The Vasilis Kostas Quartet Tours Greece
In collaboration with the Mediterranean Music Institute, composer, laouto, and guitar player, student Vasilis Kostas—a composer, laouto, and guitar player—toured in Greece with his band, the Vasilis Kostas Quartet. The band is composed of Vasilis Kostas on laouto, student Layth Sidiq of Jordan on violin, and Greek musicians Giannis Papatriantafyllou on upright bass and Nikos Magnisalis on percussion. The group performed a repertoire based on Kostas's compositions, inaddition to an adaptation of a Jan Garbarek composition arranged by Sidiq and Kostas.
The tour began with a performance on June 17, at the Cultural Center of Ioannina in an unexpectedly packed auditorium with an audience of more than 500. Instrumental music concerts aren’t common in that area of Greece and less expected was the crowd gathered at all of the quartet's concerts. The audience’s enthusiastic response set the pace to the rest of the tour.
“The most interesting thing was that people from all ages were moved by this music and the way we played," said Kostas. "It is not common for them to listen to instrumental music but they really were in the zone! We heard some really beautiful comments after every concert—from musicians and from people who just came to listen to this music. Layth was just amazing and moved a lot of people."
The quartet performed on June 18, at Concert Hall of Philippos Nakas Conservatory in Athens; on June 22, at the Vafopouleio Cultural Center of Thessaloniki; on June 24, joined by singer and Berklee professor Christiane Karam, at the Abato Music Stage in Thessaloniki. The quartet finished its tour on June 27, at the Theatre of Monodendri in Zagori, a stunningly beautiful open theater.
''I was at Vasilis's amazing concert in Athens...," said Theodore Kerkezos, a Grammy-nominated Greek classical saxophonist. "He excited us with his extraordinary compositions and his brilliant virtousity in laouto. Addtionally, his first-rate soloists—Sidiq on violin, Papatriantafyllou on bass, and Magnisalis on drums—proved that this kind of music requires not only high virtuosity but also a very aesthetic musicality."