[MGSA-L] The Music, Dance and Drama of the Ionian islands, 18-24 Sept. 2011, Corfu

Roland Moore rolandmo at pacbell.net
Sun Apr 3 13:57:34 PDT 2011

From: Anthony Hirst <anthony.hirst at btinternet.com>












Music, Dance and Drama of the Ionian Islands



This is an
innovative and experimental event, combining elements of an academic conference
with practical workshops in sacred and secular song, dance, drama, and verse


This event is
organized by Dr Anthony Hirst, the
new Academic Director of the Durrell School of Corfu, and Dr Kostas Kardamis of the Music Department of the Ionian
University, in conjunction with Alexina
and David Ashcroft, the Administrative and Technical Directors,
respectively, of the Durrell School. This is the second in the new series of
Ionian Islands events organized by the Durrell School, following the seminar in
May 2010 on The History and Culture of
the Ionian Islands, the proceedings of which are now being edited for


The week will
begin with a Welcome Reception in the Library of the Durrell School in the
early evening of Sunday 18 September, and end with a public performance of the
results of the five workshops in the evening of Saturday 24 September. The
programme on the five weekdays in between will involve academic sessions in the
mornings followed by a long lunch and siesta period before the workshops start
in the early evening. On one or two days the morning sessions may be shorter to
allow for excursions. 


The workshop
sessions will be practical classes in which you can learn new skills, or
exercise skills that you already have on new material. The workshop sessions
will also function as rehearsals, leading to the performance at the end of the
week. Final rehearsals, if needed, will be scheduled for the day time on the
Saturday. Each learning/rehearsal session will last two to three hours. Each
participant will be able to take part in only one series of workshop, and will
be asked on the application form to rank at least three workshops in order of
preference. The scope of each of the five workshops is described below,
following the Call for Papers. The dance and music workshops will concentrate
on those styles of singing and dancing which are peculiar to the Ionian
Islands, and which distinguish Ionian culture from that of the rest of Greece;
the drama and verse performance workshops will use texts by Ionian authors.


The public
performance on Saturday will — weather permitting — take place in an open-air
venue (though we will have an inside venue lined up as a fall-back), and the
public will be invited to attend, free of charge.

We also hope to
take advantage of performances that happen to be taking place in Corfu during
the evenings of the week in question; and some performances may be arranged
specifically to coincide with this Durrell School event. 


Call for papers

Proposals are invited
for presentations, in English, on any aspect of the history and practice of
music, dance or drama in the Ionian Islands — and of course including that
combination of music and drama — opera — which has played an important part in
the culture of the islands. 

Proposals, of
no more than 600 words, should indicate not only the themes to be covered but
also the audio-visual materials to be used to illustrate the themes. The
delivery of the scripted part of the paper should not take more than 30
minutes, but the overall time may be extended by the length of any recorded
audio or audio-visual material to be presented, up to a maximum of one hour.
Each presentation will be followed by ample time for discussion. The proposal
should include an estimate of the total length of audio-visual recordings.
Proposals should be accompanied by a CV or brief biographical statement.

Proposals and
CVs/biographies should be sent as email attachments in Word or pdf format to anthony.hirst at btinternet.com,
to arrive not later than 15 June 2011. 

Those whose
proposals are accepted for presentation will be able to take part in all the
activities of the week, including participating in one of the workshops,
without payment of the Registration fee. 


The five

1. Sacred Song:

Orthodox Liturgical Music of the Ionian Islands (‘Cretan Chant’)

In this workshop you will learn
to sing representative samples of the traditional polyphonic sacred chant of
the Ionian Islands. This music is often called ‘Cretan Chant’, because of its
derivation from the style of chanting used in the Orthodox churches of Crete.
When Crete passed from Venetian to Ottoman rule in 1669, Cretan Chant was
brought to the Ionian Islands, where it was developed and enriched, and is
still in use today. Although based on the Byzantine octoechos (‘eight-mode’ system), Cretan Chant has much in common
with the traditional polyphony of certain non-Orthodox Mediterranean regions,
such as the island of Corsica. This workshop provides a unique opportunity to
make contact with a somewhat obscure aspect of the Greek Church.

This workshop
will be directed by Dr. Stathis Makris,
Associate Professor in the Music Department of the Ionian University. He
specializes in the sacred tradition of the Ionian Islands and the traditional
folk-music of Greece.

Minimum number of participants: 4 (2 Tenors
and 2 Baritones or Basses). While Orthodox Chant is normally performed only by
male voices it should be possible to include some female voices particularly

Maximum number of participants: No upper

Requirements: a basic knowledge of musical notation
and solfeggio (Tonic sol-fa), and
some experience of choral singing



2. Secular

The urban choral tradition of the Ionian Islands

Through the creative
amalgamation in the Ionian Islands of local polyphonic traditions with the
practices of ‘learned music’ there emerged during 19th century a fascinating
choral repertoire, usually known as kantades.
In this workshop you will have the opportunity to learn to sing some of the
most popular of these choral songs. 

This workshop
will be directed by Fotis Argiros, a
music educator and experienced conductor of choirs.

