Who we are.
The International Kalamata Music Days is a classical music festival taking place annually in Kalamata, southern Greece. The festival is organised by the Municipal Conservatory of Kalamata and the PHARIS – Kalamata Municipality Beneficiary Organisation and was founded by cellist Indira Rahmatulla, who serves as the Artistic Director, composer Stathis Giftakis and cellist Dimitris Lampos. Since its launch in the summer of 2017, the festival has established an international profile, by focusing on promotion of artistic expression and providing support of pedagogical work and music education.
- To promote music pedagogy and education through international masterclasses, seminars and workshops;
- To organize high-calibre and inspirational concerts and events;
- To enhance Kalamata’s music education initiatives;
- To create opportunities for international artistic exchange;
- To support local musicians and existing programmes;
- To feature emerging artists and ensembles through various performance opportunities;
- To facilitate communication and collaboration among Greek and international artists;
- To encourage collaborative projects that combine music with performing or visual arts;
- To promote and advocate for the social importance of arts and artists;
- To encourage and facilitate the advancement of music and cultural education of the community at large.
The International Kalamata Music Days was created as a response to the remarkable musical development in the region in the last decade. The vision of the festival is to continue this enhancement through education and international artistic exchange.
The history of the festival.
The International Kalamata Music Days festival was established after the successful violoncello masterclass of Indira Rahmatulla, which was organised by the Municipal Conservatory of Kalamata in 2016 with the support of the PHARIS – Kalamata Municipality Beneficiary Organisation and the help of the Association of Parents and Guardians of the Students and Friends of the Municipal Art Schools of Kalamata – TERPSIS. This annual festival is an initiative by cellist Indira Rahmatulla, composer and Artistic Director of the Municipal Conservatory of Kalamata Stathis Giftakis and cellist Dimitris Lampos. It is organised by the PHARIS – Kalamata Municipality Beneficiary Organisation, supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism as well as renowned Greek foundations through sponsorships and donations, such as the George & Victoria Karelia Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the Captain Vassilis and Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation. Since its launch in the summer of 2017, the festival established an international profile, which focuses on the promotion of artistic expression and the support of pedagogical/educational work.
Already since the first year of the International Kalamata Music Days, violinist Felix Froschhammer and pianist Alexia Mouza broadened the festival’s teaching faculty after joining forces with Indira Rahmatulla, who is currently serving as the festival’s Artistic Director whilst simultaneously continuing teaching at the annual violoncello masterclass. In the summer of 2018 countertenor Aris Christofellis, stage director Panagiotis Adam and the faculty members of the Mozarteum University Salzburg Christos Kanettis and Anita Mitterer joined the festival. During the 3rd International Kalamata Music Days (2019) composer and tutor at the Municipal Conservatory Benedetto Marcello of Venice Riccardo Vaglini, conductor Athanasia Kyriakidou and musicologist Katy Romanou were also invited to contribute to the festival’s pedagogical palette by holding special shorter seminars and workshops. Numerous young musicians from countries including Azerbaijan, Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Hungary, Ukraine and Turkey already visited Kalamata for an active participation in the masterclasses and to appear on stage.
The programme of the last few years included international educational collaborations and exchange programmes, for example with the International Academy “Strings in Motion” (Mozarteum University Salzburg, Embassy of the Republic of Austria in Athens – Greco-Austrian Music Summer), the Klezmagic Ensemble (Antre Foundation, Amsterdam), the wind orchestra Danubia Symphonic Winds (Embassy of the Republic of Austria in Athens – Greco-Austrian Music Summer), as well as co-productions with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Athens, the Kalamata International Dance Festival, the Society of Messenian Archaeological Studies and the Filmhouse – New Cinema Club of Kalamata. Among the artists who were invited to perform during the International Kalamata Music Days are leading international musicians. These include Danae Dörken, Titos Gouvelis, Benedict Klöckner, Angelos Liakakis, and Ilias Sdoukos, along with renowned ensembles such as the Arionas Gyftakis’ Jazz Quartet, the contemporary music focused ARTéfacts Ensemble, the ensemble specialized in early music Ex Silentio etc. The festival promotes and supports excellent local musicians and ensembles with opportunities to showcase their work and take part in larger projects. Some of those musicians are Kostas Galanis (piano), Aris Georgakopoulos (piano), Lucas Georgas (piano), Arionas Gyftakis (double basse), Giorgos Kladis (traditional percussion), Popi Malapani (piano), Nikos Palaiologos (oud), Katerina Palaiologou (soprano), Yannis Shymko (piano), Vicky Vassiliadi (flute), Anastasis Zafeiropoulos (piano), along with ensembles such as the Blues Escape, the “Melifono” Vocal Ensemble and the Youth Choir of the Municipal Conservatory of Kalamata.
