APRIL 8 - 14, 2011 By Saskia Constantinou SASKIA’S CHOICE 73 Frankly speaking…. An honest and heartfelt discussion about music and musicians with Yvonne Georgiadou B ehind each artist’s arrival for the Pharos Arts Foundation concerts is a vast amount of work in planning and organisation. Dedicated and passionate Artistic Director of Pharos, Yvonne Georgiadou, took time out from a 24/7 workload, to talk about what drives her to promote the arts and her responsibilities. “It’s impossible to really describe the scope of what I actually am responsible for, but in a nutshell, the programming, organisation from A-Z, as well as marketing and promotion for each concert.” Jovially, she adds: “Αnd inbetween that, one of the most serious aspects is building and formulating individually tailored packages for our sponsors.” The Chamber Festival, now in its 11th year, is internationally recognised, with world renowned artists clamouring to participate. “This, of course, is planned at least two years in advance as artists of this calibre have full diaries. This year, due to a reduced subsidy from the ministry, we were worried and cautious about being able to continue. Last summer, Pharos was forced to make staff redundant, but we felt an obligation to take it on our shoulders and keep the festival going. Maintaining our high quality standards is imperative as our audience is discerning.” Yvonne dispels any perception of elitism. “Our venues are full and we are proud to have half of our audience under 35.” What is still not appreciated, especially by local tourism authorities, is the international scope of the festival and how they could cleverly utilise it to gain more discerning visitors. The festival is promoted in the BBC Music Magazine and attracts many tourists. Yvonne elucidates: “The idea of beach and sun is very old fashioned, and I should add dangerous. We need to invest in our culture, our heritage…let’s face it, music and art makes us more intelligent, kinder, sociable and communicative, and this is proven, so how can we afford to ignore this?” Yvonne Georgiadou “Can you imagine going to Milan and not going to the opera after a full day shopping? Or to London and not including the Tate?” Yvonne adds. The arts are still undervalued in Cyprus with municipalities, government and even private organisations not taking their social responsibility seriously. Thousands of euros are needed for long term planning - not a paltry couple of hundred for one concert after much begging. Our children have a right to a future on a par with their European counterparts. Sponsoring a concert here and there does not constitute de- veloping the arts – long term strategies are imperative. As a highly trained London musician Yvonne, animated by our discussion, explains how we must eliminate old ways of teaching music. “The greatest art is listening. People don’t know how to listen and they don’t appreciate what they do hear. For example - through extensive media exposure, we all know about the Three Tenors. One of the two, following retirement, and a concert in the occupied areas, came to Cyprus. But not to sing opera because he can’t anymore; some Italian songs. The ticket was prohibitively expensive but the theatre full. Why? Is it fame? Megalomania? Or was it misinformation about the greatness of his voice which is not the reality anymore? We need to build and elaborate on our culture first. We are the only EU country without an opera house, not as a theatre but as an official society! We need that before a huge concert hall, otherwise we will have a beautiful building with nothing to fill it. And, it should be about quality – not ladies in furs with the press taking their pictures.” Unlike most other people, too much relaxation is stressful for Yvonne. “I listen to all types of music, like movies and books, but most of all, I love to socialise over a long cappuccino with friends. But, my phone is always on. Dealing with agents is sometimes impossible and they frequently don’t help their artists. For example, the agent of an extremely young talented musician sent me back and forth with so many administrators about a simple interview which made the artist look unwilling, which was not the case. The majority of agents are also artists who try to pursue their own careers with no idea of the administration required in promoting a concert. They are overwrought and send thousands of reminders with needless questions. Of course, there are some who are blissful to work with and their recommendations are always valued.” As the phone again flashes, Yvonne urges me to write about the fantastic artists coming for the festival – marvellous violinist Daishin Kashimoto, the violist Amihai Grosz, flautist Emmanuel Pahud, cellist Tim Park and our own talented soprano Margarita Elia. She is right – this calibre of music making in the perfect, ancient surroundings of Kouklia should not be missed. Give yourselves a break and be part of this marvellous music making COMPETI T Win ticke ION LOCAL EVENTS DON’ • Don’t miss this wonderful T M I SS opportunity to hear Rossini’s IT Stabat Mater. Two performances at the Strovolos Municipal Theatre, Nicosia on April 12 and April 13 with the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, under Lukas Karytinos with soloists Katerina Mina, Elena Belfiore, Daniele Zanfardino and Constantinos Yiannoudes. • Tonight, the newly-founded Cyprus Trio comprising violinist Wolfgang Schroeder, cellist Peter Gospodinov and pianist Naoko Kariya will be presenting a co concert as part of the Pharos Arts Foundation’s Cy Cyprus Artists Series on April 8 at the Shoe Fa Factory, Nicosia at 8.30. The programme will inc include one of Beethoven’s most controversial wo works, the Kakadu Variations as well as Arno B Babadjanian’s monumental piano trio and a work rarely performed today, Anton Arensky’s Piano Trio in d minor. Book your tickets online now at www.pharostickets.org or call 70009304. • Don’t miss the piano recital of Hayk Melikyan on Friday, April 15 at the Shoe Factory, Nicosia at 8.30pm. The programme will include works ts to the P by Takemitsu, haros Festival send an e mail to saskia@cy Berio, Xenakis, tanet.com .cy with the answe Stravinsky, r to this q uestion: How man Part, y concerts are there in K Babadjanyan ouklia? and Dellalian. Melikyan has been en described as a pianist anist with a strongly individual dividual personality and a carrier of the great tradition of the Russian piano school. Its synthesis gives the most interesting and fruitful results. Book online at www. pharostickets.org or call now 7000 9303.