Costas Cacoyannis: Born  for Music

Culture, People

The BBC described him as the orchestra man, not coincidentally. His compositions have graced dozens of theatre performances, films and television productions in a career overflowing with musical notes and passion.

Text: Romina Xyda

Photos: Panagiotis Mina

At the age of five, Costas met his first love – music. The moment was the arrival of a piano for his older sister in their home. Day and night, he tried to play songs he heard on his dad’s radio by ear and made up new tunes. Young as he was, he convinced his mother to enrol him in the conservatory. Every new instrument he heard, he wanted to play. Before the age of eight, he took up the violin. At nine, it was the guitar, followed by the cello and the flute by age twelve. Over the years, his child-like compositions began to mature. At fifteen, the well-known choirs in his hometown of Limassol performed his arrangements. At nineteen, he performed his first electronic music concert. After completing his military service and studies in Electrical Engineering, Costas left for America on a Fulbright scholarship; “I had the opportunity to study alongside important artists such as Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Christopher Rouse and to teach at the University of Rochester. At the same time, I was also conducting the vocal ensemble of ‘Diastasis’ Cultural Association, so trips back to Cyprus and Europe were frequent, as were collaborations with artists such as George Dalaras, Nana Mouskouri, Georges Moustaki, and Johnny Logan,” he recalls. Despite his success, he chose to live in a small village in the mountains of Lemithou, leaving the cities behind; “All my inspiration comes from nature. The noise of the city tires me out. Together with poet Pambos Kouzalis, we founded the non-profit organisation ‘Parakentro’ which has published dozens of books, CDs, and DVDs pro bono over the last twenty years. The profits always return to the artists. However, now that CDs and DVDs are obsolete, we have begun promoting young performers through the ‘Hartaeti’ series of videos. In the last two years, over thirty talented youngsters have featured in dozens of videos I directed and recorded myself, many getting millions of views on social media.”

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