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Constantine Caravassilis

Constantine Caravassilis

“…Timeless Music…” – The Toronto Star

“…Constantine has grown to be credited and awarded as one of the most prolific and highly gifted emerging
composers in Canada…”
– Toronto Arts Foundation

“…This is music that earns our attention rather than requiring it.”– John Terauds, Musical Toronto

“…A few steps above excellence.” – Murray Schaffer

“Caravassilis’ work sustains interest with its stylistic and emotional range and textural and dynamic shifts…
mercurial, brilliant and radiant…”
– Nic Gotham, The Whole Note Magazine

Driven by emotion, beauty and spirituality, and inspired by the worlds of nature and literature, Constantine Caravassilis’ evocative music is intimately connected to his Hellenic roots, often drawing inspiration from ancient Greek mythology and Byzantine culture.

Born in Toronto to a family of musicians, Constantine grew up in a culturally rich community on Samos Island, Greece. Taking his first violin lesson at age six, he soon switched to the piano and then founded his own orchestra and choir at age 15, giving annual concerts at the local lyceum.

Apart from being a prolific composer, Constantine is also an active pianist and conductor based in Toronto, which has been his home since his late teens. He has conducted the gamUT chamber orchestra at the University of Toronto, and has recorded and premiered works by some 25 young Canadian composers to date. Since his mid-twenties, and while still a student, he has enjoyed international exposure through more than 350 performances of his music in 20 countries and in important venues including Carnegie Hall (New York), Jordan Hall (Boston), Southam Hall (Ottawa), BunkaKaikan Hall (Tokyo), AlteOper (Frankfurt), Round Tower (Copenhagen), Smolensk Philharmonic Hall (Russia) and the Athens Concert Hall, to name but a few.

Additionally, his music has been broadcast by BBC3 in Britain, CBC Radio 2 in Canada, CNN Turk in Turkey, TDK Radio in Japan, WCRB Radio in the United States, The Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, CJCW Radio in Calgary and CKCU Radio in Ottawa. WQXR (New York Public Radio) has broadcast Constantine’s music more than 40timesin the past year alone.

In 2010, Constantine was named finalist for the Royal Bank of Canada Emerging Artist Award, in addition to winning a number of top honors including the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music and the Harry Freedman Recording Award. In 2006, he was declared Grand Winner of the Volos City International Composition Competition (Greece), where he was awarded three gold medals for his “profoundly mature style and highly individual compositional voice”. Jazz &Tzaz music magazine hailed him as “the most important Hellenic-descent composer of his generation”. He has also held composition residencies with the London Song Festival (UK), the Open Strings Festival (Denmark), the Contemporary Opera Lab (Winnipeg) and the Harp on the Hills Festival (Richmond Hill, ON). Upcoming residencies include Open Strings in Paris, France as well as a SOCAN residency with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra in Markham, Ontario. In January 2014, Constantine was named Distinguished Composer-in-Residence with the Bravo Niagara! International Music Festival.

His music has been performed by the Camerata Orchestra in Athens, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the North Shore in Vancouver, the Composer’s Orchestra in Toronto, L’Orchestre de la Francophonie in Ottawa, the LesAmis Ensemble, the Penderecki String Quartet (Canada), the Caravassilis String Quartet (France), The Juilliard Duo, the University of Toronto and the University of Manitoba Symphony Orchestras, the gamUT ensemble and the Gryphon Trio, among many others.

In January 2013, the Canadian Music Centre released Constantine’s first double CD album Visions with 112 minutes of solo piano music written in his mid-twenties (The Complete Books of Rhapsodies and Fantasias) on the Centerdiscs label. Recorded by renowned pianist Christina PetrowskaQuilico, Visions reached great critical acclaim worldwide, and within weeks after its release it reached No.1 in the CJCW New Music charts and became a Top Seller in online sales for CD Universe. Visions is now distributed internationally by Naxos Direct, and will receive its first tour in Greece in the fall of 2014.

Upcoming projects include a new work for Concert: Nova in collaboration with superstar countertenor Michael Maniaci, a new bassoon concerto for Thirteen Strings (Ottawa) and Canada’s premiere bassoonist Nadina Mackie Jackson, a new violin work for Jacques Israelievitch, the world premiere of his 3rd piano concerto with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra under the baton of Kristian Alexander as well as several CD releases including Sirens (for two pianos) with Duo Volando, and his four piano quintets with members of the Toronto Symphony and pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico. Slated for premiere in the 2015-2016 season is also a new extended work commissioned by Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko, 2013 gold medalist of the famed Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Constantine studied piano, conducting and composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music (University of Manitoba), and the University of Toronto in both the undergraduate and doctoral levels, as a pupil of some of Canada’s finest musicians. Among his most influential teachers are Christos Hatzis (composition), Raffi Armenian (conducting) and Christina PetrowskaQuilico (piano). In addition to several academic scholarships, he has received fellowships and been provided with further professional training by a number of organizations including the Toronto Summer Music Academy, the National Arts Centre, City Opera Vancouver, SoundStreams Canada and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

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