Gregory Emfietzis

Gregory Emfietzis

In the dark, a pianist begins to play. She continues, as though nothing is out of the ordinary, until unexpectedly a small table lamp lights up and she stops, apparently under its spell. The light goes off, and she starts to play again. This dialogue music/dark; silence/light continues with increasing agitation until finally the pianist takes control of the music and switches the lamp off for good.

(Tim Rutherford-Jones on DIY 1: the pianist and the lamp)

The music of Gregory Emfietzis is driven by a desire to increase the communicative potential of new music without resorting to easy aesthetic compromises. In its exploration of the drama, psychology and ritualism of public performance it reaches far beyond sound alone to embrace staging, lighting, dramaturgy, costume design and more.

Some works, such as the miniature opera Mirror, mirror on the wall: the crucial moment, seem written as much for actors as musicians. Others, such as How to... corrupt someone, tend towards a more instrumental or sonic theatre. In one of his latest projects, Music Impossible, a magnified shadow theatre piece funded by the London Symphony Orchestras Soundhub scheme and Arts Council (England), a fairytale story is narrated by musicians themselves as acoustic and visual puppets.

Emfietzis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. He played the violin and sang, performing in many international festivals, concerts and operas, before and while taking a degree in Music Science and Art at the University of Macedonia. He moved to the UK in 2004, to study composition with Christopher Fox at Huddersfield University (MA) and with Fox, Richard Barrett and Jennifer Walshe at Brunel University (PhD).

His music has been performed by leading ensembles across Europe and North America. Recent performances include, the quintet Fear (not) premiered by members of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras at the Wiener Konzerthaus, the opera The Darkness of Mistico staged at the Greek National Opera House (Athens), the solo cello The Dark Art of Obscurantism -a commission by the London Sinfonietta- performed by Olly Coates during LSs New Music Show 4 festival, and Sisyphus Victimised for conducted ensemble and video, premiered by musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra. Other groups he has worked with include Apartment House (UK), Asamisimasa (Norway), Greek Contemporary Music Ensemble (Greece), London Contemporary Orchestra (UK), Orkest de Ereprijs (Netherlands) and the Quasars Ensemble (Slovakia).

In addition to the above, Emfietzis is Composer in Residence at the Youth Music Centre (London), Artistic Director of the Metapraxis Ensemble and, with Nicholas Peters, a co-founder of Underscore Duo.

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Gregory Emfietzis
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