Talent Fades, Knowledge Stays

Composer Thanos Mikroutsikos at Pierce

In an effort to immerse students in the world of culture, Pierce has been holding interesting and stimulating events each Friday, for the children to engage in multifaceted activities while learning something new. For the last event of the academic year, the school was honored to host renowned Greek composer Thanos Mikroutsikos, who spoke about poetry, music, and life.

The students presented a brief biography of the musician, and a historical overview of the art of setting poetry to music. Pierce student Myrto Papathoma beautifully performed two songs by Mikroutsikos, Thessaloniki and Esmeralda.

The famous composer then took the stage with two accomplished colleagues, and indulged the audience in a mini-concert including renditions of Bertolt Brecht, Manolis Anagnostakis, and pieces from Mikroutsikos’ album, Stavros Tou Notou, which set the poetry of Nikos Kavvadias to music. With Mikroutsikos on the piano, singer Kostas Thomaidis and composer–musician Thimios Papadopoulos on the wind instruments, the Pierce theater overflowed with music and energy.

The last song of the concert was sung by Pierce’s very own student Myrto, after the musicians invited her back to the stage for an improvised performance, ending the musical section of the event with a lasting applause.

Mikroutsikos opened a dialogue with the students, answering their many questions about his life, the process of setting poetry to music, and some of the challenges of pursuing a career in music or the arts. He discussed the importance of music to the Greek culture and shared the belief that inspiration comes from the stimuli one is exposed to, such as the current issue of youth unemployment the country faces, and the increase in racism and hostility across Europe.

The composer answered each student’s question warmly and patiently, usually beginning with a story from his own life, such as one about the bedtime stories and poems his father would read to him when he was a boy, a “habit” that bred in him a lasting love of poetry.

“No matter what you want to do in your life, you must always keep learning… talent can fade, so expand your knowledge,” Mikroutsikos stressed, further urging the young audience to have the courage to pursue their dreams, saying, “Don’t miss out on your life just because someone else has certain ideas about you.”