Interview with violinist Ioannis Petrakis

With each project realized, the Citizens Association “CONVIVIUM MUSICUM” introduces novelties, some of which have grown into traditions and many years of excellent practices and cooperation. The Third international festival of chamber music Convivium Musicum, held in 2016, brought an opportunity to students of the Faculty of Philology and Arts in Kragujevac, from the Department of Music in the Media, to practically apply their acquired knowledge in the form of interviewing artists who performed at the Festival. This practice continued with great mutual satisfaction in 2017. The students, as well as in 2016, created and realized interviews under the mentorship of Dr Marija Ciric, associate professor.

Violinist Ioannis Petrakis, who performed at the Festival on second and third concert, was interviewed by a student of the second year, Marija Zdravkovic. This interview was also published in the journal Music of Classics, no. 27, year VIII, April – June 2017.


IMG_6722The 4th International Chamber Music Festival Convivium Musicum was held from 14th to 17th March, in Kragujevac. On both the second and third day of the Festival String Quartet Evenos (Ioannis Petrakis and Ivan Knezevic, violin; Odysseas Lavaris, viola; Mathieu Jocqué, cello) performed, first independently, and the following night as part of a specially formed Festival ensemble Convivium Musicum with the pianist Boris Kraljevic. Young musicians from Greece, Serbia and Belgium formed this quartet in 2012 in the German city of Essen. Even during their studies at the Folkwang University of Arts, they gained the status of the most successful students at the Department of chamber music and have been awarded a series of concerts organized by this University. 2014 and 2015 were marked by their concert tour in Greece, in which they started a course of chamber music, in order to promote this way of playing and bringing it closer to the young students. Their further rise in international terms is credited to a successful performance and wining the first prize at the International competition “Paper de Música de Capellades” in Spain. This allowed them to perform regularly in Spain during 2016. The young chamber ensemble is very dedicated to music research and therefore has a wide and varied repertoire.
After performing at the Festival Convivium Musicum, satisfaction was talking with one of the members of the ensemble, the Greek violinist Ioannis Petrakis, who, on behalf of the Quartet Evenos, answered several of our questions.

Are you the first time in Kragujevac and how did you like the city?
Yes, for the first time we are in Kragujevac and we like it very much, especially me. I feel like I’m in Greece, because here I notice a lot of similarities with my country. Also, people are wonderful and it’s really nice to be here.

How long have you been preparing this program and how many a joint rehearsal you had, considering that you are coming from different parts of the world?
The program we performed we began to prepare a few weeks ago – this is related to the concert we have performed as a quartet. But with the pianist Boris Kraljevic, the first time we met two days ago at the rehearsal. So, as a quintet, we practiced only one day!

Knowing that you are young it can be said that you are still at the beginning of your career, do you have some guides, the role model you follow?
Of course. Many important quartets that have achieved great success in chamber music are our role models and idols. We see them as examples and they are our inspiration. Not as something we want to do exactly the way they did … we do not want to copy, but to, by looking at the best, bring ourselves into our music.

In addition to the work of composers Haydn, Beethoven, Bartok, Arvo Pärt, whose works can be found in your diverse repertoire?
We always love everything on our repertoire. We are looking for interesting moments in every piece we are performing. So far, we did not have exact priorities, probably because we are still young and we have a lot of energy, we intend to transfer our energy to the works of a composer such as, for example, Shostakovich, whom we also performed at this Festival in Kragujevac.

Are you listening exclusively to classical music in private life, or you gladly turn to other genres?
In addition to classical music, in the private life we listen to other music genres. Actually, we listen to it more than classical music, because we are constantly surrounded by it. We also love our folk, traditional music.

What is your opinion on the status of chamber music in the world of artistic music in general?
I think chamber music should be performed more – all over the world. I think it is a little bit misunderstood, somewhat even underestimated. Given that there is a wonderful repertoire, I can say with certainty that this domain of music can give us a lot of pleasant musical moments and should therefore be supported in all possible ways. Much more room for chamber music in the world of art music is needed.


Author: Marija Zdravkovic, Second year student at the Department of Music in Media, FILUM,
Translation: Ljubica Guzvic