NICEPHORUS NEVRAKIS

Niciphorus Nevrakis was born in 1940 in Kallithea (Athens). From an early age he immersed himself in Cretan music, as well as Greek folklore music.

He studied Theory and Harmony with the Director of the Athens State Orchestra Th. Vavayiannis, and History of Music and Form with renown composers K. Kydoniatis and G. Sklavos respectively, at the Athens Conservatory. He also studied and graduated with the highest marks from the classes of M. Vourtsis, L. Zoras, and V. Sozopoulos of the National Conservatory of Athens, in the following subjects: Harmony, Counterpoint, Fugue, Orchestration, Arranging and Conducting for Band, and Trombone. He got his degree in Composition from the Athinaikon Conservatory. He studied piano with M. Laskaris.

In 1972, Nevrakis was appointed professor of Advanced Harmony and Brass Studies at the Apollonian Conservatory. Ever since then he is invited annually as an examiner for entrance as well as graduation exams of state-recognized conservatories and music schools. In 1974, he was appointed professor of Advanced Music Theory and Brass Studies at the National Conservatory of Athens. He taught numerous students now holding professional posts as conservatory professors and directors of the municipal philharmonic bands of Athens, Chania, Rethymnon, Heracleion, Rhodes, Lavrion, Chalkis, Loutraki, Sparta, Kalamata, Monemvassia, as well as the philharmonic bands of the Navy, the Port Authority, the National Opera, and the Lefkas, Corfu, and “Mantzaros” Philharmonic Societies.

As a trombonist, Nevrakis has been a member of several bands in Athens, and served as 1st chair in the Athens Municipality Band beginning in 1963. He has performed under the direction of composers such as: G¤înter Becker at the inaugural concert of the German School in Athens (1962), Manos Hadjidakis in the world premiere of I. Xenakis’ Hiketides (for brass quartet and orchestra) at the Herod Atticus Theatre (1964), as well as in a concert at the Ancient Theatre of Rhodes, Mikis Theodorakis in his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Peiraeus Municipal Theatre – before 1967).

As trombone soloist, Nevrakis has performed in Athens and other Greek cities from 1964-68. Highlights include performances at the National Classical Radio (1968), the Herod Atticus Theatre (1964), and in Lisbon (1968). In 1966 he founded the first Greek Brass Ensemble with fellow Athens Municipality musicians, and together they represented Greece at the 22nd International Convention for Young Musicians (Lisbon, 1968). In 1993, he won 1st Prize at the National March Music Composition Competition awarded by the Greek Armed Forces, for his work 25th of March, 1821. This work was performed by the famed US Air Force Band in 1995 at the Zappeion Megaron. The same work was selected for the grand parade of April 1996 in Athens, in the 100 years celebrations of the Olympic Games revival at the Panathinaikon Stadium, and was performed by a band of 300 musicians, assembled by the Philharmonics of the Athens, Kalamata, Herakleion, Zante, and Lefkas, under the composer’s direction.

As bandleader of the Athens Municipality Philharmonic, Nevrakis included songs by Stavros Xarhakos in several concerts in various venues (including ‘Pallas Theatre’), and worked as conductor during Xarhakos’ tenure as Deputy Mayor in Athens.

The renown Light Division Band of Great Britain included Nevrakis’ national march Macedonia in four concerts during the 1995 ‘Britain in Greece’ Festival (Peiraeus, Athens, Thessaloniki, and Kilkis). The world premiere of the work was given by the British musicians in honour of the composer, who also led them in the performance. That same year Nevrakis became a member of the Hellenic Composers Association.

In 1996, the composer supervised certain recordings of the French production of the film Laurel Wreaths, during those scenes where he himself appeared as bandleader. In 1998, he collaborated with the famous Moscow Taganka Theatre Troupe during their performances at the Athens National Theatre, as leader of their bandina.

Nevrakis’ works have been performed by many Greek and foreign artists, various philharmonic bands and choirs around Greece, and published by the Chalkis Municipal Conservatory and the ‘Thaletas – Mesomedes’ Philomusic Club. Five of his choral works were included in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th volumes of the annual publication of the Chania Municipality ‘En Chaniois’, in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. An excerpt of another Nevrakis work is referred to in T. Tatsis’ book Organognosia (published by Papagrigoriou-Nakas). His works are included Alpha Records CDs (Stavraetoi), and recently in those of the H.C.A., which include seven choral arrangements of Cretan songs, and a march for the Battle of Crete (lyrics by George Yiakoumakis), among other works.

Many of his works have been performed in his birthplace of Kallithea, in many of its private conservatories, the Chalandri Municipality Philharmonic Orchestra, the Athens Choir, and wind soloists in a Panhellenic Association of Symphonic Band Conductors in the Pontian Association ‘Argonauts of Comnenos’ hall. Other works have been presented by Athens Municipality musicians, private conservatories, the Greek-Egyptian Association, as well as internationally (for example: in Verden, Lisbon, Tokyo – in collaboration with the Japan’s Composers Association).

N. Nevrakis’ biographical details comprise entries in G. Kalogeropoulos’ Lexicon of Greek Music (Gialelis publications), the Greek Who’s Who (R. Hubner, 6th edition, 2011), and ellinismos.gr.

Nevrakis has been honoured for his contributions by many important government and private bodies: Greek Armed Forces, Greek Air Force, ‘Evelpides’ Military Academy, Athens Municipality, Chalkis Municipality, Greek Choirs Union, Y.W.C.A., Panhellenic Association of Wind Band Conductors, Fondation Raoul Follereau, U.S.A.F.E., as well as by Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, among others. Currently, N. Nevrakis is an honourary member of the Panhellenic Association of Symphonic Band Conductors, a full member of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), and President of the Hellenic Composers Association.