Kostas Loukos


Kostas LoukosBorn in Cyprus, he started piano lessons at an early age, in Athens, with Foni Floudopoulou. Art’s presence was strong in his family: his mother poetess and scholar, his father an architect with a wonderful tenor voice, and finally his father’s sister the great Greek actress Elli Lambeti. He made his first public appearance at the age of eight. He continued his studies at the Athens Conservatory (Odeion Athinon) with Zoe Agelastou, and later – after a brief interval due to his studies in Architecture at NTUA and his specialisation in Health Facilities Planning (more info concerning his career as an architect, highly specialized in hospital design & management, can be found in his relevant Architect-CV) – in the class of Yorgos Arvanitakis, graduating with a First Grade and First Prize. Later he went on to study under distinguished and internationally acclaimed pianist Litsia Kalafati, whose influence on the development of his artistic career was decisive.
He teaches piano since 1989 at some of the most important conservatories of Athens (“Hellinikon” Conservatory, “National” Cons., “Athenaeum” Cons., “Orfeion” Cons., etc) and has made highly successful appearances as a soloist at various concerts, recitals, musical events, festivals etc. He has also made recordings for ERA 1 (Greek State Radio 1). Commenting on one of his recent recitals the distinguished musicologist and critic George Leotsakos wrote:

“We were transfixed from the first note of Beethoven’s Appassionata to the last note of the aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations, the unique encore. The fire of his musical vision, unusually spontaneous yet studied down to the last shade, is so powerful that there are moments when he stakes the indisputable soundness of his technique: Loukos gambles everything, winning the great interpretation. A vigorous ‘touch’, capable of ethereal acoustic-expressive differentiations, bold chiaroscuro effects of dynamics, alternations of light and shade……. An unforgettable evening…”.George Leotsakos, IMERISSIA 30/05/2004.

Recently (1999) he completed his recording of J.S.Bach’s “Goldberg Variations”, which is already being released (ANKH productions), and received enthusiastic reviews in Greece and abroad:

“The case may justly be described as unique: an unknown (:in discography) pianist makes his debut in discography surprising everyone with his outstanding performance of the “Goldberg Variations”, an emblematic work in the world of keyboard music.…This new interpretation by a greek pianist reflects an irresistible charm. The clarity, the intelligibility of phrasing, the homogenous expression and the austere aesthetics fully satisfy both our instinct and wishes.…Just like Kostas Loukos’s admirable treatment of Bach’s masterpiece”.
An extract from a review by Yorgos Moemvassitis (DIFONO, Oct. 2001, p.122).

“…(your recording) is a great accomplishment on your part. ……you are to be congratulated because it is a recording that expresses remarkable intelligence and a penetrating grasp of structure which is not always in evidence with other performers. It also manages to have a touching spiritual dimension and attention to detail which I am sure will not be lost on listeners. ……I am honoured to now have your performance of the Goldbergs in my collection.”
From a letter (July 2001) to the artist from John P.L.Roberts, adjunct. Professor at the Music Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Calgary, Canada, former Dean of the same Faculty for a long time, former head of the Classical Music Dept. at CBC-Radio, pianist, and close life-time friend of the great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.

“…Congratulations on the programs, {he refers at the two-day event in December 2002, in Athens, in the memory of Glenn Gould, organized by Kostas Loukos} and I’m sure you played beautifully, as you do on your wonderful Goldbergs CD! …”
From an e-mail (December 2002) to the artist from Jed Distler, well known composer, music critic and cd-reviewer, regular associate of the international music magazines Grammophone and International Piano Quarterly.

“…I received your wonderful Goldberg CD last week, and have listened to it several times since then. I greatly appreciate it–it is a very impressive interpretation, and I hope you will be performing it at your symposium {he refers at the two-day event in December 2002, in Athens, in the memory of Glenn Gould, organized by Kostas Loukos}. I did notice that there were many aspects of structure and details of interpretation that owed something to Gould’s own 1981 recording–I assume that these were intentional?, perhaps in the spirit of an homage? It is certainly a peformance in a Gouldian vein, I would say (and I meant that in the best sense!), but the various departures from that model (in Var. 7, for instance) were no less impressive and convincing. It’s a thoughtful interpretation, no question, and I am very impressed with the performance technically, too. Thanks again for sending it!…”
From an e-mail (May 2002) to the artist from Kevin Bazzana, Ph.D. in music history and literature from university of California, Berkeley, well known free-lance writer, editor and lecturer, author of two bestselling studies about the great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould: “Glenn Gould: the Performer in the Work”, and “Wondrous strange: the life and art of Glenn Gould”.

In December 2002, he organized with great success –with the collaboration of the Embassy of Canada, the International Cultural Centre Athenaeum and the Hellenic–American Union– a two-day event in the memory of the great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould in the auditorium of the Hellenic–American Union.
In 2006-2007, along with his soloistic and teaching career, he produced and presented live classical music broadcasts at the 3rd Program of the Greek State Radio.
In 2008 and in 2010 as well, he was invited in Rabat, Morocco, as a member of the jury of the 8th and 9th International Piano Competition “Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Meryem”, which is organized there every two years by the “Association les Amitiés Musicales”, officially representing Greece.

