Christos Hatzis

Christos Hatzis, composer, professor, writer (b at Volos, Greece 21 March 1953).

Christos Haznos, composer

Christos Hatzis, composer, professor, writer (b at Volos, Greece 21 March 1953). His early musical studies were on accordion and harmony at the Hellenic conservatory. He pursued his advanced musical studies at the Eastman School of Music and then his doctorate (1982) at the State Univerity of New York, Buffalo, where he worked with Morton Feldman. On a visit to Canada, Hatzis determined that its multicultural ethos would be ideal for him. Based in Toronto since 1980, he has become one of the most commissioned and performed Canadian composers. In 1992 he created "The Idea of Canada," a radio piece for the CBC that explored Glenn GOULD's ideas on music and technology, especially in relation to the broadcast media. With Native chants resolving into musical crescendos, fiddle tunes becoming the screeches of owls, and voices being used like a scratch mix on a rap recording, Hatzis aimed to compose a piece "which had pluralism as its form, dissension its counterpoint and the search for unity its underlying harmony." Reflective of reality, harmony is not reached in the piece but there are glimmers of optimism.

In 1995 he joined the Faculty of Music at the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO. With the chamber work Erotikos Logos he won the Jules Léger Prize in 1996, and also that year the prestigious broadcasting award, Prix Italia Special Prize, for Footprints in New Snow, which also won the 1998 Prix Bohemia Special Prize. Hatzis was the recipient of the 1998 Jean A. Chalmers National Music Award for another of his Inuit-influenced works, Nunavut. His choral works, the 70-minute long Kyrie and Heirmos, have been enthusiastically received in North America and Europe. He is the first contemporary composer to be commissioned by TAFELMUSIK, and their performances of his Farewell to Bach usually elicit demands for an encore. In 1999-2000 he had sold-out houses for several new compositions, including his De Angelis for choir, Zeitgeist for string orchestra, String Quartet No. 2 (The Gathering) and Everlasting Light for choir and percussion. Constantinople is a 75-minute multimedia work of "cultural convergence" for piano trio, Western singer, Middle-Eastern singer and visuals. It includes elements of Greek Orthodox chant, Sufi melodies, jazz, pop songs, Argentine tango, and classical chamber music to convey aspects of present-day Toronto with its multiple faces and its multiple histories. Winning the 2002 New Pioneer Arts Award, Hatzis had over 100 performances of his compositions in 2003 including the 50-minute-long Light From the Cross for soprano and orchestra. More recently his concertos for flute with chamber orchestra and that for horn have received wide praise as well as his Sepulchre of Life (2004) for two soloists, choir and orchestra, a joint commission of four different choirs. Old Photographs has become a signature piece of the Gryphon Trio. Complete CDs of his works have been released on Sony Classical, Cherry Red Records, Consipio, CBC Records, and EMI Classical. The recording by the ST LAWRENCE STRING QUARTET of his two string quartets appeared in 2005 and its String Quartet No. 1 (The Awakening) won the Juno for best classical composition in 2006. Two years later he again received this award for Constantinople. His writings have been published in Organized Sound, Micropolyphonie and Interface and extensive essays about his influences and approach to composition are on his website.