Notomusica: Vienna Saxophone Ensemble, leader Theodore Kerkezos soprano sax, guest star pianist Francesco Nicolosi
The present Vienna Saxophone Ensemble arrives at the international Notomusica Festival, an internationally renowned quintet in which the famous leader Theodore Kerkezos soprano sax stands out, who for the Sicilian tour has called the great pianist Francesco Nicolosi as a guest star. With them on the stage Zsombir Levente Nemeskér tenor sax, Martìn Castro Tubìo soprano sax, Ferenc Bàlint Takàcs alto sax, Ivan Paul baritone sax The appointment is for Thursday 11 August at 9.15 pm in the courtyard of the Jesuit College. The ensemble uses a series of arrangements for the history of music: from Händel (Arrival of the Queen of Sheba) to Skalkottas (Three Greek dances), from Brubeck (Blue Rondò) to Piazzolla (Tango Suite) and Theodorakis (Zorba the Greek ). Interesting are the transcriptions for piano and saxophone by Mihlaud’s Scaramouche and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
The Vienna Saxophones Ensemble was born from the transformation of the Kerkezos Saxophones Quartet founded in 1994 by the Greek saxophonist Theodore Kerkezos and quickly became one of the most important sax groups in Europe. Composers such as Mikis Theodorakis, Theodore Antoniou, Demis Visvikis, Michael Csanyi-Wills, Babis Kanas, Μinas Alexiadis, Josef Papadatos and Vassilis Tenidis have written or dedicated pieces for the quartet.
The quartet has collaborated with internationally renowned artists, including Alberto Portugheis, Francesco Nicolosi, Dimitri Toufexis, Αrne Sponberg, Francis Duroy, Μaria Safariants, Aris Garoufalis and George Lazarides. He has performed with prestigious orchestras and in important concert halls such as the Espace Pierre Cardin in Paris, the Opera House in Rome, at the Megaron in Athens and Thessaloniki and for the “White Nights” festival in St. Petersburg. In July 2008, at the invitation of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, he carried out a tour of sixteen concerts in Italy with the pianist Francesco Nicolosi. He recorded for the Greek national radio station and for the Union of Greek composers.
Composed today of musicians all graduated from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, it has its permanent home in the Austrian capital. Defined by Gramophone as “one of the most stunning artists today”, Theodore Kerkezos has performed and recorded the entire repertoire for solo saxophone with the most prestigious orchestras including London Philharmonic, The Philharmonia, London Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Berlin Symp, Moscow Soloists, Moscow Opera, Meiningen Opera Symp, Royal Bangkok Symp, Far Eastern Symp.
He works permanently with Yuri Bashmet, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Francesco Nicolosi, Teodor Currentzis, Yuri Simonov and Michael Nyman. As an orchestrator / arranger, his works have been performed by important orchestras such as the London Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Phil, Boston Pops, Berliner Symphoniker. He has been nominated twice for the 50th US Grammy Awards in New York. Works by Iannis Xenakis, Mikis Theodorakis and Friedrich Cerha have been dedicated to him.
Stellar also the path of Francesco Nicolosi, who leaves at the age of seventeen from his Catania to Naples where he meets Vincenzo Vitale, one of the best teachers of the Italian piano tradition. He soon became one of the best students, so much so that he is still considered one of the greatest exponents of the Neapolitan piano school.
He has been awarded the most ambitious international awards, such as the ‘Golden Bellini’, the ‘Domenico Danzuso’ Lifetime Achievement Award, the ‘Sergei Rachmaninov International Award’ in Moscow. For a long time he held a professorship at the San Pietro a Majella Conservatory of Music in Naples, he regularly holds master classes in Italy and abroad. He has been supporting his concert activity for many years with the artistic direction of international institutions and high-level musical events.
He holds the position of President and artistic director of the Sigismondo Thalberg International Study Center based in Naples, which carries out a recognized research activity on the figure of the great Austrian pianist, founder of the Neapolitan Piano School.
The authoritative critic and musicologist Paolo Isotta wrote of him: “No one today can be approached to him for the brightness of the sound, the abilityppl]]to sing and tie; he must be considered one of the best living pianists ”.
For jazz lovers, the eve of August 15th will be marked by the Billy Cobham Quintet (14th August), led by the famous drummer. This is the only Sicilian stage, just as the other protagonists of Notomusica have been hired exclusively.