Konstantia Gourzi

conductor, composer
biography

Often one will find Konstantia Gourzi’s name listed as both the composer and the conductor of a concert. In August 2016 she conducted the premiere of her piece Ny-él, Two Angels in the White Garden at the Lucerne Festival, a festival commission and her debut with the Lucerne Festival Academy. Only a month before Lucerne Mecklenburg-Vorpommern dedicated a whole evening to the Athens-born artist showcasing the complexity of her work.

Konstantia receives regular commissions from musicians and is often involved in performances. She enjoys a close working relationship with musicians including Nils Mönkemeyer, Francois Leleux, William Youn, Claudio Bohórguez, the Heath, Minguet and Signum Quartets as well as with the visual artists Alexander Polzin and Jannis Kounellis.

Her artistic aim is to create connections between traditional and contemporary sounds in her compositions and as a creator by putting new emphasis on programming conceptually.

She has composed opera, film music, works for theatre and orchestra as well as numerous solo pieces and chamber music. Her music has been commissioned by Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Ensemble Musica Nova Israel, State Orchestra Athens, the festival Kasseler Tagen für Neue Musik, Staatsoper München and Patrimonio Nacional Spain. On more than one occasion the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung contributed generously to these commissions.

Numerous radio broadcasts, TV programmes and live streams document her concerts. At the end of 2014 ECM released her debut Album Music for String Quartet and Piano that received the highest critical acclaim. She also has released recordings with NEOS, NAXOS and SONY classical.

Always searching for new ways of presenting contemporary music, Konstantia – like her mentor Claudio Abbado – has founded several ensembles and concert series. The Ensemble attacca berlin, created during her student time led to teaching at Hochschule Hans-Eisler in Berlin where she started the Ensemble Echo. In 2002 she was appointed Professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Munich where the ensemble oktopus für musik der moderne was installed.

In 2007 the Netzwerk und Ensemble opus21musikplus was formed with the aim of opening up contemporary classical music to other forms of art and genres of music with The Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich being a favourite venue to explore these creative avenues.

Konstantia Gourzi lives and works in Munich as well as in Ägina, Greece. Since April 2017 she has been composer in residence at the International artist community Villa Concordia in Bamberg.


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Short Profile

NameGourzi, Konstantia
Born inGreece, Europe
Home LocationMunich, Germany
Main languageGerman
Additional languages Greek, Modern (1453-),  English,  French 
attended UniversitiesUdK (Universität der Künste Berlin)
Reviews
2016-08-23 Basler Zeitung , Basel
"

The great awakening occurred with the orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy, directed by the conductor and composer Konstantia Gourzi (54). In "Le Sacrifice" by Iannis Xenakis she brought out sharp shafts of sound, calculated to slay the mythical bull to whom the work is dedicated. After that we were able to relax in Per Nørgård's "Voyage into the Golden Screen" where trance-like effects were achieved with tiny sound displacements. In György Ligeti's "Concert Romanesc" the orchestra moved virtuosically between fiery dance rhythms and mountain idylls evoked by horn motifs.


The high point was heralded as Gourzi's new work entitled "Ny-él, Two Angels in the White Garden". This is part of a series of compositions devoted to angels by the Greek-born composer, who now lives in Munich. At the premiere, conducted by Gourzi herself, the many archaic rhythms and wistful wind melodies were striking. In between, there were repeated disruptive sound effects until the orchestra reached an idiosyncratic shimmering sound in the last movement.

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