We all do 'do, re, mi', but you have to find the other notes yourself. Louis Armstrong

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Kordis Lefteris

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Pianist, composer

Pianist, composer, and Inner Circle Music recording artist Lefteris Kordis was born in Athens, Greece. Since age four, and with the support and encouragement by his parents George and Peggy, he has studied, performed, and composed music based on a spectrum of genres including Jazz, Western Classical, Modernist/Avant-Garde, Greek Folk, Byzantine chant (his grandfather was a cantor, whose brother directed a school of cantors), and Argentinean Tangos.

Lefteris serves as an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music at the prestigious Global Jazz Institute and the Ear Training Dept. He also teaches improvisation and composition privately at his home studio in Brookline.

His musical experiences include stints with McArthur Fellow Steve Lacy, NEA master Sheila Jordan, Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, Robin Eubanks, George Garzone, Dimos Dimitriadis, Joe Hunt, Takis Paterelis, Dimitri Vassilakis, as well as Greek composers Mikis Theodorakis and Dionysis Savvopoulos, Greek singers Panayotis Lalezas, Fivos Delivorias, Greek folk clarinet players Vasilis Saleas and Panayotis Haliyannis, pontian kemence players Matthaios Tsahouridis, Mihalis Kaliontzidis, Japanese shō player Ko Ishikawa, dancer Li Chiao Ping, textile design artist Sonya Clark, and numerous theater directors, actors and poets. Lefteris has premiered compositions by Yusef Lateef, John Mallia, Gene Coleman, Johannes Berauer, Greg Bullen, Ayn Inserto, and James Grant. These works involve free and structured improvisation, prepared piano, and pre-recorded and live electronics. From 1997 to 2002, Lefteris served as a pianist and transcriber/arranger for the Greek-based “Mi bemol Quintet” performing exclusively the music of Astor Piazzolla. He has also worked as a transcriber/arranger for the Dutch “Metropole Orchestra.”

Lefteris earned prestigious awards from the Fulbright, the Onassis, the Ruth Shapiro and the Gerondelis Foundations, which allowed him to move to the US to pursue a Master’s and a Doctorate degree at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, where he served as professor and course developer for ten years. Among the courses he developed and taught are “The Music of Greece: From Homer to Xenakis,” “The Post-Bebop Era: 1949-61,” and “Byzantine Music.” Extremely instrumental to his spiritual  and artistic growth were teachers/mentors Danilo Perez, Steve Lacy, Allan Chase, Frank Carlberg, Bob Brookmeyer, Ran Blake, Jerry Leake, Dimos Dimitriadis, and Charlie Banacos, When Banacos passed away in 2009, Lefteris decided to devote his doctoral dissertation to document Banacos’s pedagogy of jazz improvisation. Currently, he is researching and writing a book on Danilo Pérez’s teaching approach and philosophy through the Panama Jazz Festival, the Danilo Pérez Foundation, and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in Boston, MA.

Lefteris is performing regularly at the Rush Memorial AME Zion Church in Cambridge, MA as an organist and at the Beehive, Boston with his jazz trio featuring John Lockwood and Karen Kocharyan. He and his wife vocalist Panayota Haloulakou organize the “Café Aman Fest,” a Mediterranean Folk Music Festival that occurs bimonthly at Athan’s Bakery in Brighton, MA. He also organizes “Improv Music and Beyond,” a cross-disciplinary/cross-generational concert series at the LilyPad in Cambridge.

Lefteris has taught and/or presented lectures and masterclasses at  University of Missouri - St. Louis, UMASS Amherst, the IASJ, UMASS Boston, University of Rhode Island, Ionian University in Greece, and Walnut Hill Music School. He has organized and/or performed in benefit concerts and fundraising events, and he has provided music for people with mental disabilities and the elderly in asylums and senior homes respectively both in the US and Greece. He is the co-director -along with Dimos Dimitriadis, head of the jazz program at the Ionian University- of the "Aqua Jazz”, a program that builds bridges between folk musicians and improvisers in Greece and (soon) the East Mediterranean region. He has recorded six CD albums as a leader and has performed in major venues in Europe and North America.

"A pianist with skill, touch, musicality and a gift for making songs from songs. Plus, he can swing! Give a listen”  — Bob Brookmeyer

"A young pianist & composer who has demonstrated an exceptional creativity, in both his playing & his writing, as well as showing us all, his very strong commitment & motivation to aim for high musical goals. Talent like his is rare.”  — Steve Lacy

“Some 70 years after Dizzy Gillespie incorporated Afro Cuban rhythms into the big-band context, jazz today regularly takes its cue from global musical traditions. A prime example is the colorful, highly intelligent blend of modern jazz elements and aspects of Mediterranean folk-song found on Mediterrana”
-- Michael Harris, DownBeat Magazine (Dec 2016) 4 stars

"The version of Lennon / McCartney's "And I Love Her" is one of two exceptional jazz piano trio interpretations to appear in 2016, the other being Brad Melhdau's on his Blues and Ballads CD.” — Scott Albin (JazzTimes magazine writer, Sep 2016) 5 stars

“Your ears will quickly recognize that you are listening to a master of jazz, and of musical performance that both captivates and intrigues.."
~ Cadence Magazine, Rotcod Zzaj (rotcodzzaj.com, Aug 2016)

"A fluent player with a lovely “touch” who combines that facility with a vivid imagination, drive and originality […] Sound of Surprise indeed! “ -- Bebop Spoken Here (July 21. 2016)

Website: www.leftchordmusic.com

Last modified on Friday, 17 February 2017 17:30

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