Excerpts from critics-reviews:

“…A most felicitous recital by Kostas Loukos closed the Athens Concert Hall season. A very pleasing classical-romantic program, an interpreter with an exceptional personality who charmed his large audience, reminding us that there are other pianists in this country besides ‘child prodigies’, eternal ‘enfant gâtés’ that will never grow up. ……Appassionata, part one: a broad song, full of ‘suspense’, pure enough to clarify the common rhythmical element (dotted) between first and second themes. An imperceptible acceleration of tempo towards the end. Part two: extremely difficult to interpret, because of the superficial ‘monotony’ of the variations, sensitively played, covering a extremely wide expressive range. Part three: noble excitement, far removed from any kind of sensationalism, relaxing in the chords of reduced seven—a stroke of inspiration! Towards the end, the acceleration of tempo was carried almost as far as it could go. A very masculine Chopin: from the ‘dance-like’ Mazurka no. 1, op. 7, in B flat major, to the introverted, harmonically wavering Mazurka no. 4, op. 17, in A minor, rendered in bold chiaroscuro. A great interpretative line and alternations of light and darkness in the Fourth Ballade in F minor showed what a Chopin ballade really is: a ‘symphony’ for piano. He concluded with Liszt’s sonata in B minor, a ‘Dante’ like sonata, seemingly ‘effusive’ yet structured down to the last detail. Duration: 29 min. 52 sec. It was once again proved to be a magnificent ‘orchestral’ symphony: dense, almost ‘orchestral’ sounds were invested with an unprecedented sensuousness, while the divine lyrical transitions, thanks to a profound alchemy of the pedal, gave the impression that one was exploring a stalactite cave…”.
George Leotsakos, IMERISSIA 30/05/2004.

“…(Kostas) Loukos, having established a technique which is granite-like in its solidity, is the perfect embodiment of the distinction between the exceptional virtuoso and the gifted interpreter who decodes a score, seeing “behind the notes”. Capable of the finest gradations of dynamics and colour of a superb sound palette and corresponding fluctuations of rhythm and phrasing (pauses and breathing liven up the meaning of the music in a unique way), he had us transfixed as early as the opening Waltz, op.69 no.1. Generally speaking, he approaches Chopin as a creation of a primarily “Mozartean” universe, potentially expanding into densities–intensities of cosmogonic magnificence, equivalent to the “tutti” of a romantic symphony orchestra. Unsophisticated yet elaborate “rubati” transformed the Nocturne op.27 no.2 and the Mazurkas op.67 no.4, op.6 no.2 –harmonically so much floating in the air– and op.17 no.4, into landscapes of a great Chinese painter: the abstractive approach and the distribution of “rubato” also brought out the chiaroscuro of the sound. Ingenious contrasts ranging from the ethereal to the dionysiac (Scherzo no.3 op.69, Fantaisie–Impromptu op.66)also showed the First Ballade for what it really is, a “symphony” for piano, and infused a forgotten virginal quality into all the works…”.
George Leotsakos, IMERISSIA 6-7/04/2002.

“… Kostas Loukos interpreted works of Chopin with unique sensitivity and a perfect technique but above all with an eloquent plasticity in his agogics and sound which conveyed to the audience moments of unique excitement and ecstasy”.
Eleni Giannopoulou, EPIKEROTITES 06/12/2001 (CYPRUS)

“…Kostas Loukos gives us his own interpretation of this monumental work (of J S Bach) investing it with an irresistible charm. It is as if we are “rereading” it, adding a new “vocabulary” to it. The clarity and the intelligibility of the phrasing, its romanticism and tenderness, along with the effortless agility of the interpreter, which makes it even more vigorous and energetic, without degrading it to a lifeless and cold-blooded essay, get across to us the enthusiasm and the creative agony of the pianist confronting this monumental work. And for that especially we are grateful to him!”
Marianna Galidi, FILELEFTHEROS 25/11/2001 (CYPRUS)

“…I missed [a modern composition] in order to hear (Megaron, Hall of Friends of Music) Kostas Loukos, a brilliant young pianist, the quintessential musician and performer, known to me from private concerts for his ripe sound, crystal clear articulation and, especially, the eloquent plasticity of his agogics… even his slow trills betrayed perfect assimilation of the style of the period…”
George Leotsakos, IMERISSIA, 5.6.1999)

“…so it was Bach for the first part of the concert given by the State Opera Chamber Orchestra at the Megaron (the Athens Concert Hall): the famous Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1058 (Bach’s own transcription of one of his violin concertos) played on the piano… pianist Kostas Loukos won us with his flawless technical skill and sharp eye of the performer bravely tackling a challenging work like this…”
Lily Drakou, Eleftheros Typos, 15.6.1999)

“…Kostas Loukos played…Scarlatti, Mozart and Chopin. A pianist with a brilliant technique and the kind of sensibility that can touch the world of those composers he has an affinity for with a 1001 antennae. Hence the charming performance of Chopin’s works…” (Lily Drakou, Eleftheros Typos, 18.12.1996)