NEW YORK, NY – by Markos Papadatos
Classical clarinetist Elina Georgiou, who has Cypriot and Greek roots, chatted with Markos Papadatos about her inspiration to take on the musical instrument, and being a musician in the digital age.
Regarding her inspiration to take on the clarinet, she said, “Although I didn’t receive formal musical training since the age of nine, I began playing the recorder, way earlier. I remember I was really good at it, playing songs just by listening to the melody.”
“I was in the third grade when I saw a classmate playing the clarinet. In my eyes, it was a bigger and fancier recorder,” she noted.
“So, I immediately told my dad that I want to learn that instrument and without losing any time, he took me to our city’s, municipality band where I got my first clarinet, an Eb clarinet. The first song i ever played was ‘Deka Pallikaria”,” she elaborated.
Georgiou is drawn to the clarinet for several reasons. “First of all, I love the fact that it’s a wind instrument, and the way that it can really mimic the human voice. I find very interesting that you can manipulate the sound, and really make the instrument speak,” she said.
“The clarinet gives me freedom to express different emotions and the possibility to play different music genres,” she added.
On her music and songwriting inspirations, she said, “Even though I am a classically trained musician, I always had a strong interest in the traditional sounds and in the music that the people were using in their everyday life, music for celebration, music for grief, music for every occasion.”
“What inspires me is the power that music holds and how it shapes our experiences. Classical music is without a doubt a strong influence but also what inspires massively is the sounds of Middle eastern and Mediterranean regions,” she added.
On her future plans, she said, “My plans for the future, let me see, every day I come up with a different plan and project ideas.”
“Some of them are so abstract that it takes time to manifest in a way that they can be translated into something more specific, but some of my plans include the completion of my album with original compositions and the launch of a concert series presenting Greek, Cypriot and Turkish music emphasizing on the similarities than the differences,” she elaborated.
“In addition, I am learning how to play Ney, flute, and Duduk,” she added.
For young and aspiring artists and instrumentalists, she said, “My advice is to follow your heart, and of course, never stop learning. Finding a good teacher and being consistent is vital. Sometimes you must stick with your vision because this is the only thing that will keep you moving in difficult times.”
“While pursuing a career as a musician can be an emotional rollercoaster is also incredibly rewarding. Have an open mindset, be curious, be flexible and be ready because opportunities will come to you,” she said.
“As one of my teachers told me ‘Keep giving to music and be sure music will give you back’,” she added.
Georgiou opened up about her Greek and Cypriot heritage. “I feel very lucky and proud of my Greek and Cypriot heritage,” she said. “The richness and diversity really played a significant role on the way I perceive music but also in the way I connect with people while i perform.”
“Greek and Cypriot music tradition is all about expressing life. It has truth and authenticity, and it serves a purpose. And these are the three most important elements I have in mind when making music,” she concluded.
For more information on Cypriot clarinetist Elina Georgiou, follow her on Instagram.