“Pictures of the floating world” is the subtitle of the work Slow Fires of Autumn by the American composer George Rochberg, who abandoned the twelve-tone technique when he lost his son, turning his attention to musical idioms that could more directly express archetypal human emotions. Indeed, our world seems a floating world with continents floating on vast oceans. With the aquatic element present (Takemitsu: TowardstheSea), the concert program traverses the continents, bringing to life images and soundscapes that each touch in an idiosyncratic way on emotions that are universal. Piazzolla’s sensualism towards Takemitsu’s serenity, Rochberg’s search for psychic balance towards the emotional immersion of a peaceful dawn as described by Shankar, or the overflowing romanticism of Saint-Saens, are some of the nodes of this crossing that, while highlighting the different aesthetic approaches, reminds us of our unchanging common denominator: our common humanity.
One of the most active flutists of his generation, Nikos Nikopoulos has been the first leader of the National Opera Orchestra since 2000, while he has recently been appointed to the Athens State Orchestra. As a soloist he has repeatedly performed with most Greek orchestras as well as with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Virtuosi of Prague, the Chamber Orchestra of the University of Leeds, etc.
Gogo Xagara has been principal harpist of the Athens State Orchestra since 2001. She studied harp at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki and at the Atheaneum Conservatory with Maria Bildea. She continued her studies with Eira Lynn Jones at the Royal Northern College of Music in Great Britain on a scholarship from the I.K.Y. She is also a graduate of the Theatre Department of the School of Fine Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. For many years she collaborated as principal harpist and soloist with the State Orchestra of Thessaloniki, the Symphony Orchestra of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and most of the symphony orchestras of the country.
Together with flutist Nikos Nikopoulos they form the DUOHoriambos, with which they perform in various cities in Greece and at festivals abroad. In July 2005 they represented Greece at the 9th World Harp Congress in Dublin and in August 2008 they performed at the International Flute Symposium in England.