Every Island’s a Stage

A mini guide to the season’s best music events across the Aegean.


If the countdown to your summer vacation has already started and you’re having a tough time deciding where to go, a last-minute solution is to let the music (and dancing) guide you: From Hydra to Cephalonia, just about every niche imaginable – including a few eccentric options – is represented.

Make your first stop Corfu Town (Kerkyra), where Free Fall is organizing the 8th International Contemporary Dance Festival, this year taking place under the banner “A Small Step,” until August 5. Dancers and choreographers from all over Europe are staging performances in public squares, streets and architecturally intriguing buildings, also in a bid to encourage people to make use of these locations for creative activities.

From July 27 to 29the 2nd Anemi Festival  will be taking place on Folegandros, with special guests Minor ProjectKostis Maraveyas and the New York-based Christos Rafalides Trio. A tour of the island’s paths and caves will be included in the festival’s schedule, starting from Hotel Anemi.

Saronic Gulf

Classical music lovers will have an extra reason to visit Spetses, Hydra, Poros, Galata, Methana and Kythera from August 1 to 9, as they will be jointly hosting the 7th Saronic Chamber Music Festival. Events are organized by the Leondari Ensemble – comprising critically acclaimed musicians Benjamin Bowman, Bogdan Bozovic, James Barralet, Rebekka Markowski and Caspar Frantz – which has invited world-class artists including violinist Maia Cabeza, Manuel Hofer, principal violist of Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and Finnish violinist Sini Simonen, of the Esbjerg Ensemble and the Castalian String Quartet, to perform at this year’s edition. A special package includes admission to all seven events, along with the perfect excuse to island-hop around the Saronic Gulf.

Also taking place from August 7 to 9 is the 3rd International Classical Music Festival of the Cyclades (tickets sold at www.ticketservices.gr), under the guidance of violinist Giannos Margaziotis at the delightful Apollon Theater – also known as La Piccola Scala as it is a smaller version of the famed opera house in Milan – in Ermoupoli, the capital of Syros. The festival features performances by Greek musicians as well as artists from NorwaySweden and Turkey.

Sami

In the ruins of the abandoned village of Palaia Vlachata, 3 kilometers from the port of Sami on Cephalonia, the Saristra Festival  will be taking place for the fifth year in a row from August 4 to 6. Special guests include a star ambassador of the British techno scene, Martin Jenkins with his Pye Corner Audio projectKonstantinos Vita, who is returning to the island 22 years after Stereo Nova’s legendary concert at Makris Gialos, stoner rock act Nightstalker, psychedelic rockers Acid Baby Jesus, composer and multi-instrumentalist Theodore, audiovisual collective drog_a_teklo-fi project A Victim of Society, and many more. Entrance is free.

Hydra

The Hydra World Music Festival is a new arrival, scheduled to take place on August 25. The program promises performances by Kilema from Madagascar, Venezuelan musician and producer Argenis Brito, Egyptian singer, composer and accordionist Youssra El Hawary, Britain’s folk singer-songwriter Brooke Sharkey, German DJs Michael Ruetten and Habibi Funk, and many more.

Molyvos

The International Molyvos Music Festival (tickets at www.ticketservices.gr), which has a dedicated fan base from Greece and elsewhere, is marking its three-year anniversary. Titled “Catharsis,” this year’s event from August 16 to 19 comprises performances of works that highlight the healing power of music, such as Messiaen’s “Quatuor pour la fin du temps,” Schubert’s Octet in F major and Debussy’s “Syrinx” for solo flute. The spotlight will shine on German soprano Marlis Petersen, Russian violinist Kirill Troussov and Grammy-nominated violin virtuoso Caroline Goulding.

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