. The man already is a Canadian icon and an international cultural institution. Despite his success, the composer oozes modesty and restraint. “I call myself an imitator,” he is quick to confess, “but not in the conventional sense of the word. When I say I’m an imitator, I refer to Him who guides me and maps out creative decisions for me.... As a musician and a human being, I feel that I must follow my conductor’s cue. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but what I think much art lacks most these days is spirituality.” Spirituality permeates practically every one of Hatzis’ compositions, including his groundbreaking multimedia masterpiece, Constantinople, for which he received a Juno. The newest one, Mirage? for percussion and chamber orchestra, which has its Edmonton première on Sept. 20, follows the same path. Hatzis explains its origins: “The piece, a percussion concerto, was commissioned by CBC for the Scottish virtuosa Dame Evelyn Glennie — also known in the pop world for her collaborations with Björk and Bobby McFerrin — and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra led by the truly fantastic Anne Manson, for their Western Canadian tour, which is now in progress. The music deals with the modern societies’ blatantly materialistic obsessions and temptations. I see a connection between the years preceding the present crisis and the ‘Roaring ’20s’ leading to Black Tuesday [Oct. 29, 1929] and the subsequent Great Depression. It is a sad piece, perhaps even a cry of despair, but for the modern world to survive, it is imperative to turn away from the seductive mirages of the exorbitant lifestyle.” Maestra Anne Manson speaks about Hatzis in almost poetic terms. “His sounds breathe space,” she says. “The opening build-up, with more and more light let in, is enchanting. At times, the music feels incredibly free, perhaps because it is so imbued with jazz. The piece is marvelous, and rarely have I seen a modern composition so successful with audiences. It is a veritable tour de force!” Hatzis means business. He’s currently hard at work on another big project which promises to cause a stir — a chamber opera centring on the last days of another Canadian legend, the 19th-century First Nations poet and writer Pauline Johnson. His co-writer? Some unknown author named Margaret Atwood.
Piotr Grella-Mozejko Music Feature, See Magazine (Edmonton, Canada) September 17, 2009.

As far as I was concerned, this 40-minute piece [Everlasting Light] was the whole program and it's surprising we haven't heard more about this masterpiece...there was nothing to lead one to expect a piece of music that turned out to be so ravishingly beautiful...Its movement is slow, some of the harmonies are very close and the feeling of ambience is indescribable...I personally found Everlasting Light very heartening because until now I've felt like a heathen listening to the music of Henryk Górecki and the so-called "holy minimalists" and even Arvo Pärt to an extent. This was far more beautiful than anything I've heard from any of them. The music has, in fact, a potent sense of otherworldliness and an immense quiet dignity. It has (grave) melody where the others supply only monastic medieval-sounding monody - frankly, monotony - and there isn't a moment in it that feels calculated or anything less than sincerely felt. Echoes of it followed me all the way home. The Cantata Singers under conductor Eric Hannan rose magnificently to its demands, as did its subtle percussionist, Anne-Julie Caron. She was the special guest on the program and performed with a talent reminiscent of Evelyn Glennie. It was amazing how she managed five minutes, or it could have been 10, of very soft thrumming as she held down a minor third. As already said, it could have been the whole concert...But everything was forgivable for the the unforgettable Everlasting Light.
Lloyd Dykk, The Vancouver Sun (Canada) October 21, 2008 ldykk@vancouversun.com

Dame Evelyn rocks! No stranger to VSO programming, this phenomenon of the concert stage -- a deaf percussionist who has made percussion a solo instrument in serious music -- always has something musically new to say, bringing a work specially commissioned for her mega-talent. This concert, no exception to her regular visits, had the packed-out audience -- at least metaphorically speaking --both gasping for breath and bopping in the aisles during Greek composer Christos Hatzis' sprawling, deeply emotional Tongues of Fire for Percussion and Orchestra. The work's title sets its moment and concern: the flames that descended upon the Apostles on Pentecost, but rather than being celebratory, the work explores anguish and crisis, and in an intense second movement inner tranquility. That proves unsustainable but goes deep, as large-scale effects give way to almost unbearable lyrical intensity. Dame Evelyn was, as ever, on the top of her game, from the rapid-fire explosions of sound of primal character to coaxing out the infinitely small nuances of the vibraphone to goose-bump raising effect. Visceral and cerebral by turns, the work set up almost relentless challenges for soloist and orchestra. A self-conscious tour de force, Hatzis' composition could have been mere gimmickry but turned out to be profoundly moving both in its inventiveness and ideas. Maesto Tovey urged out a committed and thrilling reading of this piece not for the faint-of-heart, with the VSO delivering every bit as impassioned a performance as that delivered by its soloist-phenomenon. J. H. Stape, REVIEWVANCOUVER.COM (Canada).

