He was born at Vaghia (Kaznesi), a village near Thebes.
He has studied political sciences at Pantion University, voice and intonation under Popi Petrioli-Photopoulou, Byzantine music under instructor and master cantor of the Athens Cathedral Spyros Peristeris; he has chanted under the direction of the latter from 1983 to 1993 as a regular member of the Athens Cathedral choir. He has been studying Western music on his own.
Since 1992 he has been working with Markos Dragoumis at the Melpo Merlier Music Folklore Archive of the Centre of Asia-Minor Studies, on subjects related to Greek Demotic and Byzantine music.
Regordings as a singer: During the years 1984-1989 he worked with Mikis Theodorakis, taking part in concerts in Greece and abroad, as well as in the composer’s recordings: Dionysus (solo album, music and lyrics by Mikis Theodorakis, first production of Sirius by Manos Hadjidakis, Sirius-EMI 1985; re-issued in CD form, Minos-EMI 1995 & 2007); Mikis Theodorakis all time greatest hits –77 songs performed in his world tour 1986-87 (CBS 1986); Faces of the sun (on poetry by Dionyssis Karatzás, Ioulianos-CBS 1987); Memory of stone (lyrics by Michalis Bourboulis, Ioulianos-CBS 1987); 30 Years of Mikis Theodorakis (WEA 1989
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Βιογραφικό στα Ελληνικά ΕΔΩ
Dimitris Kotronakis was born in Heraklion, Creta (Greece), in 1973. His studies on classical guitar begun when he was at the age of seven, and were completed under guidance of Vassilis Kanaras in 1992, when he graduated from the “International Conservatory of Athens”, obtaining his guitar diploma.
He attended post-graduate studies on classical guitar at the “Athens Conservatory”, graduating again in 1996, under supervision of Costas Cotsiolis.
Meanwhile, he further expanded his theoretical musical knowledge (obtaining diploma in Fuge, under tutoring of Giorgos Sioras) and attended Musicology classes (obtaining diploma from the Musicology branch of the University of Athens, in 1996).
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Βιογραφικό στα Ελληνικά ΕΔΩ
The main body of all three movements of this concerto for guitar and string orchestra was written in 2000 in Amsterdam (whence the title), during a concert tour I held in Belgium and the Netherlands as a singer. The composition was completed in Athens in 2001.
The initial intention -kept intact as shown upon completion of the piece- was to compose a bacchanal work, based on the "limp" rhythmic subdivisions of traditional Balkan music at large (5/8, 7/8, 8/8, 11/8 etc.), interspersed with contrasting lyrical coloristic passages. This consideration led to the use of the guitar akin to a melodic percussion instrument.
The nearly minimalistic melodic motif of the first movement (allegro ma non troppo) gets "squeezed" in between recurring rhythmic interpositions of "limp" rhythms, until it gets completed after successive transpositions.
The second movement (andante), immersed in tones of lyricism and melancholy, is dedicated to the grand master of the genre, Joaquin Rodrigo, in the sense that the two wiggling melodic phrases are almost covered up by the three little notes from the second movement (allegro gentile) of the Concierto de Aranjuez.
Following a brief romantic transfigured exposure, nearly the entire duration of the third movement (allegro maestoso) is dominated by the rhythm of 8/8 (4/4, 3+3+2). Persistence in the particular minimalistic melodic phrase pervading all but the entire movement, in association with the 8/8 and with the orchestra's contre-temps, drives the sound mass to an bacchanal culmination. [ThanassisMoraitis]
At first glance, the writing of the Amsterdam Concerto is not considered particularly "guitaristic"; the dense texture of the polyphony and the apparent complexity, place it on the top edge of the guitar technique, making it almost impossible to be performed. A more cautious approach, however, should be enough to convince us for its ultimate compatibility with the guitar idiom.
The comprehension of the character of the instrument is perfect; the composition exploits a large part of the palette of its technical capabilities. Further more, it enriches the traditional range of techniques, with particularly interesting new features.
Not limiting himself to basic techniques such as linear arpeggios and scales, the composer uses and enlarges these techniques into a new form, which sometimes reminds us of Villa Lobos or Leo Brower, (yet without imitating any of them). This is because Moraitis is not concerned about the convenience of the performer, but aims at serving and promoting the music.
Simultaneously, one of the major advantages of his music is the use of the polyphonic capabilities of the guitar. Unlike many well-known concertos where the soloist's part could be performed by monophonic instruments, here, extensive two and three voices parts are scattered all over the concerto.
The guitar becomes a protagonist of the musical material; it neither accompanies nor participates as another member of the orchestra; it definitely leads the development of the music. Breathless, from first to last measure, there are phrases that could stand out even without the orchestra, as a standalone piece of music for solo guitar. With three cadenzas at the beginning of all three movements and at least three other smaller ones, the composer highlights the virtuosic and timbral possibilities of this instrument.
This is a new and extremely exciting work, a real challenge for any soloist who dares to carry out the difficult and demanding passages. It is clearly one of the very few Greek concertos that are worth of worldwide fame and a place in the pantheon of music masterpieces of the late 20th century. [Dimitris Kotronakis]
Thanassis Moraitis Amsterdam Concerto - Part I
Thanassis Moraitis Amsterdam Concerto - Part II
Thanassis Moraitis Amsterdam Concerto - Part III
Thanassis Moraitis-Greek lullaby [Track list]
Thanassis Moraitis / Tre papor / Arvanitic song from Greece [Track list]