“Life is a lot like jazz... it's best when you improvise”. George Gershwin
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Christidis Alex

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Alex was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia to Greek parents. Later he moved with his family to former Czechoslovakia. It was there, in the city of Prague where as a child he became fascinated by music. Prague oozed with music and culture:  classical music, Dixieland jazz, big bands playing in the street, a magic atmosphere.  Alex sung in a choir at the age of 5.
Another move followed, this time to Tashkent in the former Soviet Union. His parents bought a radio and Alex begun to spend countless hours of listening music. At the age of 12 he enrolled in the music school to learn the accordion which was very fashionable at the time. He also began to collect the dance records of the time (which were jazzy). Listening jazz records and watching big bands playing live, he became fascinated with rhythm and the drums. Then he used every piece of wood available in the house to play rhythms while listening the radio. He started to have more contact with musicians and enriched his self-taught drummer knowledge.
Later, he continued his studies in classical percussion in the preparatory School of the Musical Academy of Kiev. He collaborated with the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of Kiev and with the Opera and Ballet Chamber Orchestra of Kiev. At the same time, Alex was also very active in the jazz scene: he played in various bands with the top Soviet jazz musicians appearing in clubs and festivals all over former Soviet Union like Tallinn Jazz Festival in 1967. In 1973 he played in the first jazz record for jazz combo ever recorded in Ukraine (Kolesnikov-Novikov-Molotkov-Christidis quartet).  Besides music, he graduated as an engineer of optical devices from the National Technical University of Ukraine “KPI”.

In 1978 Alex repatriates to Greece with his wife and kids. He took his Diploma in percussion from the Conservatory of Athens where he studied under the guidance of Nikolaos Korantzinos. As a member of contemporary music ensembles, he has participated in numerous recordings, concerts and festivals in Greece and abroad (MIDEM 1987, Napoli, Como, London-festival of Greek Music, Cannes, Music Days of Orleans 1987 and many others).
He has extensively performed with the Music Group ESSYM (Greek Association of Contemporary Music) and the Ensemble of the Greek Composers Union premiering the works of many composers. He has also performed with many foreign orchestras such as the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra, Cannes Symphony Orchestra, Belgrade Symphony Orchestra, Romanian State Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi and other orchestras in various festival and concerts.

Alex was principal percussionist in the Greek National Opera from 1982 till 1987. He also played as principal percussionist and timpanist in the National Symphony Orchestra of the Greek Radio and Television for many years. He is a member of Percussive Art Society (PAS) since 1981 and was also President of the Greek Percussion Union. Since 1992 he is the principal percussionist of the Athens State Orchestra.

 He is the first Greek musician that performed Psappha for solo percussion of Iannis Xenakis. He was also a permanent collaborator of the Oscar-winning composer Manos Hadjidakis for 16 years. Their collaboration began with playing and recording for the prestigious State Radio’s Third Program show “Edo Lilipoupoli”, a legendary radio show for children. Alex toured all over Europe with Hadjidakis and singers such as Nana Mouskouri and Maria Farantouri. He is a member of the Manos Hadjidakis ensemble from the early 80’s and from 1989-1992 was also a member of the Orchestra of Colours (a symphonic orchestra founded by Hadjidakis).

Alex is very active in the music scene and has various projects. He is the founder of the band Cammer-Ton, a band created in 2000 that combines a classical string quartet and a jazz quartet. With his bands Cammer-Ton and Allegro String band, Alex has performed in the Athens and Thessaloniki Concert Halls (Megaro Mousikis) and in various festivals all over Greece. He also performs with free improvisational avant-garde ensembles.  He has frequently performed and toured all over the world (USA, Japan, Brazil, Australia, China, Europe…) with the Greek National Theater in prestigious productions such as Antigone and Electra (starring famous Greek actress Lydia Koniordou).

Alex is also active in the jazz scene and performs frequently in Greece and abroad. Hic current projects include Voyage Jazz Band, a jazz trio or quartet with Penelope Tzanetaki on vocals. Voyage Jazz Band has successfully presented various programs and special tributes of great diversity such as “The Great American Songbook (Porter, Gershwin..)”, “Sacred Music Project”, “Around Jazz in 80 minutes”, “Tribute to Manos Hadjidakis”. Voyage Jazz Band use jazz as their base and explore all exciting other music styles such as swing, bebop, latin, pop, blues, bossa, funk etc. Their newest project is called “Rhythms of the world”; it is a musical journey throughout all influential 20th century popular rhythms (African, Mediterranean, Brazilian, Latin American rhythms...). It will be presented the 20th of January of 2013 at Megaro Mousikis Concert Hall in Athens.


Last modified on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:24