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Nikos Skalkotas was one of the most important classical music composers of Greece. He was born in 1904 in Chalkis and died in 1949 in Athens.

His bust is located at Athanatwn (=Immortals) Square, near to Paralia of Chalkis and old bridge of Evripos.

Biography of Nikos Skalkotas:

Nikos Skalkottas was born in Halkis in 1904 and died in Athens in 1949. Very early on he started violin lessons with his father and uncle. He continued studying at the Athens Conservatory and graduated in 1920. From 1921 to 1933 he lived in Berlin, where he first took violin lessons with Willy Hess. In 1923 he decided to give up his career as a violinist and become a composer. He studied composition with Paul Kahn, Paul Juon, Kurt Weill, Philipp Jarnach and Arnold Schönberg. In 1933, when Hitler came to power, Skalkottas returned to Athens, where he earned a living playing in different orchestras.

Skalkottas' early works, most of which he wrote in Berlin and some of those written in Athens, are lost. The earliest of his works available to us today are dating from 1922-24 and are piano compositions as well as the orchestration of "Cretan Feast" by Dimitris Mitropoulos. Among the later works written in Berlin are the sonata for solo violin, several works for piano, chamber music and some symphonic works. During the period 1931- 1934 Skalkottas did not compose anything. He started composing again in Athens continued until he died. His works comprise symphonic works (Greek Dances, the symphonic overture Return of Ulysses, the fairy drama Mayday Spell, the second symphonic suite, the ballet The Maiden and Death, the Classical Symphony for winds, a Sinfonietta and several concertos), chamber music works, as well as vocal works.

Skalkottas died unexpectedly in 1949, leaving some symphonic works with incomplete orchestration. Besides his musical work, Skalkottas compiled an important theoretical work, consisting of several "musical articles", a treatise on orchestration, musical analyses etc. Skalkottas soon shaped his personal features of musical writing so that any influence of his teachers was soon assimilated creatively in a manner of composition that is absolutely personal and recognizable. Thus - in view of his works available to us - Skalkottas' evolution as a composer follows certain invariable axes that define his confrontation with the historical, technical and musical challenges of his epoch, throughout his life.


> The Friends of NIKOS SKALKOTAS Official Web site

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