WORKS BY: Thanos Mikroutsikos (Cassandra’s dance), George Varsamakis (Full moon seascape), Nikos Kypourgos (Nine musical images), Notis Mavroudis (Prelude), Theodore Antoniou (Nostalgy), Iakovos Kolanian (Quest), Vasiliki Legaki (Portrait, Zoe), Kostas Grigoreas (Innocent suite), George Kouroupos (The kite’s dream), Kyriakos Tzortzinakis (Prelude, Miniature, Nocturnal)
The first discographic work of guitarist George Tossikian has been released by MOTIVO company, under the title ''Guitar Music by Greek Composers''.
It is an edition of Greek works for classical guitar, most of which are recorded for the first time.
The works that have been selected cover a wide range of serious Greek music.
In the 70-minute CD are included compositions by Thanos Mikroutsikos,George Varsamakis, Nikos Kypourgos, Notis Mavroudis, Theodore Antoniou, Iakovos Kolanian, Vasiliki Legaki, Kostas Grigoreas, George Kouroupos and Kyriakos Tzortzinakis, in the order they are presented.
This selection constitutes, among other things, evidence of the thriving contemporary Greek production of works for classical guitar.
The release includes an extensive text by music critic and historian George B. Monemvassitis, while the artwork is signed by illustrator Petros Bouloubasis.
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS
As the formalistic dust that had been gathering on the guitar repertoire for years is suddenly blown away by a draught of freshness, one has to admit that here, if nothing else, the classical guitar does not open its heart to a chance interlocutor.
Argyris Zilos, Athenorama magazine
The perfection of the recording, the high standard of the interpretative approach and the fine selection from a wide range of Greek serious music make it very important and indispensable, one of the best of its kind in recent years. You will listen to practically unknown — yet splendid — works for the guitar and be transfixed by the flawless interpretation of the promising soloist.
Thomas Tamvakos, Jazz & Jazz magazine
The first record of George Tossikian, one of our most talented young musicians in the field of classical guitar, came as a surprise. The album entitled 'Guitar Music by Greek Composers' displays a fine selection of Greek works for classical guitar, most of them recorded for the first time. But it is not only the works themselves but, mainly, the powerful, noble and controlled interpretation of George Tossikian……. Tossikian’s interpretation has an exquisite sound and his first discographic appearance occurs with an album that will make its mark.
Nikos Vatopoulos, ‘Kathimerini’ newspaper
With his first record entitled 'Guitar Music by Greek Composers', George Tossikian proves that he is justly considered one of our most remarkable young guitarists. Listening to this record not only makes us acquainted with some important Greek guitar composers but is also a really enjoyable experience. The diversity of style and technique of the works is brought out with true expression, rare sensitivity and high aesthetic.
Liana Malandrenioti, ''Diphono'' magazine
The selection of works is representative of our time, the sound, the aesthetic approach without academic obsessions… Music beautifully played by a gifted guitarist of the younger generation.
Effie Agrafioti, ''Tar'' magazine
George Tossikian, a fine guitarist of the younger generation - equipped with all that is necessary to allow himself to claim the title of accomplished artist – made the right move: he got the right people to create, gathered previously unexploited material and, successfully completing a recording of exquisite quality, appeared on the scene with a proposal and a clear identity...’GEORGE TOSSIKIAN PLAYS GREEK COMPOSERS’... I encourage you to buy the cd! If you love the guitar and Greek music you’ll have nothing to lose.
Kostas Grigoreas,''Tar'' magazine
George Tossikian was born in Piraeus in 1981. He studied guitar under Iakovos Kolanian (Contemporary Conservatory of Athens), graduating in 2004 with a unanimous First Class Diploma. At the same time, he attended seminars by eminent guitarists Manuel Barrueco, Roland Dyens, Oscar Ghiglia, Evangelos Αssimakopoulos and Liza Zoe.
He distinguished himself in Greek competitions (Hermoupolis Guitar Festival, Patras Guitar Festival), winning first prizes and an honorary award from the Guitar Friends Association ‘Dimitris Fampas’.
Since 2005 he has given recitals in Athens and other Greek cities. He has participated in such festivals as Patras Guitar Festival, Symi festival, The Young for the Young, European Music Day. In 2008, during the cultural events of the Athens Cervantes Institute, he collaborated with award-winning Spanish poet Αntonio Gamoneda, and a year later he gave his first recitals in London as a participant in the 2009 Ekon Festival. In 2012 he took part in the International Renaissance Music Festival in Armenia where he was awarded the First Prize.
In recent years, he has been a permanent collaborator and member of the orchestra of composer George Varsamakis. Since 2011 George Tossikian has been appearing as part of a duet with the noted guitarist and composer Notis Mavroudis.
In 2010 his first discographic work has been released by MOTIVO company, under the title ''Guitar Music by Greek Composers''.
He teaches classical guitar at the Contemporary Music Education conservatory.
ABOUT THE ALBUM
In the second half of the 20th century, musical life in Greece was characterized by an unexpected as well as impressive popularity of the classical guitar. Under three important pioneers, guitarists and teachers Charalambos Ekmektsoglou (1913-1990), Gerasimos Miliaressis (1918-2005) and Dimitris Fampas (1921-1996), the guitar evolved from the modest accompanying instrument that it had been in our country until then into one equal in rank to the other classical instruments in the concert hall. Thanks to their twofold contribution as performers and as teachers who created famous schools, the guitar was second only to the piano in terms of popularity in schools of music. It is a curious fact, however, that during most of that glorious period, both guitar and guitarists in this country were in a state of illegality!
It was not until as late as 1987 that academic guitar studies were granted recognition by the Greek state, though the mighty structure of the art of the guitar had been in existence for some time. Both teachers and pupils carried the message of a highly competitive school all over the world with their recitals, their awards at international contests, their recordings made not only by Greek but also by multi national record companies, and with the favorable comments of internationally acclaimed guitarists. No wonder that this admirable flowering of the guitar attracted the creative interest of Greek composers. Impressed and inspired by the gifts and achievements of their compatriots, many of them wrote works for the guitar, thus enriching its relatively small repertoire.
Besides the composers, many guitarists tried to add to their repertoire by composing themselves. The result of all this was a vigorous repertoire of Greek music for classical guitar offering a wide range to every promising or established guitarist.
It is from this repertoire that George Tossikian, a young aspiring guitarist of proven worth, has chosen the pieces for his first discographic work. What we have here is a purely Greek selection of compositions for classical guitar. An original thought and a brave decision. And as we know, fortune usually smiles on the brave. The works that have been selected come from a broad spectrum of serious Greek music. And the composers, all present in our musical life, except the late Kyriakos Tzortzinakis, each one in his own way of course, extend over a long time span and a wide geographical area: from the oldest among them, veteran Theodore Antoniou (b. 1935), with his invaluable contribution, to the youngest, Vassiliki Legaki (b. 1976), who has been practicing composition away from home for some years now.
George B. Monemvassitis, music critic, historian