Vassilis Chatzimakris is a composer, performer and music teacher. He is a PhD student (Composition) at Bath Spa University. He has an MA in Performance Design and Practice from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and a joint BA and MA in Music (Composition) from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He is a multi-instrumentalist playing the Cretan lyra, the mandolin, the ukulele and the guitar in performances all around Europe. He has been awarded with the Bath Spa Porthleven Prize 2013 and was a winner of AUT 2014 Open Call for Scores. His teaching experience expands to over a decade and ranges from personal tuition to teaching at Higher Education level.
Where did you study music? I am a PhD student of composition at Bath Spa University. Before my doctoral studies I completed an MA in Performance Design and Practice at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and a joint BA and MA in Music (Composition) at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Apart from my academic studies I was lucky enough to have been taught the lyra by some great masters of Cretan music, such as Zacharias Spyridakis, Rodamanthos Androulakis and Dimitris Sgouros.
What is your favourite piece of music/song? My favourite piece of music is John Cage’s4’33’’ (1952). It is a piece where the performer(s) don’t produce any sound at all for the designated time interval. The soundscape of the piece is created thus by the environmental sounds, including those made by the audience.
What single thing could you not live without? Extending the notion of “thing” to something that’s not an object, I could say that I cannot live without creativity. Felling creative is the most powerful feeling in my life, and quite addicting too. Second best thing would be to share this creativity with good friends and my family.
Who has inspired you the most? In my compositional practice, my most profound influences would be those by John Cage, George Brecht, and my teacher and mentor, James Saunders. In my performance and music perception, I am highly influenced by some great musicians, some of which happened to be my teachers, like Zacharias Spyridakis, Dimitris Sgouros, Elias Andreoulakis (lyra) and Andreas Giakoumakis (Byzantine Music), and others who were not, like Andreas Rodinos, Kostas Mountakis, and Chris Thile among others.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in the city of Heraklion in Crete, Greece. Crete is one of the most beautiful Greek islands, with a unique and alive music tradition.
Vassilis teaches at