It is widely said that good musicians perform equally well in the studio, on stage or in the shower. That tends to be true, but it’s also true that some venues (such as the ancient theaters of Epidaurus and the Herod Atticus in Athens) offer so much atmosphere that they help to produce even stronger performances. It’s especially true when it comes to young artists who are just starting out and are easily inspired. The 2,500-year-old Pythagoreion Theater on the island of Samos, where the Samos Young Artists Festival is taking place, is one such venue.
Held by the Schwarz Foundation, the festival features accomplished young musicians from all over the world in a promising musical program. “Our goal is to present all kinds of cultivated music. That doesn’t mean that we’ll only be hearing classical works, however. On the contrary, there will be a good dose of contemporary works, as well as a traditional music performance by Savina Yannatou (August 13) in harmony with the island setting,” said the festival’s young artistic director, Alexis Karaiskakis-Nastos. A skilled cellist, he and other Greek musicians have a stronger presence than ever at this year’s event. “From the start we wanted to bring more Greek artists, to show that there are many talented ones here. Aside from the successful Leonidas Kavakos, there are also other equally remarkable albeit less well-known musicians,” Nastos explains.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of the festival is that at a time of global uncertainty, an island like Samos, just 1.2 kilometers from the Turkish mainland, is serving as a bridge for people to come together, cooperate, and shatter discriminatory views. “We have plenty of Turkish guests this year, and, for the first time, a Greek-Turkish artistic partnership, aiming to show how music can be an example of openness and conversation,” Nastos concludes.
Concerts take place at the Pythagorion Theater, beginning at 8.30 p.m. each day through August 14.