One of the most acclaimed and influential artists to ever emerge from Greece is being celebrated in this year’s edition of the Melbourne Festival, which features acclaimed pianist Peter de Jager playing the music of Iannis Xenakis.
A virtuoso pianist and harpsichord player, de Jager has been making a name for himself, exploring the work of groundbreaking composers like Charles Ives or Charles-Valentin Alkan, earning the praise of legendary conductor Pierre Boulez, who worked with him. His Melbourne Festival performance is a pathway to the miraculous world of Iannis Xenakis, one of the pioneers of ‘new music’.
Composer, architect, engineer and polymath, Xenakis is hailed as a true ‘genius’ of the 20th century. Born in Romania and raised in Athens, he studied Architecture in the Athens National Technical University, as well as music, but his studies were interrupted by the World War II and the Nazi occupation. Joining the Resistance under the National Liberation Front (EAM), he also took part in the subsequent Civil War, during which he was severely injured, losing an eye and having his face deformed. He fled Athens to Paris, where he continued his studies despite being an illegal immigrant. He is one of the pioneers of the use of mathematical models in music, and is now considered one of the key composers who influenced the development of electronic and computer music. He integrated music with architecture, designing music for pre-existing spaces, and designed spaces to be integrated with specific music compositions and performances.
In his performance at the Melbourne Recital Centre, taking place on Tuesday 17 October, Peter de Jager will perform his works ‘Evryali’, ‘Khoai’, ‘Mists’, ‘Naama’, ‘Herma’.