“Conversation with Simon” by Alekos K. Vretos
Yunan (Subways Music) by Alekos K. Vretos
Dedicated to Alekos K. Vretos' Master, Simon Shaheen.
Alekos K. Vretos was born in Athens in 1976. In 1978 his family moved to Argos were he grew up. His father was in love with music so he took him for piano lessons at the age of 3. That was Alekos' first contact with music. His first piano teacher was Mrs. Eleni Apostolaki. At the age of 16 he decided that his root in life should be music.
Yiannis Iordanoglou was the first to open his eyes on what music and being a musician is really about. In 1993, Alekos settled in Athens were he studied classical music with Panagiotis Adam (harmony) and in the Athenaeum Conservatory. At the same time, because he was a jazz lover, he enrolled in the Phillipos Nakas Conservatory were he studied jazz with Markos Alexiou (improvisation), Takis Paterelis (composition and arranging), Pantelis Benetatos (Jazz piano), Spiros Panagiotopoulos (ensemble training) and Kostas Baltazanis (improvisation and jazz harmony).
In 1995, Berklee College of Music came to the Nakas Conservatory were it held seminars under the name "Berklee School in Greece". Alekos won an award for "Outstanding Musicianship" and the doors of Berklee College were open for him. Soon after that he won a Phillipos Nakas scholarship for the year 1995.
In September 1996 he enrolled in Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. There he studied as a jazz composition major. Some of the teachers that gave him more insight for music were Vuk Kullenovic (composition), Ray Santisi (jazz piano), Dick Lowell (jazz composition), David Callahan (conducting), and Dennis Grillo (orchestration).
During his studies in Boston he performed extensively as a piano player in jazz ensembles and big bands. He graduated in 1999. A year earlier he took on the ud (Arabic lute) and he fell in love with an instrument that had nothing to do with jazz but had a lot to do with Greece and the Mediterranean region. He met the great Master Simon Shaheen that gave him the first steps towards the Arabic music and ud playing.
Alekos considers, Master Shaheen, his mentor and his musical benefactor. They see each other once a year at Master Shaheen's Arabic Music Retreat, where Alekos has attended from 1998-2004. Of course, Alekos had lessons with other teachers in Arabic music such as Marcel Khalife, Bassam Saba, Dr. Ali Jihad Racy, Dr. George Sawa, William Shaheen and Charbel Rouhana. He has attended many lectures in Arabic music as well and in 2004 he won a gold medal in an ud improvisation and artistry contest in the U.S.
As a professional he has performed with different ensembles in Greece with great reviews on his playing and composing. Some of the musicians that he has worked with as an udist are Yiorgos Despotidis, Nikos Androulakis, Panagiotis Mylonas, Kostas Thomaidis, Yiorgos Boufidis and others. Also, he has appeared on TV as a permanent udist in the "Greek Tradition show" in the Hellenic Television for the past three years. He has worked in the Music Ensembles of the Hellenic Radio for over two years as a ud soloist and arranger. He is currently waiting for his appointement in the Great Music Library in the Athens Megaron, as a supervisor in the digitalization of the "Mikis Theodorakis" archives. He conducted a research in cataloging the same archive in 1998.
Some of his other activities were: Artistic Director for Music Affairs for the 11th and 16th seminars for microsurgery in 1995 and 2000, Student super visor and management assistant in the Berklee music library 1997-1999, Boston Jazz Society Member 1996-1999, Cataloger for the Berklee archives 1997-1999, Award for community service in the city of Boston (piano teaching for unprivileged children) 1997, Award for cultural achievement for the CD Yunan. Municipal organisation for the Arts and Spotrs of Argolida (Cultural Awards of the Municipality of Argolida 2005). Assistant speaker for the MLA (Music Library Association) 1998. Alekos K. Vretos was the Music Director for his own ensemble called "The Meliti Ensemble" untill 2005. Their first release Yunan is very promising. He has collaborated with the great composer Mikis Theodorakis as supervisor of the Romanos Editions which manages the total work of the composer.
Broken link? Report it to us
This track appears by permission of contributing artist and/or record company.
It is for personal use only; no other rights are granted or implied.