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Sani Festival 2016

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Sani Festival 2016 from July 8 to August 13. Just before Sani Festival 2016 begins, the artistic director of the festival, Olga Tabouris-Babalis, describes the event and presents this year's programme. Jazz on the Hill this year will be dedicated to virtuoso pianists: Michael Wollny, Yaron Herman and Hiromi.

"In balance with the previous festivals, the artistic scheduling of Sani Festival 2016 continues to focus on jazz, classical music and Greek 'entechni' (artistic) music, which have stamped a specific mark upon the institution.

However, at this year's 24th edition of Sani Festival, we are seeking to expand the artistic limits between searching and reconnecting.

In this context, in our quest for British 'diamonds' hailing from different musical backgrounds, we will be hosting the one and only appearance by the precocious and internationally acclaimed British composer, soul singer and actress Joss Stone on 29 July. With pristine vocal expression, Stone emotionally bridges soul, blues and reggae music.

Friends of classical music will have the opportunity to enjoy a live performance by the world-renowned British virtuoso violinist Daniel Hope on 13 August, who will narrate to us the story of the violin and its breakthrough during the Baroque period, a story based on his award-winning work for the renowned Deutsche Grammophon label. He will be accompanied by the AIR ensemble, consisting of exceptional Baroque music soloists, including Simos Papanas, the award-winning Thessaloniki musician with an international career as a baroque violin soloist, and concertmaster of Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra.

This year's 'Jazz on the Hill' section will focus on virtuoso pianists. The 24th Festival’s curtain raiser will feature a highly promising pianist, a true revelation from Germany, who has stirred international interest and has won the respect of critics and audiences alike: Michael Wollny will appear for one night only in Greece on 8 July and will introduce us to his trio through his night-time musical wanderings.

This year, we will reconnect with the charismatic pianist Yaron Herman, whom we had first presented in Greece during Sani Festival 2009 as a rising star, whose talent and passion for jazz piano swiftly highlighted him as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. Yaron Herman will return to Sani Festival on 9 July as the artistic director of the Montreux Jazz Academy.

The tribute to jazz pianists will end on 23 July with the spotlight falling on the Japanese multi-faceted musical personality of Hiromi, one of the most profound and creative figures of 21st-century music. With her growth propelled by her continuously expanding talents as pianist, composer and bandleader, she has discovered and is advocating her own musical genre, which is characterised by sensitivity, energy and staggering virtuosity. During her live performances, she is accompanied by acclaimed musicians, such as the legendary drummer Simon Phillips and the exceptional double bassist Anthony Jackson, making musical history in the process.

The section focusing on Greek entechni music, titled Greek Variations, will feature the one-of-a-kind Dionyssis Savvopoulos, accompanied by the great, undimmed voice of Greek popular song, Eleni Vitali, for a single concert on 20th of August. A 'theatre' of songs, with the seal of our beloved songwriter, written as only he knows how, entertaining us through a historically important musical collaboration.

 This musical rainbow featuring the colours of Greece could not be complete without Alkistis Protopsalti, one of the most beloved Greek performers, renowned for her 'Doric' and tender voice, her singular expression and her unique stage presence that rouses audiences throughout the globe. We will have the opportunity to enjoy her on 5 August during a programme that will include poetry by Nobel prize-winner Odysseas Elytis set to music, modern Greek compositions and her finest songs with added rock touches, songs that fill the soul"


The imaginative and fluently skilful German pianist Michael Wollny was born in 1978 in Schweinfurt. His trademark: the unpredictable, the quest for the never-before-heard, the courage to devote himself to the moment, to make the unforeseen sound self-evident. His desire to keep reinventing himself, both in terms of sound and composition; that is what makes him a “consummate piano maestro” (FAZ) and “the biggest (jazz) musician personality that Germany has produced since Albert Mangelsdorff” (Hamburger Abendblatt). In 2005 he signed a contract with the label ACT Music + Vision on which he released several albums with his trio.

Yaron Herman, Israeli jazz pianist from France, began his recording career at a young age and was roundly acclaimed. Some even referred to him as the Keith Jarrett of his generation. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 12, 1981, he began learning piano relatively late in life as a teenager and, after only a few years of study, moved to Boston, MA, to attend the Berklee College of Music at age 19. He didn't stay long at Berklee, however, and instead moved to Paris, France, where he began his recording career at age 21. Herman's full-length album debut, Takes 2 to Know 1 (2004), was a collaborative effort with drummer Sylvain Ghio released on the label Sketch. He subsequently made his solo album debut with Variations (2006) on Laborie Records. Also in 2006 he performed on the Raphaël Imbert-led Newtopia Project album Suite Elegiaque released on the classical label Zig-Zag Territoires. In 2007 Herman hit the French albums chart with A Time for Everything, the debut recording of the Yaron Herman Trio, comprised also of bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Gerald Cleaver. Released on Laborie Records, the album features original material as well as interpretations of contemporary pop hits by Björk ("Army of Me") and Britney Spears ("Toxic"), plus older yet similarly well-known songs by the Police ("Message in a Bottle") and Leonard Cohen ("Hallelujah").

Japan has produced an impressive assemblage of jazz pianists, from Toshiko Akiyoshi and Makoto Ozone to Junko Onishi. And now, well into the change of the 21st century, the pianist/composer Hiromi Uehara is the latest in that line of amazing musicians. Ever since the 2003 release of her debut Telarc CD, Another Mind, Hiromi has electrified audiences and critics east and west, with a creative energy that encompasses and eclipses the boundaries of jazz, classical and pop parameters, taking improvisation and composition to new heights of complexity and sophistication. Her new CD, Spark, her tenth as a leader, features her critically acclaimed Trio Project, consisting of contrabass guitarist Anthony Jackson (Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Michel Camilo, The O’Jays and Chick Corea) and drummer Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, David Gilmour and Jack Bruce).

Last modified on Thursday, 23 June 2016 17:31