It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play. -- Dizzie Gillespie

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Markesini Maria

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One of Greece's most beautiful islands, Kefalonia, was Maria's birth place. A Greek island, with a strong Italian influence, Kefalonia has been home to countless musicians, poets and artists.
At the age of three, it was already clear to her parents that Maria would become a musician. She was constantly singing and harmonizing melodies. It was not long before her talent was discovered, and she began piano lessons at the age of five.
Music, and theater, remained her main interests throughout childhood. At the age of fourteen, she joined the Athens Conservatory, where she studied classical piano with Popi Efstratiadi.
She then joined the Music Academy of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where she studied classical piano with Michael Davidson and Daniel Wayenberg and graduated as a piano soloist.
She continued her postgraduate studies at the Royal Music Academy of Brussels, with Andre de Grote, and during the same period, took part in master classes with teachers like Lazar Berman
and Zoltan Cozsis.
Through her appearances on television, and her recitals in Europe, Maria’s audience continued to broaden. During those years, singing jazz was her secret passion, something she was only doing in her free time. A conservative way of thinking, which often confronted her in the classical and academic music world, and the demanding lifestyle of a classical pianist, left little room for experiments. Maria was slowly growing into a state of mind where complete creative freedom would be the only rule she could accept for herself.
It was at this time that the ordinary events of life seemed to be part of a greater plan, a divine wisdom.
An unexpected arm injury would change things for Maria forever! Forced to cancel a piano recital, she proposed to the disappointed hosts that she sing jazz instead. The overwhelming response she received from the audience that night was such that she knew: a new start in her career had been born!
She began studying jazz  vocals with Fay Claassen, Harjo Pasveer, Xandra Willis, Bart de Win and Henk van Gallen.
Since then, she has been dividing her appearances between piano recitals and jazz and gospel concerts all around Europe. Being a musician with a great spectrum of styles, colors and expressive levels, she rapidly won audiences and critics, who described her as Greece’s most promising new talent. Her unique sound moves between traditional and modern jazz, to folk, gospel and chanson.
In 2007 Maria signed a contract with Universal Music/Artway-Texnotropon, for her first solo album as a singer. The album, entitled, ''The Mimis Plessas Song Book-12 Sketches'' is a collection of songs by the legendary Greek songwriter, Mimis Plessas. It was released in December 2007 and received very enthusiastic reviews. Many of the songs were well known hits in Greece in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Maria re-discovered them and arranged them again, together with Bart de Win and the Vaste Mannen and the Jurriaan Berger Quartet. The sound of the cd is a cross between jazz, chanson, latin and ballads, while retaining much of the joy and simplicity of the Mediterranean music.
In 2008 Maria got contracted by Amazing Music in the Netherlands.
Soon afterwards new plans where made that resulted to a theater tour throughout the Netherlands in 2009-10, with master pianist Bert van den Brink. The two recorded the cd, "Kosmo", a bridge over two worlds. Or maybe more than two...
Maria's desire to make music beyond frontiers came to life more than ever in this cd. Greek folk, jazz, chanson, pop, all seems to blend in naturally in "Kosmo". The genius of Richard Bona, an artist that has himself brought different worlds together in his music, looked like the perfect choice for this multi colored album. The duet "Na Vro Ekeinon", where both Maria and Richard sing an improvise in Greek, Maria's mother tongue, astonished the international press that gave the "Kosmo" album excellent reviews.
Last modified on Monday, 30 March 2015 20:43

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