Stories Talk | Presentation Skills and Effective Storytelling
We encountered Alexandros Livitsanos, composer, pianist, and orchestrator, thanks to the musical "Matchbox | War in four walls," which he created with the actor and musician Yiannis Niarros for the Onassis Foundation. Alexandros Livitsantos is a unique, bright, excellent musical mind and a genius and sensitive person who excels on the international stage.
By Mia Kollia
Where did you grow up? What role did your family play in shaping your future?
I grew up mainly in the center of Athens and my teenage years in Parnitha, having loved both places equally.
The family is a springboard for our subsequent course since it functions as a laboratory where we test our interaction and the action-reaction relationship with the world around us.
Although I am not a parent myself, I would only offer advice to observe and listen very carefully to the child and its needs, as each of us is born with exceptional characteristics.
Did you have a particular inclination as a child? How much effort did it take to further your development?
I remember myself as a child obsessed and in love with the sound and its components. According to the words of my colleagues today and my teachers then, I had a particular inclination, but in the end, this was of little importance for my development. The biggest challenge is to be able to tame and fit any preference within a structured work to communicate with the audience. That requires discipline and challenging work. Art is free and equal to all, talented and not.
Is music education different from education in general?
In Greece, it is different because musical performance as an entity has been noticeably absent from general education in recent years. No educational system that aspires to produce intelligent citizens can not have the individual's contact with Art as a priority.
What were the most significant challenges, how did you overcome them, and what did they teach you?
The difficulties I have encountered in my life so far are no different from other people. More or less, all people have experienced losses and disasters, especially in the last extraordinary years we have gone through as humanity.
So far, the epitome of all these experiences has been the realization of man's small size in the context of time and life. This realization made me focus more on those around me and how I will create a beautiful daily everyday life, beginning with the simplest and smallest of things.
How challenging was it for you to overcome difficulties with so much competition?
The hardest part for me in this whole process is the project composition. Now the geographical barriers have been broken in terms of each country's tradition in the musical field. What interests a great ensemble, an orchestra, or even a music publishing house, is the material itself.
How did you manage the first extensive recognition, fame, and acceptance?
I am focused on receiving the recognition and acceptance of many of my fellow artists within and outside the borders, and this moves me and gives me courage.
How do you receive the vast acceptance of your project, Matchbox?
The process of composing such a project was initially enjoyable, highly demanding, and arduous. With Giannis Niarros, we worked in absolute harmony with great inspiration and appetite for these 2.5 years. In addition, we outdid ourselves in managing the material itself so that it didn't undermine the core of Economides' film, and the result didn't lean towards gritty drama or parody.
In this case, we have jointly enjoyed the enormous acceptance because this project was not purely our personal affair; it was mainly a big bet of Afroditis Panagiotakos and Yiannis Economides, who so generously gave us the complete liberty to create freely.
As a composer, "Matchbox" allowed me to present my view of the modern Greek musical process in an unbiased manner. It was an incredibly liberating process.
Where does it come from, and how do you interpret your musical pluralism? Where do you look for inspiration?
Willingly or not, a person who has grown up in a Mediterranean and European capital, such as Athens, cannot escape from the polyphony around him at such a short distance. However, inspiration comes from everywhere, and for me, as I get older, the things that inspire me change constantly. In the last year, nature has been my primary source of inspiration.
How challenging is it to break the taboo that classical music is serious and a composer should not create any other form of music?
I hope that new generations of listeners and musicians don't even know what is "taboo" about an art form. Our age is "meta," which means that everyone has seen it all and probably done most of it. And so, they think differently.
Managing groups and people. What is needed, and how do you experience it?
Love, seriousness, empathy, and boundaries are the ingredients to move toward our goal every time.
What is music? What becomes of the musical instrument or the sheet music in your hands?
Music is the fixed point from which I observe the world.
It is the yardstick and the scale for any of my recruits. The more I get in touch with my soul and inner hearing, the more I move away from the instruments of music, such as the actual musical instrument or the computer.
What are your immediate plans?
Shortly, I am preparing the Soundtrack for an international orchestra production and a trombone concerto to be performed by the great Achilleas Liarmakopoulos. Also, we are immediately starting the recording of "Matchbox", of which I will oversee the production.