Versatile, inquisitive, and active, George-Emmanuel Lazaridis has an illustrious 30-year journey as a soloist, composer and educator, both in Greece and abroad, under his belt

George-Emmanuel Lazaridis 

Without music, life makes no sense to me

Text: Chryssa Nanou | Photographs: George-Emmanuel Lazaridis Archive
Γιώργος-Εμμανουήλ Λαζαρίδης

“Music has been following me ever since I saw the light of day,” says George-Emmanuel Lazaridis. Α phrase that could sound over the top or pompous, but not in this case, where it is nothing more than a simple and straightforward acknowledgement of his bond with music. After all, he has been a pianist and a composer since his early childohood. “I cannot recall myself without music. I don’t know how the world could be without music. I don’t know how to live without music. In that sense, music has so far defined every step, color, scent, feeling, and action in my life, voluntarily or involuntarily. I do not cherish music, I am not in love with music, I live inside her, she is me, and I am her.”

Versatile, inquisitive, and active, George-Emmanuel Lazaridis has an his illustrious 30-year journey as a soloist, composer and educator, both in Greece and abroad, under his belt. He has performed hundreds of concerts at international festivals and prestigious musical venues, such as Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Musikverein, Cologne Philharmonic, having collaborated forces with top-class orchestras, including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, London’s Royal Philharmonic Society, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the Philharmonic orchestras of Munich and Strasbourg. He has joined forces with renowned conductors, among whom we encounter names such as Yuri Temirkanov, Sir Neville Marriner, Mikko Franck, Ingo Metzmacher, Michel Tabachnik, and Maxim Shostakovich, while having participated in internationally acclaimed chamber music ensembles – Medici Quartet, Ysaÿe Quartet, Wiener Sextet, Prism Quartet to name a few – and several legendary figures such as Leonidas Kavakos, Barbara Hendricks, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Dimitris Sgouros.

Born in Thessaloniki in 1978, George E. Lazaridis made his public debut as a pianist-composer at the age of six years old. He is a graduate of both the Royal College of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatory in London, an apprentice of Domna Evnouhidou, Yonty Solomon and Alfred Brendel, a recipient of the RCM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother awards, as well as a fellow of the Hattori, Onassis and A.G. Leventis and Solti Foundations. He has received a multitude of honorary distinctions, among which the Academy of Athens award, while having gained numerous first-prize awards in international music contests. He has taught in seminars held by English, American and Spanish universities, and has served as jury member in international piano contests.

His albums have been critically praised in the pages of the international press, while his recordings have been hailed as benchmark performances by international music magazines. His recording of Robert Schumann’s Papillons was ranked as one of the all-time best. His renditions have been described as “beyond any comparison” and “special to the point of preserving their uniqueness even matched up against names such as Argerich, Horowitz, Brendel, and Zimmerman”, by BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone Music Magazine, respectively.

Starting from September 2010 and all the way to December 2018, George E. Lazaridis served as the artistic director of the Thessaloniki Concert Hall Organization and played a key role in the creation of important educational institutions, such as the “MOYSA” Youth Symphony Orchestra and the International Choral Festival. His term of office at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall was a pivotal point in his life. In the time of the Greek financial crisis, I had dreamt of innumerable “abnormal” ways through which music could contribute to the healing of our society’s wounds. Some of them I did realize, with the help of my friends at the TCH, but the dream of concerts taking place on rooftops remained unfulfilled. Imagine a garden on every rooftop, and a music stage in every garden… What I mean to say is that these “unprecedented circumstances” that put us on trial often give rise to unprecedented inspiration and courage, igniting that inner force that eventually elevates us, as a whole, to the next level of existence. In my view, this is what will spring out of this ordeal humanity is faced up against. Therefore, the music of the “next day” will be a new kind of music, while humanity will be ready to hear with “new ears”. At the same time, nothing will have been uprooted.”

George E. Lazaridis has his eyes focused on the next day, on what the future will bring about. “Alongside technology and human intelligence, a new code of artistic practice and communication is bound to evolve, leading to a new era of artistic creation and conception”, he points out. In any case, he does not belong to the kind of people who are easily disheartened. It is silly to stop dreaming every time the road gets too uphill, dangerous and dark. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. However, if we fail to discern light amidst the darkness, we won’t be able to see the light even when the darkness disappears”. Even amidst these times of hardship he keeps cherishing the mundane, trivial things of everyday life, hoping for “a little less ambition, a little more compassion, and a greater respect towards all the subtle joys we take delight in without appreciating the magic of everyday life, the inspiration it offers us, or the greatness of the simplicity found in the core of happiness,” he goes on to say.

As an artist who lives and breathes in a world of sounds, silence is of fundamental importance to him. What he truly longs for is to “reacquaint myself with valuable – as well as necessary with regard to my mental survival – inner chords. To determine some philosophical elaborations of pivotal importance, without which, as many concerts as I may give, as many works as I may compose, I would be “only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

George-Emmanuel Lazaridis doesn’t refrain from showing his enthusiasm over his latest project, the international educational program Make MusiCoviT, planned and carried out by himself and his wife, pianist, principal conductor and head musician of El Sistema Greece, Safira Antzus-Ramos, in 2020. Children from all over the world worked together for the joined composition of an original and multilayered musical work, delivering a VR co-operative concert, without ever meeting in person.

As to what he is anticipating in 2021, the internationally acclaimed composer replies: “Yet another revolution of our collective consciousness, “just a little more, so we can rise a little higher”. But most of all, I am looking forward to my son’s first birthday”.





George-Emmanouel Lazaridis

George-Emmanuel Lazaridis

updates George-Emmanuel Lazaridis Make MusiCoviT “We wanted to make music, even beyond the boundaries of music itself”. Amidst the pandemic,