Talos Dreams

Chamber Music for the Future • CD Release Concert


Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 7pm PST

The Bowes Center • San Francisco + Online via live stream

Suggested donation: $20 • CD included

Venue requires proof of vaccination

The next generation of music makers look to ancient stories to create music for the future 

In collaboration with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Greek Chamber Music Project (GCMP) presents the in-person premiere of Talos Dreams and Medea: Rebirth and Destruction. This live-streamed event will take place at the new state-of-the-art Bowes Center in San Francisco. 

Accompanying the performance will be a prerecorded talkback by Talos Dreams composer Costas Dafnis and the author of Gods and Robots, Adrienne Mayor, about the role of technology in ancient Greece. This concert celebrates the release of Synchronos: New Greek Voices on the GCMP label, which features Talos Dreams. A copy of the CD is included with a tax-deductible donation to the Greek Chamber Music Project. 

Commissioned by GCMP, Talos Dreams by Costas Dafnis explores the concept of made versus born. Natural and processed sounds come crashing together to conjure an image of Talos, the tale of the first robot. The 30-minute work for chamber ensemble highlights the ghostplate, a novel metallic instrument that Dafnis 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.

Talos Dreams 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.The performance will also feature the premiere of Medea: Rebirth and Destruction. It serves as a companion piece to Talos Dreams, inspired by the powerful sorceress responsible for the fall of Talos. Medea held the power of life and death in her hands, enabling her to break free of traditional societal roles. Medea: Rebirth and Destruction is an original collection of works for chamber ensemble and electronics by San Francisco Conservatory of Music composition students.


Ellie Falaris Ganelin, flute
Kyle Bruckmann, oboe
Ariel Wang, violin
Lewis Patzner, cello
Costas Dafnis, ghostplate

This event is made possible in part by the Society for Classical Studies Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities Initiative.

So ethereal! I loved the “controlled chaos” unpredictability of the ghost plate—evoking the unexpected behavior of the “made-not born” automaton Talos. This science-fiction soundscape really embodies the mechanical artificial being Talos, that cyborgian quality of part machine-part human tension is captured by each of the musicians. [What a] terrific concert—beyond all expectations!

Adrienne Mayor (author of Gods and Robots)

Past Performances

These virtual Zoom performances feature a mix of live performance and music videos produced especially for this format.  They include a 30-minute performance followed by a Q&A with the artists. Contact Ellie Falaris Ganelin for future booking inquiries.

April 25, 2021

Sponsored by University of California, Berkeley Departments of Classics and Rhetoric

May 16, 2021

Sponsored by Johns Hopkins University: History of Art, Alexander Grass Humanities Institute and Peabody Institute