 

There's something ariel-like about watching the Scottish percussionist extraordinaire Evelyn Glennie fly around her battery of drums on the stage barefoot in front of an orchestra....On Saturday she premiered a concerto by a Canadian composer and a very good one, Toronto's Christos Hatzis, whose work I've admired before. Called Tongues of Fire, it's mainly for marimba and orchestra but involves far more than marimba, only some of the other instruments being the vibraphone and cloud gongs. Cloud - that lovely word - describes an atmospheric work of moods that range from the dynamically thunderous and sharp to the seductively impressionistic and vague. The work is sensationally beautiful, all four movements, but especially the second, which begins with a sensuous, mysterious pop song sung by a soprano to a piano before it becomes the basis for the movement proper. It was as interesting to watch as to hear. When did you last hear a duel between a solo violin (the excellent Joan Blackman) and a bass drum in which every note was clear? This admirably approachable concerto is subtly crafted, fully integrating the percussion part with the orchestral part and the rhythms are fascinating with all the sexy ostinatos, the bones of rhythm. Even by Vancouver Symphony standards, the playing was exceptional and the house looked full. Lloyd Dykk, CANADA.COM, May 25, 2008; THE VANCOUVER SUN, May 28, 2008.

 

Glennie has played in Calgary and never fails to impress. Not only she is gifted technically, but her playing is exceptionally musical, encompassing the most amazing nuances of tone and rhythm. She had a full workout in the solo part of the concerto [Tongues of Fire], a virtuoso work in four titled movements that together make up a reflection on the idea of Pentecost, especially the sense of turbulence that surrounded the period just before Christ ascended to heavens. The music itself is unfailingly colourful in an idiom that broadly speaking might be called "neo-tonal". More specifically, the harmonic palate and melodic style resembled a cross between Anton Bruckner and Andrew Lloyd-Webber, the short, fragmentary melodies having a churchy sound, but presented with all the subtlety and refinement associated with Phantom of the Opera and other works of that ilk. The immediacy of the effect was unmistakable, especially given the compelling performance by Glennie, and there was much to admire in the clever handling of mixed rhythms, largely assigned to the orchestra. As a virtuoso vehicle for Glennie or another virtuoso percussionist, the work is likely to have many performances. Hatzis was on hand for the performance, graciously acknowledging the obvious effort that has gone into the preparation and delivery of the work. Kenneth DeLong, THE CALGARY HERALD (Canada), May 31, 2008.

To provide a present-day climax to the program, Tafelmusik commissioned a new choral work - From the Song of Songs - by the Greek-Canadian composer Christos Hatzis, which had its premiere Thursday, and which the composer calls "an offering and prayer for peace in the Middle East."...The main solo singers were equally splendid...Tenor Muller's handsome and perfectly used voice transformed itself effortlessly for the several styles it had to adopt, quite astonishingly in the melismatic Eastern idiom it needed in the Hatzis. His duet with the wonderful Maryem Tollar in the middle movement of that work was a highlight of the evening. Tollar's singing was extraordinarily strange and poignant in the context of the Tafelmusik forces, and flawlessly modest and haunting...The Hatzis cantata must be counted a triumph, easily the best thing of his I've heard, with a vivid opening movement, a slow movement (My Beloved Is Mine) straight out of the elevated manner of Bach (with a theme perhaps too close to that of the closing chorus of the St. Matthew Passion) and a final movement that starts rather scattily but pulls itself together for a splendid finish. And what a lucky composer Hatzis was to have a first performance of this calibre. Ken Winters, THE GLOBE AND MAIL (Canada), March 8, 2008.

 

 

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