Thursday, April 25, 2013

String Ensemble Concert

Today I will be performing in a string ensemble concert at the Hagerstown Community College in Maryland. This is the first time I will be performing violin with this ensemble, consisting of young and older students. I began this course several months ago on a cold January evening, hoping to see if I could play the violin. Being a violist all my life, this was a switch for me. I had to do it because of my neck injury a few years ago. I tried playing viola again last year, but I constantly felt pain while playing. The violin, however, is smaller and doesn't seem to cause pain like the viola does. So I have been playing that these past few months.

The violin really is a more interesting instrument. It is smaller, and daintier, but gives a lot of wallop when needed. It will croon, cry, laugh, squeal and do anything to get your attention! I am enjoying playing it, and the music is infinitely more interesting than the viola music of the past.

The string ensemble will be playing music by Sibelius, Albinoni, and Mozart (Eine Kleine Nactmusik). It will be followed by a choral concert given by students of HCC.

If I get a good recording of the concert, I will include it here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Review: Cicada's Choice by Nitsa Olivadoti

A recent book review I did on a Greek author, Nitsa Olivdati, on her new book Cicada's Choice is now available on Here is the book review:

"In reading Cicada's Choice I was immediately immersed in a different world, one filled with hope, fears, dreams, and a will for life. The setting is post-war Greece, and the clarity of thought, richness of culture, religious piety, and purity of actions of this Greek family is well documented here.

This story is about the author's grandmother, Eleni, whose nickname Tzitzika translates in English to cicada. She was affectionately called that name by family and friends in Greece because she buzzed around and was always singing, full of positive energy. My attention was captured from the beginning, as beautiful, sixteen-year-old Eleni embarks on her journey to America in 1950 to join her husband. Eleni is very attached to her mother and their separation is particularly touching. The author's expressive words, poetic and poignant at the same time, capture this moment very well.

Flashbacks from Eleni's past reveal how she came to leave for America. We read about young Eleni's experience during World War II in Greece, and its terrible effect on everyone around her. As Eleni grows up, we learn about Yianni, her childhood friend who is in love with her. The arrival of a mysterious handsome foreigner, George, captures Eleni's interest. George has already chosen someone to marry, but when he sees beautiful Eleni, he decides that he wants to marry her instead.

This book speaks across all cultures with the reality that difficult decisions need to be made in the most difficult of times. It was very difficult to put the book down and I enjoyed it immensely. I recommend it as reading for those interested in Greece, its culture, and its people as well as those interested in history, war, family, love, and sacrifice.

"Cicada's Choice" is the first novel in a series that the talented author, Nitsa Olivadoti, has written. I am looking forward to reading the second novel "Cicada's Consequence," which is scheduled to come out in the summer of 2013."

Here is the link to the book on (e-book):

Book Review: Pearls of Wisdom by John Kyriazoglou

Periodically, I do book reviews for Greek authors and other authors. Recently, I did a book review for John Kyriazoglou's book Pearls of Wisdom.

"It is known that ancient Greece contributed much to western civilization, including politics, art, literature, and philosophy. In this book, Mr. Kyriazoglou has carefully combined ancient Greek maxims and quotations from such famous resources as the Oracle of Delphi and the Seven Sages, as well as Greek philosophers to be applied to our hectic, modern life. The author believes that by reflecting and applying these “pearls of wisdom” modern individuals as well as businesses would lead better lives.

These ancient quotations are priceless and timeless. Thousands of years after they were written, we can still benefit greatly from what ancient wisdom offers. One of my favorite quotes from the book is by Pericles: “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

The author uses excellent examples of how these ancient Greek maxims and quotations are relevant today. I highly recommend reading this book, which will be an important resource for every person intent on bettering his or her life as well as the environment around them."

Here is the link to the book: