Manolis Papasifakis- Accompanist (Greece)
Manolis Papasifakis was born in Athens, Greece, but his musical schooling began in the United States, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his family had relocated and remained through his early school years. Here, while still at pre-school age he was enrolled at the Drexel Hill Conservatory of Music and began piano lessons with the school’s director, Elijah Yardumian, brother of noted composer Richard Yardumian and a highly respected musical pedagogue in his own right. Mr. Papasifakis remained at this school under Mr. Yardumian’s tutelage for four years, after which his family returned to Athens. There followed a period of private musical study in Athens, and then formal study at the Athens Conservatory (piano with Aliki Vatikioti).
Mr. Papasifakis returned to the United States as a student at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, from which he received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance (piano study with Wilbur Price). A ten-year residence in New York City followed completion of his college studies, during which he pursued a wide range of musical activity, reflective of his own varied interests. A member of the piano faculty at the Brooklyn School of Music from 1981 to 1990, he also worked during the same period as assistant conductor for the Henry Street Settlement Opera Studio and the LUBO Opera of New Jersey, as well as accompanist to many of New York’s leading voice studios. In 1989 he was a finalist in the New York International Chopin Competition.
Now based in Greece, Mr. Papasifakis has continued a varied career both within and outside of his native country. As teacher, accompanist and coach, he has regularly been associated with most of Greece’s leading musical institutions and concert venues, including the Athens Megaron, the Athens Conservatory, the cultural center “Athenaeum”, the Greek National Opera, and others. He has performed widely throughout the country both as a solo pianist and as recital partner to singers and instrumentalists. As one of Greece’s most sought-after vocal coaches and accompanists he works both with singers in the midst of international careers, as well as with young professionals and students. He has participated as faculty in international vocal seminars such as the Pacific Rim Seminars in Vancouver, Canada, and the Antonia Lavanne Institute in Ernen, Switzerland, and has long been an official accompanist for the Maria Callas Grand Prix Competition in Opera, Lied, and Oratorio. In collaboration with the New York-based Nietzsche Music Project, Mr. Papasifakis has recorded a well-received two-disc CD set of Nietzsche’s music, including songs, solo piano pieces, and four-hand piano works.
Recent work of note has included a series of recitals at the “Athenaeum International Cultural Center” in Athens, including art song programs, a solo piano program (April 2013) titled “The Romantic Salon” with works of early Romantic composers, and most recently (Jan. 2014) a program of music by Russian composers for viola and piano, with violist Ilias Sdoukos (1st viola in the orchestra of the Greek National Opera and an accomplished viola soloist as well.) In March 2013 he participated in a master class sponsored by the Scholarship Fund for young singers of the “Friends of Music” Foundation, at the Athens Megaron, as accompanist to students but also assistant to noted soprano Jeanette Pilou, a longtime friend and associate – he has collaborated with the same organization and with esteemed mezzo-soprano and Munich Hochschuele Professor Daphne Evangelatou, for another such masterclass in March 2014.
Mr Papasifakis has been a long-standing faculty member, having been with Musical Odyssey since its inaugural year of 2014.