Georgia Xagara is principal harp of the State Orchestra of Athens, Greece. She began her studies on the harp at the age of 12, with Maria Bildea, at the State Conservatoire of Thessaloniki and then at Atheaneum (Athens), with the same teacher. She was awarded her diploma with the highest marks and distinction in 1998. Additionally, she holds a degree on Theatre Studies from the Department of Fine Arts of Aristotles’ University of Thessaloniki. A scholarship by the State enabled her to continue her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, where she obtained her postgraduate diploma in advanced studies in performance. She has actively participated in seminars with distinguished harp soloists such as Fabrice Pierre, Yolanda Kondonassis, Ion Ivan Roncea, Elizabeth Fontane Binoche.
At the age of 21 she started her professional career as principal harp with the State Orchestra of Thessaloniki under the artistic direction of Leonidas Kavakos. She served as principal harp with all major Greek Orchestras. Since September 2001 she holds the chair of solo harp at the State Orchestra of Athens. As a soloist, she has collaborated with La Camerata, the State Orchestra of Athens, the City of Thessaloniki Symphony Orchestra and smaller ensembles. Active as a pedagogue, Georgia was harp professor at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki from 1998 till 2007 and also taught at the Athens Conservatoire (2009 – 2012). From 2005 she has been teaching at the “Ph. Nakas” Conservatory and regularly teaches in summer music seminars.
With flutist Nikos Nikopoulos she performs as “Duo Choriambus” and they appear in recitals all over the country. They have appeared at the World Harp Congress in 2005 performing a piece written for them by the well-known Greek composer Theodore Antoniou. Several composers have dedicated works to the duo, some of which are included in a CD – released in 2008 – entitled “Dialogues” for flute and harp. They have also performed at the International Flute Convention in 2008 in Manchester.
As a member of a harp quartet Georgia has appeared at the Megaron Concert Hall of Athens and also at TV shows presenting pieces for two or four harps from the Greek traditional music. Georgia plays frequently with larger chamber music ensembles such as flute-viola-harp trio or string quartet with harp.
Costas Cotsiolis is nowadays considered one of the greatest of our time, thanks to his tours all over the world. In 1972, at the age of 15 he started his career, playing the “concierto de Aranjuez” with the Athens State orchestra.
Since 1977 he has been prof. at the Athens Conservatory and since 2009 at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki as well. Since 1978 he is a founder and director of the “Volos International Guitar Festival” (Greece). For his activities, he was awarded by the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Greece in 1979. In 1998 he became an Honorary Citizen of Dallas (Texas-USA).
Since 2012 he has been Artistic director of the GuitarArt Festival of Belgrade (Serbia). Also he became a honorary member of the EGTA-Germany, and D’Addario artist.In 2017 he was awarded the degree of “Doctor Honoris Causa” by the Ionian University (Greece). He played in concert halls like the Grand Auditorium Radio France, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Concert hall BBC, Palais de Beaux Arts Bruxelles, Palais de Congres de Paris, Philarmonie St. Petersburg etc. And collaborated with many orchestras such as RTBF Bruxelles, BBC concert orchestra, Radio symphony Frankfurt, the “Toscanini” Pomeriggi musicali, etc. He collaborated in concerts with artists like Astor Piazzolla, Mikis Theodorakis, John Williams, Jean-Jaques Kantorow, Stanley Jordan and others. He is a member of the “Volos Guitar Trio”with Aniello Desiderio and Zoran Dukic.
Composers like Leo Brouwer, Sergio Assad, Ernesto Cordero and many others dedicated works to him. He gave masterclasses at many universities like “Mozarteum”, “Ferenc Liszt”, Central conservatory Beijing, Manhattan school of music N.Y. etc. He has played mostly in all guitar festivals including Esztergom, Liege , Havana , Cordoba , Koblenz, Iserlohn, GFA etc.
He has published CD’s in Sony, EMI classics and GHA (Echo Classic award).
“Costas Cotsiolis is one of the best performers of my music, probably the best. But also hear him in Mangore, Falla, or Ginastera. Virtuoso playing or sensibility, all in one” – Leo Brouwer
“Costas Cotsiolis is one of the greatests guitarists of our time. Besides being highly acclaimed as a top performer he has established major artistic achievements over the course of three decades of international career” – Sergio & Odair Assad
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