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George Tsontakis: Mirologhia
(KIC-CD-7680) October 2008

George Tsontakis has long been recognized as one of America's most vibrant and gifted composers.

He is the recipient of the two most lucrative prizes in classical music: the international Grawemeyer Award in 2005 for his Second Violin Concerto also recorded on Koch, and the 2007 Charles Ives Living, awarded every three years by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Challenging conventional expectations is clearly a factor in George Tsontakis' thinking about music. Even though two remarkable soloists are featured on this recording, and even though one of the works bears the label 'concerto' and another is for percussion solo and orchestra, Tsontakis thinks of these three compositions as tone poems. He describes the Violin Concerto as 'a programmatic anti-concerto' and asserts that Mirologhia is not a concerto by any stretch.
Tsontakis frequently draws on his Greek heritage in his compositions. Mirologhia has connections to Greek language, culture, and spiritual heritage. A Mirologhia is a Greek woman's mourning song. Bell sounds help create the Byzantine sound world of Mirologhia. Orchestra members are called upon to chant, as well as play their instruments. The combination of vocal and instrumental sounds is integral to Tsontakis's complex texture. Tsontakis has worked with several of the twentieth century's most respected composers and pedagogues. He studied with Hugo Weisgall at Queens College and Roger Sessions at the Juilliard School, and in Rome with Franco Donatoni. Born in Astoria, Queens into a family with strongly Cretan heritage, he has in recent years become an important figure in the music of Greece. Tsontakis's compositions are now performed abroad regularly, with dozens of performances annually in Europe as well as Greece. With this KOCH International recording, eleven of his large orchestral works have been recorded on major labels.
The Albany Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Alan Miller have vastly contributed to the catalog of contemporary American music through innovative commissioning, programming & recording. This recording was made during 200- 2008 seasons during which Mr. Tsontakis was composer-in-residence.

George Tsontakis, Composer
Performed by the Albany Symphony Orchestra with Colin Currie (percussion), Eleni Carlenos (soprano), and the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Mens Choir.
Conducted by David Alan Miller


Performed by the Albany Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by David Alan Miller

Violin Concerto No. 1
Performed by the Albany Symphony Orchestra with Cho-Lian Lin (violin)
Conducted by David Alan Miller


Performed by: Albany Symphony Orchestra
David Alan Miller, Conductor

These recordings have been made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts - a State Agency and the New York State Council on the Arts Music Program Technical Assistance Fund; grants from the National Endowment for the Arts the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording Program, Paul Underwood, Vanguard-Albany Symphony, Kermani Advised Fund, Audrey Kaufmann Fund for New Music, ASCAP, BMI Foundation: Carlos Surinach Fund, Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation, Betty Freeman, the family of Morton Gould, Mrs. Georgeanne Mennin, Mrs. Sylvia Keiser, and the many, many friends of the Albany Symphony Orchestra.