Greek bouzouki virtuoso wins classical music award in Vienna

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bouzouki classical music
Michael Paouris with his bouzouki won first prize at the Vienna Classical Music Competition. Credit: Facebook / Michael Paouris

Greek bouzouki virtuoso Michael Paouris won first prize at the Classical Music Competition held last Sunday in Vienna.

Paouris won the international event at the iconic Mozarthaus with his composition “Virtuosonata No. 1” which he premiered just 12 days before his prize exclusively for competition. He was accompanied on stage by his close collaborator, Nikolas Spatoulas on guitar.

The Mozarthaus was Mozart’s residence from 1784 to 1787. It is believed that Sunday was the first time that the bouzouki, the musical instrument interwoven with Greek culture and history, was heard in this historic location.

bouzouki classical music
Michael Paouris (right) performs in the historic Mozarthaus on Sunday. Nikolas Spatoulas is on guitar. Credit: Instagram / Michael Paouris

The 34-year-old Greek musician, born in Athens, started learning bouzouki at the age of 8. He now performs with Michael Paouris’ group in music and concert halls around the world.

One of the most important moments of his career was in 2018 when he received the 1st International Prize for Classical Music at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City of the Classical Golden Awards.

He also again received the 1st International Award of the London Grand Prize Virtuoso in 2019. Michael Paouris won the 1st International Prize for Classical Music for the 2020 and the concert – awards ceremony takes place in April 2021 at the Royal Albert London Hall.

A taste of Paouris’ concert in Vienna follows:

Bouzouki: the national musical instrument of Greece

The bouzouki was brought to Greece in the early 1900s by Greek immigrants from Anatolia and quickly became the central instrument of the rebetiko genre and its musical branches. It is now an important part of modern Greek Laiko pop music.

The Greek bouzouki is a plucked string musical instrument from the lute family, called the thaboura or tamboura family. Tambouras existed in ancient Greece as pandura and can be found in different sizes, shapes, body depths, neck lengths, and number of strings. The bouzouki and the baglamas are its direct descendants.

Among the many legendary bouzouki players in Greece was Manolis Chiotis. The musician, composer and singer revolutionized Greek music with his four-course bouzouki and made Greek music popular around the world, even in the White House.

In 1960, while touring the United States with his wife and longtime collaborator, Mary Linda, they were invited to the White House by US President Lyndon B. Johnson to perform on his birthday. . The president offered them green cards, so they could live and work in the United States for as long as they wanted.

The other Greek master composers were Yiannis Papaioannou, Manolis Chiotis, Dimitris Gogos (Bagiaderas) and Giorgos Zampetas.


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