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Achilleas Chaldaeakes


axaldaiak@music.uoa.gr
Achilleas G. Chaldaeakes was born in Athens in 1969. He studied Theology and Byzantine Musicology in Athens. He continued his studies on a graduate level in the Faculty of Theology of the NKUA and received a Master’s Degree with his essay: Elder Ierotheos (1762-1814). The achievements of the donator of the Holy Convent of Prophet Elias in Hydra and a critical edition of his Life (Athens 2000, 616 pages). He was subsequently awarded the title of Doctor of the Department of Music Studies of the NKUA (subject of his PhD thesis: The Polyeleos Chant in Byzantine and post-Byzantine Melopoeia (Athens 2003, 992 pages).

He works at the Department of Music Studies of the NKUA since 1992, initially as a scientific collaborator as per the Presidential Decree 407/80, then as a Lecturer (since 1999), as an Assistant Professor (since 2004, with tenure since 2008), as an Associate Professor (since 2010) and actually (since 2016) as a Professor of Byzantine Musicology and Psaltic Art. From the academic year 2014-5 till now he also is the Head of the same Department.

He leads there the “Byzantine Musicology” research group, a team of four colleagues, members of academic staff forming a strong core of research and applied artistic investigation into various Byzantine musicological subjects. Together they form the only multi-member creative and productive group presently working on an international academic level in the field of Byzantine Musicology. He teaches on both undergraduate and graduate level at the NKUA, but also at other Greek Universities and Institutes. His personal approach to this particular learning object is determined by an innovation: the study, analysis and comprehension of the theory and history of music through its practical expression. He firmly believes that the combination of theory and practice is instrumental for a substantial knowledge of the phenomenon of musical creation, and up to the present day he has supported this belief with his scientific, educational and artistic work. This thesis of his is substantiated in his extensive (more than 200 titles) published work, which has not only been received with praise, but also has begun to influence his peers (for example, there are lots of citations in his doctoral dissertation in all the musicological dissertations and studies, published – both in Greece and abroad – after 2003). To support his scientific views, he has participated in a great number of congresses in Greece, many of them organized by himself and his collaborators. He also delivers lectures and participates in seminars and workshops, whereas his parallel artistic activity illustrates the practical application of any theoretical view. This multifaceted activity in the field of Byzantine Music has already been given approval and a favourable reception both in Greece and abroad, as it is shown by the invitations addressed to him and the broad interest in his work. He is frequently invited in international conferences where he presents the results of his theoretical inquiries and has the opportunity to discuss and collaborate with his colleagues who work in the same field.

Achilleas Chaldaeakes’ published scientific work comprises more than 200 studies (monographs, articles, entries in encyclopaedias, communications in congresses, essays in various collective volumes and scientific reviews, etc.), mostly on various subjects (theoretical, historical, aesthetic, etc.) pertaining to the field of Byzantine Music. He is also a regular collaborator and consultant on Byzantine musicological entries in the Православная энциклопедия (where he is responsible for the critical evaluation and composition of all entries on Byzantine musicology) and the Grove Music Online [as well as, earlier, in the Great Orthodox Christian Encyclopaedia]. He participates in conferences on Byzantine Music both in Greece and abroad, and is a member of the scientific and organizing committees in most of them. He is also an active member of various international scientific societies (such as the Institute of Byzantine Musicology, The International Society for Orthodox Church Music, The American Society of Byzantine Music and Hymnology, etc.) whose activities are focused on Byzantine musicological studies. He actually collaborates with distinguished researchers from Universities all over the world with a view to preparing the publishing of important theoretical and historical studies on Byzantine Musicology. All his studies have been published under the sponsorship of various publishing and research organizations, both Greek and international. Many young PhD researchers prepare their theses under his supervision, whilst others, former students of his and now doctors, have become professors and occupy important posts in public education and in society at large. He regularly participates in juries for the election of new members of academic staff in various Universities both in Greece and abroad. Furthermore, many young scholars from Europe, Asia and America seek his advice on matters of shared interest and follow his suggestions in regard to their doctoral thesis. His students’ research displays the traits that define his own work, i.e. the approach of theoretical and historical issues in the light of artistic creation. In collaboration with a number of PhD researchers, he attempts an original and innovative interdisciplinary approach of Byzantine Music (as, for example, the one under the prism of Cultural Anthropology or even Music Technology).

At the same time, he is the director of an artistic group of international renown, the choir “Maestros of the Psaltic Art”. With this choir he has given, up to the present day, more than 400 performances in Europe, Asia, America and Australia and has appeared in many radio and TV shows in Greece and abroad. The “Maestros of the Psaltic Art” have performed at famous concert halls all over the world (such as the Music Halls of Greece, Romania, Russia, Estonia and S. Korea, the Sydney Opera House and elsewhere), but also at many sacred Byzantine monuments (such as the Orthodox Cathedral of Athens, the Ekatontapyliani Church of Paros, the Holy Cave of the Apocalypse in Patmos, the Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the Great Meteoron Monastery, the Church of Saint Lazarus in Larnaca, Cyprus, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Patras, etc.) on the occasion of various festivities or anniversaries (such as the 2000th anniversary of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Magna Grecia, etc). Furthermore, the “Maestros of the Psaltic Art” have recorded, up to the present day, 25 CDs.

As a choir director, he also has an international career: several choral ensembles, Byzantine or otherwise, often invite him as a guest director, and his successful performances have received substantial praise. Specifically, in the frame of the Credo XVI (International Festival of Orthodox Sacred Music, 24 September – 4 October 2009) in Tallinn, Estonia, he directed the 50 member Estonian Male Choir ‘RAM’, presenting a program based exclusively on Byzantine Music. Furthermore, in January 2010 and November 2013 as a guest director of the famous American choir ‘Capella Romana’, he presented an exclusively Byzantine program (“A Byzantine Christmas” and “A Patriarch's Chants”, respectively) in Portland and Seattle, USA, where, before every concert, he gave a pre-concert lecture.

He also is an internationally recognized and praised chanter, i.e. an artist-performer of Byzantine Music. He chants regularly in a church at the center of Athens, but also in various religious and artistic events both in Greece and abroad, where he is frequently being invited as a chanter. Finally, he has recorded, alone or with various ensembles, often under his own direction, various Byzantine hymns – several of them were discovered by himself in the frame of his parallel academic research –or even musical examples of Secular or Folk Music and compositions of Contemporary Music as well.

His whole activity as an internationally recognized musician in his twofold quality, both as a scientific researcher and University professor and as an artist, composer, interpreter, and director of musical ensembles, explores new paths toward a global, multifaceted and innovative approach to Byzantine Musicology and Psaltic Art. Simultaneously, he aims at directing scientific interest toward yet another interdisciplinary approach to the classical parameters of Byzantine Musicology, thus attempting (with the contribution of his students and colleagues, visibly influenced by his thinking) to open a new channel in investigating and analysing Art which tends to be internationally recognized.
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