A guitar player, composer and teacher, an artist of collaborations and collective projects, Makrygiannakis is a creator that succeeds in combining and blending features from different music fields and eras.
One of the most versatile and active guitar players of his generation, Kostas Makrygiannakis is entitled to take pride in a rich 25-year journey in the music scene, bearing a unique eclectic charm.
A guitar player, composer and teacher, an artist of collaborations and collective projects, Makrygiannakis is a creator that succeeds in combining and blending features from different music fields and eras: from chamber music, contemporary music for guitar and the up-to-date rendition of old hits, all the way to conceptual music and pop.
He has joined forces with distinguished musicians from Greece and abroad, both in terms of hosting concerts and releasing music albums. Among them stand out violinist Rosemary Campton, tenor James Geer, soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu, mezzo-soprano Theodora Baka, pianist George-Emmanuel Lazaridis, songwriters Yannis Angelakas, Foivos Delivorias, Manolis Famellos and Maria Thoidou, as well as many actors and dancers. Moreover, he serves as the artistic director of the Municipal Conservatory of Thessaloniki, and has been a founding member and the Artistic Director of the international art community “Music Village”, as well as the driving force behind the guitar-oriented chamber music festival Guitar Plus.
He took on the guitar at the age of eleven, but music had already been a part of his life ever since his early childhood years. “Music sneaked into my life before I knew it, through our house radio. Like a stray cat that finds an open door and sprawls on the sofa. The guitar’s sound was matched by a powerful image: the one of Paco de Lucia in some music intermissions of the public television (ERT), in the late 70s. I can trace no specific triggering or incentive, apart from my desire to do something I like for a living, something that would give me room to express myself. Sound was my choice because that’s where I mostly feel at home”.
He studied music in Thessaloniki (Contemporary Conservatory of Thessaloniki / Macedonian Conservatory, a student of Stavros Sourgounis) and London (Trinity College of Music / University of Sussex, a student of Nicola Hall and Colin Downs).
Ever since 1997 he has made live appearances in Greece, the UK, Germany, Cyprus, Romania, Denmark and the Czech Republic. He has written music for fairy-tales and dance performances and has a close partnership with sax player Theofilos Sotiriadis as a duet. He has recorded for ERT, EBU, BBC and various TV and radio stations. He is currently preparing a new solo album, while taking part in the projects of two fellow musicians. “I’m head over heels for all these things,” as he says.
In 2006 he founded, alongside guitarist and lute player Thymios Atzakas and pianist George Lazaridis, the international artistic community “Music Village”, a
one-of-a-kind project, where he still holds the position of the artistic coordinator. “Music Village is my lifelong school”, as he points out. “I feel very blessed to have come in contact with so many creative people, who wholeheartedly share their inspiration, meticulousness and livelihood. I also feel lucky for having formed a large international community that dares new things, digs up, shares and finds itself in the spearhead of new tendencies. You cannot imagine how many projects, which ended up becoming worldwide hits, sprang out of the Music Village!”
In 2012 he took over as the artistic director of the Municipal Conservatory of Thessaloniki. As he explains, this post paves new ways for his artistic quest: “It brings me to meaningful contact with the grassroots of music teaching, offering me the chance to give shape, alongside my colleagues and the institution’s administration, to many of my visions within the framework of music education. Moreover, as the artistic director of the Municipal Conservatory of Thessaloniki, I am given the chance to enrich the curriculum by inserting up-to-date art fields that walk in parallel with the circular studies and in harmony with the educational practices, working in the benefit of the Conservatory’s students.”
It is commonly regarded that times of crisis give birth to artistic creation. “I believe that art production has never gone through a phase of ridicule, or will in the future, despite the ridiculousness we often encounter in our everyday life. Therefore, with all the ups and downs that may come along, the birth process is neverending. “Inspiration may emerge in the darkest of times and expression manages to find escape valves, at least in the societies where you don’t risk getting in trouble because you say or do things that might annoy some people. At the end of the day, the effort to smother creation and expression may turn out to be a kind of suicide for the oppressors. What an irony!”
As for his greatest influence as an artist, apart from music, here’s what he has to say: “Life itself, what else! In particular, the journey through and around others, through and around oneself, the transition from routine to surprise, from the insignificant to the grandiose.”