|With a large number of presentations of his music in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and East Asia every year, commissions by an international list of soloists and ensembles and several recording projects by major and independent labels, composer Christos Hatzis (b.1953) is becoming widely known as a leading figure in contemporary classical music.
Hatzis’ music is inspired by proto-Christian spirituality, his own Byzantine musical heritage, world cultures and various non-classical-music genres including jazz, pop and world musics. He has created several works inspired by the music of the Inuit, Canada’s arctic inhabitants, and these works, particularly the award-winning radio documentary Footprints in New Snow, have promoted Inuit culture around the globe. His strongest inspiration is his own religious faith, and a number of his religious works have been hailed as contemporary masterpieces by critics and audiences alike.
It is not unusual for a work by Hatzis to have become a signature piece for a soloist or an ensemble. His Old Photographs and Dance of the Dictators, in particular, have been performed by the Gryphon Trio in more than 150 concerts throughout the world since 2002. There have also been an increasing number of all-Hatzis programmes presented during the past few years, or programmes shared with another composer (often the British composer John Tavener).
Music presenters have begun to programme larger events around Hatzis’ music. The 2004 Byzantine Festival in London built its theme around The Troparion of Kassiani. In 2005, Symphony Nova Scotia has programmed three works, including a new commission. The recent large-scale work Sepulcher of Life, for soloists, choir and orchestra was commissioned by four different Canadian philharmonic choirs, and eight performances have been given by six different presenters across North America, one of which was a remarkable performance at the Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Christos Hatzis’ music is often combined with visual media. His most important multimedia music theatre piece to date, Constantinople, developed and produced by the Gryphon Trio, was performed at sold-out halls at Banff and Toronto during the summer and fall of 2004 and described by the Toronto Star as “A multi-media feast of the imagination… a work unlike any other in the Canadian musical literature… Constantinople defies categories… it is in a class of its own”, and by the Calgary Herald as “a stunning theatrical triumph”, while EYE magazine placed it on the number 3 spot of its top ten theatre picks for 2004. In June 2005 Constantinople opened the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, Connecticut, and is likely to tour internationally.
Currently, Christos Hatzis is a professor of composition at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, He is the recipient of several national and international distinctions, including the Jean A. Chalmers National Music Award, the Prix Italia Special Prize, the Prix Bohemia Radio, the Jules Léger Prize for chamber music and the New Pioneer Award as well as two Juno Award nominations (2003 and 2004).
More info: www.hatzis.com