New Music USA Commission for Evis Sammoutis for 'Nicosia Etudes'

We are thrilled that earlier this year, Evis Sammoutis was awarded a commission from New Music USA towards the composition of ‘Nicosia Etudes’, a series of 6 etudes for solo violin, composed especially for Peter Sheppard Skaerved.

‘Nicosia Etudes’ is the continuation of a thriving collaboration between Evis and violin virtuoso Peter Sheppard Skaerved, who has been performing, filming and recording Evis’ solo and chamber works for over a decade.

The six etudes will be a complete cycle in their own merit but will also serve as preparation towards a substantial new work that Evis is composing for Peter Sheppard Skaerved, entitled the ‘Nicosia Concerto’. The first two etudes of the cycle have already been composed, which Peter Sheppard Skaerved has performed (since its premiere in June 2016) in various diverse venues, such as the British Museum in London, the Bergen International Festival in Norway, the Tianjin Conservatory of Music in China, the Compass Music and Arts Center in Vermont (USA) and Ithaca College (USA) in addition to performances in Nicosia, Cyprus.

The remaining four etudes will be composed in 2017, and each will be premiered at different venues around the world, culminating in the performance of the complete cycle at Ithaca College, NY.

This project benefits from an additional collaboration with Professor Timothy Hsu, Visiting Assistant Professor at the Center for Music Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Professor Hsu and his team are helping Evis create, among other projects, a new motorized bow that will be employed for the first time in the final ‘Nicosia Etude’ and will also be used extensively in the upcoming ‘Nicosia Concerto’.

The last divided capital in Europe, Nicosia is an extraordinary city known for its history, architecture and diverse cultural landscape. Nicosia’s numerous workshops, including carpenters, metalworkers and coffin makers, and its open markets give the old town its distinct “soundtrack.” These sounds blend with busy roads, street coffee shops, prayers from mosques across the border and dozens of languages and dialects spoken by the numerous ethnicities occupying its space. It is a place of contrasts, of barbed wire and contemporary galleries, a melting pot of cultures, ideas and ethnicities. All the above have inspired Evis to embark on this cycle of works.

Evis has stated that he and Peter Sheppard Skaerved share similar visions: ‘we believe in the creation of new works as a product of collaboration between performer and composer, often outside the norms of prescribed workshops. We also feel that this process benefits from a rather public output from start to finish, and we try to engage audiences on multiple levels: through live performance, lectures and the creation of a webpage. This project is no exception.’

Support from New Music USA will fund the composition and creation of the remaining four etudes and support materials needed for the creation of the new bow.

(14 Aug 2017)

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