25.11.2021 | Artist

Eleni Karaindrou at 80

Greek composer and pianist Eleni Karaindrou turns 80 today. Long a vital presence at ECM, her first album for the label, Music for Films, included her themes for Theo Angelopoulos’ Landscape In The Mist, The Beekeeper, and Voyage to Cythera. She was to have a thirty year collaboration with Angelopoulos, who greatly valued the way in which her music provided an intuitive counterpoint to the emotional tone of his films, to the unfolding of the drama, and the slow, searching movement of the camera.

On albums such as The Suspended Step of the Stork, Ulysses’ Gaze, Eternity and a Day, Dust of Time and The Weeping Meadow, Manfred Eicher’s production underlined the ways in which Eleni’s music for Angelopoulos could also stand alone, as an evocative story telling force in its own right. Karaindrou’s unique feeling for sound-colour, frequently bringing traditional Greek instruments into chamber ensemble settings, also informs her music for theatre, as documented on Trojan Women and Medea – based upon Antonis Antypas’ stagings of Euripides – or the contemporary Tous des oiseaux, a play by Wajdi Mouawad which casts light upon some of the challenges of multi-culturalism.

Eleni’s music has helped to bring Greek soloists to wider international attention, among them Sokratis Sinopoulos, with his modern, improvisational approach to the ancient lyra, and Vangelis Christopoulos whose lyrical oboe has lent poignancy to many tales of exile and uprooting. Remarkable Greek singers, too, from Maria Farantouri to Savina Yannatou, have given voice to Karaindrou’s inspirations. And there have been special and ongoing associations with Jan Garbarek and with Kim Kashkashian, instrumental protagonists of The Beekeeper and Ulysses’ Gaze respectively and featured soloists on Concert In Athens, recorded live at the Megaron.
The ECM recordings of Eleni Karaindrou continue to be sought out by filmmakers and her themes have made reappearances in contexts from arthouse movies to documentaries and action films. After her “Lament” theme from Trojan Women was incorporated in Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time, the director invited Eleni to score his current film-in-progress The Way of the Wind. The work goes on.

Eleni Karaindrou has been the recipient of many awards including, just last month, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the World Soundtrack Academy, presented at the Ghent Film Festival.

This week, 80th birthday salutes are appearing in the international press. In Berlin newspaper Die Tagezeitung Andreas Schäfler writes:
“Eleni Karaindrou’s terrain of themes and variations remains inexhaustible, as does her urge for pure timbres. With her you can physically understand how a bassoon, an oboe, or a zither sounds, how the bow makes a lyra or cello string vibrate. And the piano playing of this great composer still seems so innocent, as if a child would tentatively strike single keys and then be amazed that they could pull an entire symphony orchestra behind them with three fingers of the right hand.”

Many happy returns, Eleni!

Current Concerts
& Events

Dominic Miller is playing almost 50 concerts across the globe in the cominig months

John Scofield and his trio are performing in the US and Asia in April and June. Throughout the year, more solo and quartet concerts are scheduled.

Fred Hersch is touring in support of his piano solo album 'Silent, Listening'