Blue Shore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts, Capilano University
Artists: En Chordais & Ensemble Constantinople
Based in Thessaloniki, Greece, En Chordais is active in the learned and popular multicultural musical traditions of the Mediterranean. The ensemble fuses contemporary musical trends with Byzantine art music and Greek regional idioms and will present works from newly discovered Byzantine manuscripts dating from 1480 to 1800.
This concert is generously supported by the RPC Family Foundation.
En Chordais is based in Thessaloniki (Greece). The ensemble is active in the domain of multicultural, learned and popular musical traditions of the Mediterranean, exploring both their creative continuity and their meeting with contemporary musical trends, in a fusion mood. Through an osmotic procedure the group successfully combines Byzantine and art music of Mediterranean with Greek regional idioms and contemporary music. Collaborating occasionally with virtuosi from all over the world, the ensemble presents a multimedia mosaic dating from the 13th century to today. The result is a timeless dialogue between different cultures and eras.
Renowned for extensive research on the musical legacy of the East Mediterranean, En Chordais has entranced audiences all over the world. This appreciated ensemble has been invited to perform in very special and important concert halls: the Library of Alexandria, the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium of Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Institut du Monde Arabe and Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, the BOZAR in Brussels, the City Hall Concert Hall in Hong Kong… are just some of them. The group has also collaborated with top musicians from Greece, the Arabic world, Iran, Turkey, Israel, China, Canada as well as from Europe.
Kyriakos Kalaitzides, oud, dir.
Born in Thessaloniki in a family originating from Pontos and Cappadocia, Kyriakos Kalaitzidis is a composer and musician. He is considered to be one of the most significant musical researchers in the field of modal secular music of the post- Byzantine era.
In 1993, he founded along with other musicians the En Chordais ensemble, renowned for extensive research on the musical legacy of the East Mediterranean and that produced CDs, books and concerts. With En Chordais he received the Prix France Musique des Musiques du Monde by Radio France (2008), and he was nominated with the “Sharjah” price of UNESCO in 2006.
In 2002 he became Artistic Director of the three-year Medi-Muses project dedicated to researching and celebrating the Mediterranean’s shared classical musical heritage and supported through the European Union program, Euromed Heritage II. Kyriakos Kalaitzides has a Ph.D. in Byzantine Musicology from the Athens University and received a scholarship from Spanish.
Constantinople is a musical ensemble that chose the journey—geographical certainly, but also historical, cultural and inner—as its cornerstone. It draws inspiration from all sources and aims for distant horizons. Inspired by the ancient city illuminating the East and West, Constantinople was founded in 1998 in Montreal by its artistic director, Kiya Tabassian.
Since its founding, the ensemble promotes the creation of new works incorporating musical elements of diverse musical traditions around the world, drawing from medieval manuscripts to a contemporary aesthetic, passing by Mediterranean Europe to Eastern traditions and New World Baroque. Underpinned by a spirit of research and creation, Constantinople has joined forces with leading international artists such as singers Marco Beasley, Françoise Atlan, Savina Yannatou and Suzie Le Blanc; the Mandinka griot Ablaye Cissoko; the Greek ensemble En Chordais, the Belgian duo Belem and the American group The Klezmatics; sarangi virtuoso Dhruba Ghosh, Syrian clarinettist and composer Kinan Azmeh, and Iranian kamancheh master Kayhan Kalhor.
Regularly invited to perform in international festivals and prestigious concert halls, such as the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco, the Rencontres musicales de Conques in France, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, the Cervantino Festival in Mexico, the Festival de Carthage in Tunisia, the Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens and the BOZAR in Brussels, Constantinople is acclaimed by the public, music professionals and critics alike. The ensemble has 19 albums to its credit on labels Analekta, Atma, World Village, Buda Musique, MaCase, Glossa, and Dreyer Gaido. Over the past fifteen years, Constantinople has created nearly 50 works and travelled to more than 240 cities in 54 countries.
Kiya Tabassian, dir.
Born in 1976 in Tehran, Iran. At age 14, Kiya Tabassian emigrated with his family to Quebec from Iran, bringing with him some initial musical training in Persian music and a fledgling musical career. Determined to become a musician and composer, he continued his self-education in Persian music, meeting frequently with Reza Gassemi and Kayhan Kalhor. At the same time, he studied composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay. In 1998, he co-founded Constantinople with the idea of developing an ensemble for musical creation that draws from the heritage of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, of Europe, and of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Serving as its artistic director, Kiya has developed close to 40 programs with his ensemble, which continues to be met with unparalleled acclaim by audiences around the world.
He has performed on stages throughout the world and collaborated on many eclectic projects as a composer, performer and improviser. These have included regular collaborations with Radio-Canada since 1996; participation in the international MediMuses project as a member of the group researching the history and repertoire of Mediterranean music and as a contributor on several publishing and recording initiatives from 2002 to 2005; musical collaborations with the Atlas Ensemble (Holland) and, as a tutor, with the Atlas Academy, on a dual project aimed at linking contemporary music with oral traditions, since 2009.
Numerous musical groups and institutions have called upon his talents as a composer, including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the European Broadcasting Union. He has also composed music for documentary and feature films, including Jabaroot and Voices of the Unheard.
Since the summer of 2017, he is Associate Artist at the prestigious Rencontres musicales de Conques festival (formerly the Conques, la Lumière du Roman music festival), where he presented many recent creations with Constantinople.
Kiya was a member of the Conseil des arts de Montréal for seven years, serving as chair of the music decision-making committee for three years, and he is now a Board member of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. He also received a mandate from the Conseil québécois de la musique to set up a committee that will examine the role of music from around the world within the context of performance music. His desire to be involved and engaged with the musical community and Quebec society led him, in 2017, to co-found the Centre des musiciens du monde in Montreal, for which he will serve as artistic director.
His artistic projects and creations have received the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Conseil des arts de Montréal for years.