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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » P » Papaioannou, Yannis Andreou



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Yannis Andreou Papaioannou (1/06/1910 - 5/11/1989)

Yannis Papaioannou was born in Kavala in Northern Greece in 1910 but lived mainly in Athens from 1922 until his death in 1989, with the exception of the academic year 1949–1950 during which he lived in Paris and visited other European cities. This journey proved crucial for his later artistic career, since he attended classes with musicians including Arthur Honegger and René Leibowitz, and, most importantly, experienced the rich Parisian musical life, in which the seeds of the post-war avant-garde were growing. Although in the late 1940s Papaioannou had already gained a reputation as a gifted composer within the then institutionally dominant Greek nationalist musical context, from his return to Greece in 1950 onwards he was connected with the gradual advent and institutional establishment of modernist idioms. With his music he contributed to a wider rethinking of culture which was taking place in Greece during that period. At the same time Papaioannou played an active rôle for the institutional dissemination of modernist idioms, since he was the first president of the Hellenic Association of Contemporary Music and of the Greek Section of the International Association of Contemporary Music. Papaioannou’s contribution was even stronger through his fervent educational activity, since he was the first Greek composition teacher to teach modernist idioms as part of a curriculum that nevertheless included all eras of the western musical tradition.

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