Vlachopoulos' birthday was last week, and as you can guess this post is a small tribute to him.
Jannis Vlachopoulos is a Greek composer living in Berlin and on the Greek island of Patmos. He's own of the few I had the luck to work with personally -even if in this case, personally means through phone and post. In my series of concerts for the degree at the Sibelius Academy, I played with two great colleagues -Jaana and Silver- his trio for flute, cello, and piano. In fact, the first performance of this work found place in Thessaloniki on March 20th last year, and it was given by us in a concert organised by the Friends of Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra.
Before mentioning anything else, I should clearly state that Mr Vlachopoulos is a very kind person with real interest for his fellow humans. Possibly a religious person, he is involved with social and administrative work on Patmos. He is not ambitious, and definitely no egoist, something that -as I believe- had the cost of remaining rather unknown even to fellow musicians: since he's a very good composer, this is a shame.
He has composed a large number of works for diverse instruments. A crucial place in his output seem to take percussion instruments, in concertos (l'etoile de mer, 1981), chamber music (Präsens, 1999-2000), or even with electronic music (Sackgasse, 1977). His most successful work is without any doubt "Symposium" for solo timpanist and orchestra. It has been performed on numerous occasions from famous orchestras and soloists. The complete catalogue of his published works can be found here. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any biography on the web. A recording of the first movement of Präsens (for piano and 6 percussionists) -a sample of it- can be found here:
The second recording available in the market includes Psalmos I and II for perscussion quartet performed by the Düsseldorfer Schlagzeug Ensemble. Unfortunately, I couldn't find that either on the web, so if you want to search for it here's its serial number: WDR/Koch-Schwann 3-1234-2. Cover follows.
I am looking forward for a co-operation with him in the future.