Today, I’m talking to a musician who is well-known both in his home country and abroad. His repertoire includes the works of famous world composers that draw in audiences thanks to both their finesse as well as the artist’s skill.
Allow me to introduce Yiannis Georgiou, classical pianist
My education and career as a pianist started in London at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. I then moved on to the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. Now, I perform in concerts all over Cyprus and worldwide.
I spent most of my childhood in Limassol with a few years in England. My Cyprus years glowed with the light of the Mediterranean. My early years were carefree and peaceful, and I enjoyed a life filled with friendship in a beautiful small town on the coast. In contrast, my years spent in London were marked by an admiration and enthusiasm for the cultural life in the big city and all the opportunities it affords.
I decided to become a musician, in particular a pianist, after being inspired by my love of the masterpieces by the great composers. I have my father’s record collection to thank for introducing me to the greats. Actually, there were no musicians in my family before me. When I was younger, concerts were a rare event. However, when I got to London, a whole new world was opened up to me and I started going to concerts as often as possible. Being there and feeling the atmosphere of live music deepened my desire to become a musician. Nevertheless, before I embarked on a serious musical education, there was a period in my life when I had almost nothing to do with music. Back then, I was considering other career opportunities. The thing was, I really missed music so I made my return to it with great enthusiasm. I didn’t look back. Now, I actually thinkI always wanted to be a pianist...
After studying in London, my life led me to Moscow in 1994: to the Conservatoire. It's a completely different world. I followed my dream despite the fact that life in Moscow in the 90s wasn’t easy, especially the conditions in the student accommodation. I remember an funny moment! It was more of a coincidence really but out of all the hundreds of rooms in the halls, mine had hosted Cypriot musicians before! That’s not all, when I left, the next student that took my place was a musician from Greece! I don’t know who lives there now!
It was incredible to have the chance to immerse myself in the world of music at the Conservatoire. Of course, the best way to learn the Russian School of piano technique first hand is starting young and studying from childhood. It’s not always easy to start later in life. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating process that I’m still working on to this day.
Our profession is very demanding on those that have started on this path: you must always be creators. I love it. Something new is born every day when you play the piano. You need to be forever resourceful in solving problems. And as for concerts, well, no two are alike.
I draw inspiration for my work from all kinds of sources: emotions, philosophical reflection, beauty, the figurative language of expression, the mystery of our existence, and, of course, the works of the great masters. What’s more, I try not to miss any cultural events, be it a film, play, a dance performance, or a new book.
You know, I don’t want anyone in the hall to be bored when I play, or even during any artist’s performance. I believe that the aim of (any) artform is communication with the audience, holding their attention, building a relationship. If this doesn’t happen, then something has gone wrong.
I’d like to share an interesting quotation I read recently: a tip that a theatre director was given from his mentor. «Just remember: everything you do has to be different from what has alreadygone before». I think this applies to music and is just generally good life advice, don’t you think?
When I’m not at work, I love going to the coast to enjoy a good walk and swim. It’s an absolute miracle that, living in Limassol, you can just go down to the sea every day if you want to. It’s one of my favourite places to go to relax and chill out. I have breaks every day when I’m studying. I go to the sea two or three times a day and have a swim, go for a walk or a bike ride.
And as you well know, our unique climate lets us have the best of both worlds in winter: we can swim in the sea and go skiing in the mountains all in one day!
Cyprus is a cosmopolitan country and welcomes everyone.
When compared to the lifestyle in major world cities, the pace of life here is calm, even relaxing. It might take some getting used to for someone who enjoys the tempo of a large western city. They might even be a little disappointed, both professionally and socially. This is not where Cyprus’ charm lies! Ideally, everywhere would have «everything», but it isn’t the case in reality.
As I see it, the most interesting thing about the Cypriot mentality is their tendency to be self-deprecating. There is a lot of criticism of both the current state of the nation and the Cypriot mentality. As a rule, Cypriots don’t take themselves too seriously. What’s more, if someone starts to act all high and mighty, he’ll immediately be brought down a peg or two...
I like that our country is relatively small and enjoys plenty of light and good weather, of course.
I think the ancient city of Kourion with its amphitheatre is a must-see for all tourists. There are also some traditional mountain villages where you can have vibrant experiences and enjoy cooler air. It goes without saying that you have to spend at least some holiday time at the seaside!
When I travel overseas, my favourite place to go is wonderful Greece. I have travelled widely throughout Europe, however. I actually adore both the North and the South: for the beauty, culture and traditions found in the countries there. I generally like contrasts and seeing the variety in people. What’s more, Europe is the birthplace of classical music. Classical music concerts are a great reason to travel to different countries, and a great way to experience different epochs and styles. I gain a particular pleasure from combining work and travel: it's always interesting to feel the response from different audiences.
I've never ventured outside Europe. There are still so many places all over the world I’d love to visit and experience. And of course, there are so many people I’m yet to meet.
I’d advise all those who plan to visit Cyprus to seek out, find, and appreciate the beauty of the island. That way your trip will fill you with love and other kind, positive feelings.
I’d love to tell the inhabitants of Cyprus that I’m really happy they want to live here and love our country. You and your culture enrich the island with your presence. I wish everyone a happy life and hope they feel a sense of gratitude about living here!