Paxos Festival Trust

The 2011 Spring Festival

The 8th Paxos Spring Festival took place on the island between 14-24 June 2011. This festival is the continuing development of John Gough's later concept of talented younger Greek musicians forming the core of an ensemble studying and performing a repertoire dedicated to the advancement of new music.

As in previous years, the festival takes the form of master classes and informal concerts on Paxos under the guidance of IEMA with teaching by players from its parent, the Ensemble Modern, one of Europe's leading performers of this music genre.

The annual programme of works is developed with Nicos Tsouclos, Artistic Director of the Athens Megaron, in conjunction with the Ensemble Modern. The festival enables them to prepare three concerts to be performed by the group (now known as the Ergon Ensemble) in Athens in the following winter, and possibly elsewhere in Greece and Europe.

The 20 participants in 2011 were mainly drawn from those of previous years and are becoming well versed in the demands of this music. The Festival also provided the opportunity for IEMA to evaluate some new players.

This year's programmes are themed around Italian composers of the past 50 years, and the American Minimalists, including Glass and Adams. The Italian programme had some large-scale pieces involving almost all players, and conducted by Hartmut Keil.

The programme has a particular demand for a wide range of percussion instruments, which adds to the work of the Athens organisers, and sets a challenge for the former Paxiot schoolhouses!

This year was particularily difficult for the organisers since funding from various important Greek organisations for this complex festival was only finalised at a very late date. Furthermore, the venue for the masterclasses and performances had to be moved from Loggos to Gaios, as the hall was still undergoing essential refurbishment: this took the performers away from their much loved environment.

The Trust was encouraged by the growing number of schoolchildren coming to the rehearsals, and the opportunity to discuss the music with the players.

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