Minimum number of participants: 4 (2 Tenors
and 2 Baritones or Basses), other male voices and all female voices are also

Maximum number of participants: No upper

Requirements: a basic knowledge of musical notation
and solfeggio (Tonic sol-fa), and
some experience of choral singing


3. Dance

While many traditional dances
familiar in other parts of Greece are also found in the Ionian Islands, there
are also distinctively Ionian dances which, like Ionian music, show Italian
influence from the long period of Venetian occupation. In this workshop you
will learn a small group of these Ionian dances.

The director of
this workshop has not yet been appointed but we expect to engage an experienced
dance instructor from one of the dance academies in Corfu town which specialize
in traditional dance.

Minimum number of participants: 8

Maximum number of participants: No upper

Requirements: An interest in dancing (extensive
experience not essential), a good sense of rhythm, and stamina. 



In this workshop you will learn,
rehearse and perform an excerpt or excerpts from an 18th-century play by Petros
Katsaïtis (c.1662–1742) who lived in Kephalonia. This play is based ultimately
on Euripides’ tragedy Iphigeneia in Aulis,
but the theme came to Katsaïtis through a 16th-century Italian intermediary.
Katsaïtis’ play Iphigeneia has been
successfully revised and modernised for performance by Spiros Evangelatos (also
from Kephalonia), as Iphigeneia [in Lixouri] — Lixouri
being one of the principal towns in Kephalonia. It is the modern version by
Evangelatos (first performed in 1979, and published in 1995) that we shall be
using. This entertaining and amusing play blends Greek tragedy with elements of
the Italian Commedia dell’Arte. It is striking in its comic use of the
Heptanesian (Ionian Islands) dialect, and — depending on the languages of the
participants — it may be performed partly in Greek and partly in English.
Participants will be provided in advance with the Greek text and English
translations of the excerpts selected.

This workshop
will be directed by Dr Konstantinos
Poulis, a playwright, theatre director, actor, translator and academic, who
has studied at the Panteion University in Athens, and also in England at the
universities of Nottingham and Cambridge. He has translated Oscar Wilde’s first
play, Vera, or the Nihilist, into
Greek. He played the role of Agamemnon in a production of Iphigeneia [in Lixouri] by the Panteion University Theatre Group.

Minimum number of participants: 4 

Maximum number of participants: No upper

Requirements:  A real eagerness to try acting
is sufficient; previous experience is not essential. 


Verse performance

While this is perhaps the most
unusual of the five workshops, it is a form which has twice before been part of
a Durrell School seminar. In May 2010, at the seminar on the History and Culture of the Ionian Islands, the second and most
complex draft of Solomos’ unfinished masterpiece, The Free Besieged, was performed in the Greek and Italian of the
original as well as in English translation, to musical accompaniment. This new
workshop will range more widely, taking in the work of many poets who were born
or who lived in the Ionian Islands, or whose work relates to the Ionian
Islands, from the sixteenth century to the present day. Ionian poets will
include Markaros, Pieris, Solomos, Sikelianos, Valaoritis and Eparchos;
non-Ionian authors will include Edward Lear, Oscar Wilde and C. P. Cavafy.
Texts will be performed in the original languages and in translation. The range
of languages of translation will depend on the linguistic range of the
participants. There will be opportunities for participants to suggest poems for
inclusion and to provide translations in their own languages.

This workshop
will be directed by Seán McCrum, an
independent curator of innovative and often multi-media exhibitions, and Patrick Sammon, a linguist, translator
and editor. Both are partners in the Durrell School of Corfu, and they have
collaborated in directing many verse performance workshops, including those at
the Durrell School.

Minimum number of participants: 6 

Maximum number of participants: No upper

Requirements:  A voice, and a willingness to
speak loudly and clearly in front of an audience.


Application and

You should have
received an Application Form with this announcement. If not, please write to anthony.hirst at btinternet.com
to request one. The completed application form should be emailed to the same
address, or posted to Dr Anthony Hirst, 68 Palatine Road, London N16 8ST, to
arrive not later than 1st July 2011, to allow us time for the preparation and
circulation of advance materials for the workshops. Late applications may be
considered, depending on the number already received. 

For those
attending the event but not presenting a paper, the registration fee is 325
euros. A deposit of 75 euros will be requested on acceptance of your
application, with the balance of 250 euros payable during the event.

Those whose
papers are accepted for presentation at the morning sessions will  not be
asked to pay the Registration Fee. They will only be asked for small
contributions towards food and travel costs on excursions they take part in. 



A small number
of bursaries will probably be available to assist students from Balkan
countries to attend. Bursaries will cover the Registration Fee and provide a
contribution towards travel and accommodation costs. If you think you may be
eligible, please write to  anthony.hirst at btinternet.com
for information. 


in Corfu

The website of
the Durrell School of Corfu (http://www.durrell-school-corfu.org)
has information about hotels. On the Home page click on “Forms & Links”
(top right), and on the next page select “Accommodatios Bookings here”
(on the left above the Lion of St Mark). For further advice you can contact
Alexina Ashcroft, Administrative Director of the Durrell School at durrell.school at gmail.com.


Travelling to

September there are regular charter flights to Corfu from many European
countries. For those coming from the UK there are scheduled flights with
Easyjet: every day from London Gatwick, three times per week from Manchester
and twice per week from Bristol. For those wanting a more leisurely journey,
there are regular ferries from Italian ports (Venice, Ancona, Bari, Brindisi)
or from  Greek ports (Igoumenitsa and Patras).  

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