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Stavros Xarchakos’ School Aims to Make Syros a Music Hub in Greece

Music school Syros
Stavros Xarchakos conducts an orchestra of young musicians on Syros Island. Credit: Facebook/En Hordais and Organois

A pioneering music school opened on the Greek island of Syros following an initiative to preserve folk and rebetiko music by composer Stavros Xarchakos.

Thanks to a donation by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the contribution of sponsors and the local church, the music school “En Hordais and Organois,” which is a non-profit association, was founded.

The school offers young people a study in the tradition of folk music and rebetiko, but it also has specific goals, including the preservation, conservation, and dissemination of folk rebetiko music through the teaching of folk musical instruments. In addition, the school aims to promote the artistic potential and musical talent of the local community.

Other goals include the upgrading of the cultural life of Syros as well as the strengthening of communication with the target audience. The school will also participate in the organization of festivals and arrange for music meetings, seminars, and concerts not only in Syros but in other parts of the country and abroad.

Rebetiko, a century-old, traditional Greek musical genre that has influenced musicians around the world, has now been added to UNESCO‘s “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”

Rebetiko (loosely translated as “Rebel music”) is a musical and cultural expression directly linked to song and dance that initially spread among the urban lower and working-class populations in the early twentieth century.

Syros is the birthplace of one of the greatest rebetiko composers, Markos Vamvakaris.

Music school at Syros aims to become a hub for music

The school’s ultimate vision is its gradual evolution into a hub of musical culture with the creation of an infrastructure of exemplary standards. This will include cutting-edge acoustic technologies, state-of-the-art classrooms, an auditorium, and the ability to host young musicians from Greece and abroad.

Founders also aim to make Syros an international cultural attraction by linking scholars, music universities, and the music community at large.

The Board of Directors consists of Stavros Xarchakos as President of the organization, as well as Stelios Niotis, Protopresbyter Flavianos Albescu (as representative of the relevant Metropolitan Dorotheos II), Vrasidas Zavras, and Manolis Mitsias.

Throughout his career, Xarchakos mainly composed in the style of Greek popular music, Laïka. Xarchakos also composed in the classical music genre.

His music has been recorded in forty-two albums and has been used in twenty-one movies and fifteen television productions.

Internationally, he is known as the composer for the Rembetiko film score, composing the music for the Werner Herzog film Signs of Life, and composing the music for the 1983 BBC TV mini-series, The Dark Side of the Sun.

In the following video, Xarchakos conducts the “En Hordais and Organois” orchestra.

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