By Catherine Tsounis
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”- Plato.
Walking in Astoria Park can be an educational experience. “I met a young couple with a child,” said Maria Vartholomeos, Community activist/Board member of the Enosis Evrytanon Amerikis “To Karpenisi” society. “Pericles Kanaris introduced himself as a Greek because he heard us speaking Greek. His mother’s family is from my husband Tony’s island of Andros. Pericles is an international musician. His West side concert made history, televised internationally on Greek television.”
I interviewed this exciting, humble musician to learn about his “Up for Air” concert. “Up for Air was held at Symphony Space, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, on June 8, 2022. I composed this after the Pandemic ended. We are returning back to oxygen. For 3 years, I could not play. Everyone needed a breath of fresh air to return to normal life. That is why I named the concert ‘Up for Air.’ ERT Greek television contacted me and said they will televise it on Greek television, because of the enthusiasm of all for my music.”
The concert was broadcasted on ERT World and Voice of Greece on January 29, 2023, at 13:00 twice. and repeated at 00:00 midnight Greek time. ERTFLIX aired a concert on January 30, 2023. The NY General Consul of Greece supported the live concert. ERT World broadcasted for the first time a concert by a Greek artist living abroad. They are attempting to bring attention to the unique artists of Greeks Overseas.
“Why did I move to Astoria?” He explained, “I came to New York not knowing anyone. I wanted to go somewhere where Greeks live. There is a Greek community with society centers, churches, schools, restaurants, and businesses. I did not have to leave Greece. I came for musical opportunities. America is a land of opportunity. Creativity, and advancement is encouraged.” I encourage everyone to visit my concert at Free steaming https://bit.ly/3Hrlb91. Everyone likes free stuff.” His sense of humor was evident throughout the interview.
His origins are from Andros and Psara, Chios. “We left Andros 2-3 generations ago to immigrate to Alexandria, Egypt,” the composer explained. “Nasser forced all Europeans to leave Egypt in 1956. We returned to Athens. I am a descendant of Constantine Kanaris, from my father’s side.”
Constantine Kanaris or Canaris, was a Greek admiral, Prime Minister, and a hero of the Greek War of Independence. During the war, Kanáris contributed his own ship to the fleet of the Greek navy. He soon achieved fame through his effective use of fireships. On June 18, 1822, off the island of Chios, he blew up the Turkish admiral’s flagship and so harassed the Turkish fleet that it retreated to the Dardanelles.1 off the coast of Chios. Dionisios Solomos famous 1825 epigram States Glory (a woman in white) honors the dead Greeks, in a landscape of total destruction. This is musician Kanaris” legacy from his father, a civil engineer.
He was educated at Berklee College on scholarships. “I received my education on scholarships,” he explained. “America encourages excellent international students. This is the Land of Opportunity. I write film scores for movies, commercials, and related work. I have taught as an adjunct professor at NYU.” Listening to his online concert is calming and inspiring with everyday’s world news. Enjoy an escape: listen to “Up for Air” concert by Pericles Kanaris.
Free streaming of the full concert at https://bit.ly/3Hrlb91