The beautiful sounds of the ancient Greek lyre yesterday evening resounded in the cathedral church St Sophia with the trio LEΣ LYRISTEΣ at Ohrid Summer Festival.
The stars of the evening were Sofia Karakuta, vocal and triginome, Roza Fragorapti, lyra and Nikos Xantulis on lyre barbiton.
As the artist Xantulis stated, the beautiful sound of the lyre which enchanted antic philosophers has been revived through the music of this trio in combination with the basic human instrument – voice, and thus the lyre seeks for its place at music scenes in the today’s modern time.
– At the Festival we played a range of pieces from 500 B.C., up for modern times. I think that we all here, on the Balkan, share the same culture and complicated rhythms. Old Greek lyre is a national instrument for about 1200 years, but no one could play so far. I researched the instrument and all possible ways to play it. Roza, who plays in the trio, has the first diploma for lyre. Sofia studied in America but is very well acquainted with the real Greek culture, which does not belong to Greece only, but to the whole world, said Xantulis.
The basic element in forming the trio LEΣ LYRISTEΣ is the antic Greek lyre with seven strings, which is symbol of music in the West-European tradition.
Since its inception in 2020, the trio has been presented in numerous and varied performances both in Greece and abroad: in festivals, workshops, conferences, educational programs, university projects and recordings for the radio. Their first album with Sappho’s poetry set to music by Dr. Xanthoulis is expected to be released soon.
Rosa Fragorapti is a musician and musicologist with a master’s degree in ancient Greek music, has dedicated herself to the study of the seven-string lyre with Professor Nikos Xanthoulis. She has given concerts in Greece and Italy and took part in seminars and conferences of musicology and archaeo-musicology. In June of 2021 she received the first worldwide Diploma of Ancient Greek Lyre from the Municipal Conservatory of Nikea.
Sophia Karakouta studied classical singing with a scholarship at the New England Conservatory in Boston. She has held numerous recitals in Boston and Seattle in the USA and in Greece and has participated in many opera productions and chamber music concerts. Sophia worked as a vocal teacher and choir conductor in Greece and the U.S.A. as well as in primary and secondary education. For the last ten years he has been studying the ancient Greek trigonon (a type of harp).
Nikos Xanthoulis is a composer, Artistic Consultant of the Greek National Opera, Scientific Associate with the Academy of Athens, and corresponding member of the Archaeological Institute of America. He was the principal trumpet player of the Greek National Opera Orchestra (1984-2009). As a soloist and as a composer he has presented his work in over 30 countries. He has published fourteen personal CDs and participated in four collaborative albums. He is a faculty member of the Municipal Conservatory of Nikea, Greece. The Archaeological Institute of America has awarded him the Kress Lectureship prize for his research on Ancient Greek Music twice: in 2013 and 2018. He teaches at the Nikea conservatory.