Calliope Tsoupaki was Composer Laureate (Componist des Vaderlands) from 2018 to 2021, a year longer than the standard period of two years because corona asked for adjustment. She is one of the most prominent ambassadors for new music in the country. Her scope as Composer Laureate was wide-ranging: to make new music more flourishing, she regularly talked with fellow composers, musicians, concert promoters, record companies, politicians and programme makers from radio and TV. She contributed to many concerts and festivals: for concert introductions, and to collaborate with venues, ensembles, orchestras and festivals. An independent jury appoints the Composer Laureate. Calliope Tsoupaki’s predecessors were Willem Jeths and Mayke Nas
”We don’t work introspectively in a back room. We are people of flesh and blood. We have a craft that has existed for centuries and will continue to exist.”
In the three years that Calliope Tsoupaki was Composer Laureate, she directly converted many social issues into music. In her eyes, music can put current affairs in a different light. A standout composition was Pour Notre Dame for organ solo. After the destructive fire in Paris’s Notre Dame, Tsoupaki composed an organ piece that was performed all over the country within a few days after the fire.
To show solidarity to those who support the sick and needy during the corona-crisis, she composed Thin Air, that can be performed on a wide range of instruments. It is played and scheduled for performance in already more than 50 festivals worldwide. Including the Edinburgh International Festival, Helsinki Festival, Utrecht Early Music Festival, Operadagen Rotterdam, and the Thüringer Bachwochen. Up until now, a range of players and singers have created over 25 renditions of Thin Air to be shared with a worldwide, online audience, with you.
“Music says something about human beings that cannot be said in any other way. It opens a gateway to a world you didn’t know existed. That’s what I’m going to propagate as Composer Laureate, as subservient as a construction worker or garbage collector.”
For example, Calliope Tsoupaki wrote the pan-flute solo Song for Life and Death for Human Rights Day on December 10, 2018, and she paid musical homage to the painter in the Rembrandt Year 2019 with Still Life for Theorbo Solo. When the corona crisis was ravaging our country, Calliope Tsoupaki poked fun at us with her piano piece Inner life in March 2020.
“Like a lotus flower blooms in murky waters, I wish that our inner life will continue to bloom during this difficult and uncertain time.”
Calliope also composed the piano piece Meeting Point during corona time. To give her message extra eloquence, she has made a music video of her new work.