Synchronos: New Greek Voices

The Greek Chamber Music Project (GCMP) is producing a new album that highlights exciting music by living and 20th-century Greek composers. Synchronos: New Greek Voices will feature debut recordings for flute, ghostplate, and other instruments and is set to be released in the spring of 2021. 


About the Music 

Composer Costas Dafnis playing the ghostplate

The focus of the release is a GCMP collaboration with composer Costas Dafnis, who will create a new musical work that explores the concept of made versus born. Inspired by the real and imagined automatons of ancient Greece, this 30-minute work features the ghostplate, a novel metallic instrument he built and designed with Bay Area improviser Tom Nunn. Its sonic palette — atmospheric, echoing, wispy, and metallic — sounds remarkably electronic for an acoustic instrument. The ghostplate creates a soundscape that is at once familiar and extraordinary. 

Costas’ work takes its cues from Gods and Robots, a book by Stanford scholar Adrienne Mayor, revealing that the earliest concepts of automatons, robots and artificial intelligence can be traced back to ancient Greece — first in mythology, and later in self-moving devices and robots. The line between human and not human, born vs. built, is an AI concept that’s not only recent, but in fact thousands of years old.

Ellie Falaris Ganelin | Photo by Kate Mikhailov

GCMP director Ellie Falaris Ganelin will also record a range of music for flute, both alone and with friends. Featured composers include Nickitas Demos, Dinos Constantinides, and Constantine Lignos, all established creators of contemporary classical music in Greece and the diaspora. It will also include the debut recording of Four Greek Dances by Georgios Kasassoglou, a 20th-century composer of art songs celebrating the Greek spirit.

The album will also feature Ellie’s own composition, Words of Grief, which premiered this past spring at San Francisco State University in a concert retelling of Homer’s The Iliad. The tune accompanied a series of Homeric translations by Classics students, handpicking timeless excerpts that captured universal concepts of the human spirit.

Personnel

Ellie Falaris Ganelin, flute
Costas Dafnis, ghostplate
Ariel Wang, violin
Lewis Patzner, cello
Kyle Bruckmann, oboe
Joe Goodkin, guitar
Mary-Victoria Voutsas, piano