Biography

After completing his piano and advanced theory studies at the National Conservatoire of Athens, Basil moved to London. He studied composition at the Trinity College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music and finally at the Canterbury Christ Church University where he obtained his PhD supported by the Research Studentship Award.

Having recently completed his JSPS Bridge Fellowship (2018-19) at the Tokyo University of the Arts, Basil is the only composer to date to be twice the recipient of the prestigious JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (2010-11 and 2011-13). During that period, Basil was based at the Tokyo University of the Arts as a Special Foreign Researcher, where he composed new works for Western and Japanese instruments with a particular interest on the shō (mouth organ) and the 20-stringed koto.

Basil’s works are characterised by a strong visual identity; his performances has often been accompanied by dance or stage action. Early influences can be traced in Sergiu Celibidache’s views on aspects of ambience and acoustic space (Athanasiadis attended Celibidache’s Munich seminars in 1994), and in composers such as Christou, Feldman and Takemitsu. His most recent works focus on the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, which has also been the main subject of his doctoral and postdoctoral research since 2004.

Represented by United Music Publishing since 2014, his music has been released on CD by Metier, Sargasso, Dutton Epoch, Regent Records, Fonorum and the Choir & Organ Magazine.

Basil’s works have been performed in Europe, US, Canada and Asia by performers and ensembles such as Evelyn Glennie, Mayumi Miyata, members of the Düsseldorf Symphonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet, New London Chamber Ensemble, Silk String Quartet, Okeanos, Mondriaan Quartet, Alea III, Shonorities and choirs such as the BBC Singers, Wells Cathedral Choir, Cambridge Chapel Choir of Selwyn College and Montreal Christ Church Cathedral Choir.

Awards & Distinctions

2018 - 2019

JSPS Bridge Fellowship Award

2011 - 2013

JSPS Grants-in-Aid Award

2011 - 2013

JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Standard Award (two years)

2011

Finalist, International Composition Competition, NESQ, Boston

2010 - 2011

JSPS Research Support Allowance Award

2010 - 2011

JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Short Term Award (one year)

2009

British Council Composers’ Bursary Award

2008

Became member of the British Music Information Center

2004 - 2007

Research Studentship Award, Canterbury Christ Church University

2004 - 2007

Spnm-shortlisted composer

2004

Became member of the Greek Composers’ Association

2004

Finalist, International Composition Competition, Alea III, Boston

2002 - 2004

Arthur Hervey Scholarship, G V Turner Cooke Award, Royal Academy of Music

2002

Chapel Composition Prize, Trinity College of Music

Reviews

“Mesmerizing quietude.  Music that hues closely to a Japanese aesthetic based on simplicity of utterance and purity of expression… absolutely intriguing and immensely satisfying, leaving this listener in a state of completely peaceful relaxation.” – Rafael de Acha (Rafael Music Notes)

 

“It’s truly beautiful in places and leaves your mind relaxed and in the present. All in all, a thought-provoking album.” – Jeremy Condliffe (The Chronicle)

 

“The pieces have been well put together and listening to the entire CD in one sitting works very well and induces an air of calm on even the most stressful day. This deserves to be widely heard and not just by lovers of contemporary music. Wholeheartedly recommended!” – (iClassical)

 

“The harmony is loosely modal … often with a focus on the creation of evocative atmosphere. Excellent performers. The CD’s booklet is very attractive.” – Carson Cooman (Fanfare)

 

“Basil Athanasiadis’s Ithaka was an ingeniously orchestrated, episodic piece” – John L Walters (The Guardian)

 

“Basil Athanasiadis’ reference to the Muse of Dance connects his work to Stravinsky’s ballet Agon, a reference to a Greek competition. The modal sound of Athanasiadis’ piece links it to the McPhee work. The sense of loss comes across clearly and the Muse’s stream of consciousness very effectively. Most of the music here has a dignified, formal air despite its energetic nature and sometimes virtuosic sound” – Patsy Morita (All Music Guide)

 

“Terpsichore Bemused, by the Greek composer Basil Athanasiasdis, reflects its title, alternating a ‘virtually pulse-less opening’ with a powerful rhythmic drive” – Bryce Morrison – The Classical Music Website (The Gramophone)

 

In the creatively faultless CD “Clouds that I Like”, all five works included, feature elements of asymmetry, non‐teleological thematic relation, fragmentation, flexible space and use of noise, unveiling unbelievably rich, astounding almost otherworldly timbres … portray the solid knowledge and skilfulness of the composer’s compositional technique by successfully combining two highly contrasting worlds (the Western and Japanese tradition) into a harmoniously balanced and musical result, which I believe will retain its freshness over time – Thomas Tamvakos

 

” ‘Eyes are now Dim’ a highly suitable closing to a programme rarely heard in Athens …” – George Leotsakos (Critics Point)

 

“On particular note was the third piece by Basil Athanasiadis (Terpsichore Bemused). The music was inventive and accessible, the dance performed by a female soloist who interacted with both pianists. It was delightful and kept me watching without distracting from the music itself” – Graeme Quinton-Jones (Kent Gazete)

 

“Basil Athanasiadis put old little songs of Geisha, into a contemporary context. Audience was charmed by these songs’ luscious singing and willowy movement with Geisha style costume”– Megumi Sakagami (Kushiro City Newpaper, Hokkaido)

 

“I would recommend heading straight for Basil Athanasiadis’s “Antiphon to Mary”– Roderic Dunnett (Church Times)

 

“A novel by Kazuo Ishiguro lies behind the wistful flights of fancy in Pale Views (2003) by Basil Athanasiadis”– Richard Whitehouse (classicalsource.com)