Five Movements for solo piano (2017) was composed in extremely complicated and -from todays perspective- funny conditions. While I was a music teacher in Greek primary school (an invaluable experience that I got for almost a decade), and in a quite stresfull period of my life I chllenged myself to try and compose a piece for piano where all material will be generated between the breaks of the lessons! This task required a lot of concentration and very rapid thinking but I was feeling very excited to urge myself to try to speak musically in this very limited time-span. At that time, my son Iason Maronidis was in love with the music of George Gershwin. I am always in love with the music of Pierre Boulez. To some extend I feel this piece is a comporessed convolution between those two so different but also -at the same time- so great composers. As I usually say/ask: Isn’t a composer supposed to be a filter of (his/her) reality?

Dedicated to my son Iason Maronidis, for being a startling light of hope.

Jana Luksts, piano
Mariano Wainsztein, director
Daniel Baruch, sound
George Katehis, editing, production

Happy Birthday Variations is a birthday gift for my wife’s, Gundega Smite, 40th birthday! I went through many ideas about making an orchestral piece, make 40 variations on the traditional theme etc but eventually, while I was thinking about the passing of time I recalled a poem I love by Konstantinos Kavafis:

Days to come stand in front of us
like a row of lighted candles—
golden, warm, and vivid candles.

Days gone by fall behind us,
a gloomy line of snuffed-out candles;
the nearest are smoking still,
cold, melted, and bent.

I don’t want to look at them: their shape saddens me,
and it saddens me to remember their original light.
I look ahead at my lighted candles.

Candles, Konstantinos Kavafis

This image of a single line of candles representing our lifes has always haunted me. I decided that it would be a more interesting challenge to compose an one-line piece for the “most” polyphonic instrument, piano. The difficulty was, I wanted to make a birthday gift but my idea was relying on a very depressive truth. I tried to find a balance between those two poles. Black humour and optimism.

Prob_My Berio was composed in 2002 and got its premiere 17 years later by the flutist Andreas Papakostas-Smyris! In fact this piece was a part of an assignment for a course I was undertaking at that time at the Music Department of AUTh. The whole idea was to analyse the Sequenza fro solo flute of Luciano Berio and then re-synthesize a brand new piece. For this taks, Markovian Chains of first order were implemented in Max/MSP and all musical parameters (except rhythm) were analysed. After a few experiments, the data for synthesising the new piece were ready and the piece got its final shape. As a composer I had a very unique experience by this extremely long waiting time between composing a piece and getting it into life. Such a scenario is unavoidably arising questions about the nature of contemporary music and the very whole idea of existence of a piece (or not). In any case, it was a great proof that, apart from anything else, composition is -possibly- the best way of making one’s own phycho-graph, a very valuable sort of inscription of the mental and psychological state we have been, and a source of self-understanding. So many thanks to Andreas who brought -unexpectedly- the piece into life!