The PolyPhonia Society
PolyPhonia is a professional vocal ensemble from Athens, Greece, founded in March 1994 by its director Nikolaos Kotrokois. The capital P in the middle of the ensemble’s name is just for underlying the Greek origin of the compound word “polyphonia”.
The repertory of PolyPhonia includes works from the Middle Ages (Perotin, Vitry, Machaut, Landini), as well as contemporary music, but has a special focus upon renaissance a cappella music. Concerning the latter, the ensemble has interpreted many composers from early renaissance music to early baroque: Dufay, Binchois, Ockeghem, Obrecht, Josquin, Willaert, Lanier, Encina, Palestrina, Janequin, Isaac, Leontaritis, Lasso, De Monte, Gesualdo, Villiers, Gabrieli, Hassler, Banchieri, Marenzio, Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Cavalli and Schütz.
An important mission of PolyPhonia is the premier recording of the complete works of Franghiskos Leontaritis, the only known Greek composer of western renaissance music. The focusing of the ensemble on F. Leontaritis’ work resulted in the recording of its first CD, released in special edition on FM Records (March 1997) in Europe and the USA. The CD received critical acclaims by the international early music magazine Goldberg and reliable Greek magazines and newspapers. The second CD containing Leontaritis’ works was recently released (February 2001) on the same label and has already received critical acclaims by the most reliable greek music magazines. Note that PolyPhonia is the first Greek vocal ensemble which records western renaissance music.
In the context of a CD-series presenting Greek Classic’s masterpieces, members of the ensemble performed poems by D. Solomos, set to music by N. Mantzaros and N. Kotrokois, under the overall artistic direction of the distinguished tragedienne A. Synodinou. The CD was produced by the Holy Monastery of Koutloumousi, Mount Athos (October, 1998). It is the first time a CD produced by a Greek Orthodox Monastery contains western music.
The ensemble, under the direction of N. Kotrokois, has given concerts in Italy and Germany and numerous concerts in Athens and other places in Greece. They often perform together with distinguished soloists of organ and period instruments. Attempting, also, to present in parallel western and eastern music of the same period, they have a collaboration in regular basis with musicians specialized on byzantine chant. The future plans of the ensemble include more concerts in Europe (Belgium, France, Germany and Italy) and the USA.
PolyPhonia has a collaboration with the Greek National Radio, on which the ensemble has made several live broadcasts. Such a broadcast took place in the Orthodox Cathedral of Athens (January, 1998), where PolyPhonia and the noted Greek Byzantine Choir of Lycourgos Angelopoulos interpreted Leontaritis and Byzantine melodists, respectively. The ensemble and their director have also appeared on the prize-winning cultural programme “Plus and Minus” of the National Television (NET).