SF State to showcase Greek culture through music


Illustration by Roxanne Hernandez

SF State’s Center for Modern Greek Studies is thinking outside the box with unconventional ways to showcase Greek heritage.

Teaming up with the Greek Chamber Music Project, the department is putting on a show full of traditional folk compositions, performed by Greek musicians, in Knuth Hall March 9.

The Greek Chamber Music Project performs classical and jazz music by Greek composers, shedding light on little-known works, as well as visiting familiar songs in a new way,” according to The Greek Chamber Music Project website.

Ellie Falaris Ganelin, flutist for the music group, is organizing the event and believes this is a great opportunity for students to gain knowledge of other classical musicians beyond what is commonly heard.

“I mean the really neat thing for the audience is that when you hear classical music you’re thinking of Mozart and Beethoven,” Ganelin said. “So it’s a good opportunity to get exposed to composers you’ve never heard of before.”

The event aims to expose people who don’t come from Greek cultural backgrounds, and provide an authentic listening experience for those of Greek heritage.

“A lot of Greeks don’t know of the composers selected for our program and a lot of times that means it’s not performed very much,” Ganelin said.

Ganelin has partnered with the director of the Center of Modern Greek Studies, David Leitao, to shed light on a lesser-known aspect of Greek culture.

“The mission for the Center of Modern Greek Studies on campus is to make people aware of the exciting and vibrant cultures in Greece,” Leitao said. “We want to expose students to this area of classical music that is not that well-known.”

The Chamber Music Project will be performing compositions such as “Sextet” by Mikis Theodorakis, “Ironic Dance Suite” by Petros Sakelliou, “Island Songs” by John Psathas and the U.S. premiere of Thanos Ermilios’ “Greek Dances.”

Ganelin is also working with pianist, Elektra Schmidt, bassist, Schuyler Karr and the Amaranth Quartet to perform these unique scores.

“It’s very challenging for the players but I’m very excited to have them in our program,” Ganelin said about the compositions.

This is just a step forward in increasing the awareness of diversity on SF State’s campus, according to Leitao.

“I think that really what we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to showcase the diversity of San Francisco State and the cultures in the Bay Area, and the diversity of the world, and I think that’s exciting,” Leitao said.