The rich selection of venues and sites of the Messenian capital and its surrounding area, where the various concerts and pedagogical events have taken place, underline the solid presence of the festival in Kalamata’s urban structure as well as the openness of its activities to the general public. In addition to the Municipal Conservatory and the Philharmonic Amphitheatre of Kalamata, the International Kalamata Music Days have been present at the Studio and the Central Stage of Kalamata’s Dance Megaron, as well as at the Ekklesiasterion of Ancient Messene, the Kalamata’s Castle Amphitheatre, the Cultural Centre of Kalamata, the amphitheatre of Kalamata’s Music Gymnasium & Lyceum “Maria Callas” and the city’s main walkway and port among other locations. A significant amount of festival events have been with free entrance.
The International Kalamata Music Days festival is now one of the most successful music festivals in Greece and, according to radio critics, the artistic impetus and excellence with which is was born and established are impressive. Furthermore, the International Kalamata Music Days aims through its pedagogical and educational actions and innovative productions (that often combine music with other arts such as dance and cinema), to further the cultural cultivation of the public, as well as to improve and support the musical education in Kalamata. This can be displayed by, aside from the annual concert in schools and the scholarships given to promising young musicians of the city, the example of the festival’s initiative to repair the student string instruments of the Municipal Conservatory of Kalamata; a task which was accomplished by Artur Rahmatulla during the summer of 2018.
The continuation of this dynamic process together with the festival’s further qualitative development constitute the core objectives of its founding team. At the same time, the promotion of upcoming musicians as well as the active contribution to the musical dialogue, through unique and ground-breaking productions, along with a steady geographical opening of the festival’s activities outside of Kalamata’s urban borders, are also important components of its agenda. This urge of escaping the city’s boundaries mirrors the artistic impulse and growth of Kalamata’s musical scene as well as the international artistic exchange, which found fertile ground in the Messenian capital during the last decades – despite the severe economic and social consequences of the Greek Government-debt Crisis. The International Kalamata Music Days festival can be construed as the result and culmination of this artistic and pedagogical development. It is a development that no longer fits in the narrow urban borders of the city and seeks new and international chances for expression and educational exchange.
September 2020 – Programme Announcement
Dear music friends,
The International Kalamata Music Days will make their dynamic return at the end of September! From the 25th until the 29th September 2020, with a different event each evening, this concert series will feature innovative projects from acclaimed Greek and international artists.
This year turned out to be highly challenging for the arts and artists alike. After the cancellation of our masterclasses in July due to the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, we gave our best selves to reorganise a part of our concert programme in a way that adheres to all hygiene and safety regulations. This month’s festival edition is the final product of our efforts. It is organised by the PHARIS – Kalamata Municipality Beneficiary Organisation and the Municipal Conservatory of Kalamata with the support of the Region of Peloponnese and was adopted under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.
We are excited to welcome one of the most diverse and brilliant cellists of our times, Jean-Guihen Queyras, together with his son and extraordinary talented young painter Jérémie Queyras. They will intertwine Baroque and contemporary music with live painting performance. Violinist Jonian-Ilias Kadesha and his Caerus Ensemble will be another highlight of the festival. With a colourful variety of ensemble formations and solo violin pieces, this concert will concentrate on 20th-century and contemporary chamber music.
Pianist Manos Kitsikopoulos will perform compositions for piano solo by Liszt, Chopin and Konstantinidis. Furthermore, Arionas Gyftakis and his Jazz Trio will present a fresh concept of moving image accompaniment while aesthetically interacting with the film Daphnis and Chloe (1931) by poet and early Greek film pioneer Orestis Laskos. The film screening is a co-production with the Filmhouse - New Film Club of Kalamata and the Greek Film Archive.
Finally, pianist Alexia Mouza, violinist Felix Froschhammer and cellist Indira Rahmatulla will return to Kalamata to explore a world of Beethoven and Shostakovich, both of whom were revolutionary composers in their own right!
See our full concert programme here!
We cannot wait to see you all there and share with you the inspiration and beauty of music and arts!
The festival’s founding team
Indira Rahmatulla, Artistic Director
Stathis Giftakis, Financial Manager
Dimitris Lampos, Production Manager