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Lefteris Kordis

Pianist, Composer, and Inner Circle Music recording artist Lefteris Kordis has established himself as a unique voice in the Mediterranean Jazz idiom. He grew up in a multi-cultural environment in Elefsis, an ancient town near Athens, Greece. Since the age of four, he studied, performed, and composed based on a wide spectrum of genres including Greek Folk, Western European Classical, Jazz, Byzantine chant, and Modernist/Avant-Garde.

He graduated from the Experimental Music Gymnasium and Lyceum of Pallini, the National Conservatory of Athens, the Ionian University, and pursued a Master’s and a Doctorate at New England Conservatory on a Fulbright and an Onassis grants. He has performed in major international venues such as the Carnegie Hall, Panama Jazz Festival, Corfu Jazz World, and Toronto Jazz Festival with music legends Mikis Theodorakis, Steve Lacy, Sheila Jordan, Glykeria, Joe Lovano, Vasilis Saleas, Greg Osby, Panayotis Lalezas, and Robin Eubanks, among others.

Lefteris is currently Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music and the Global Jazz Institute teaching alongside John Patitucci, Danilo Pérez, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Joe Lovano. He is the co-director -along with Dimos Dimitriadis, head of the jazz program at the Ionian University- of the “Aqua Jazz,” a program that builds bridges between folk musicians and jazz improvisers in Greece and the East Mediterranean region. Lefteris serves as gospel choir director and organist/pianist at the historic Columbus Ave AME Zion Church in Boston, MA. He also performs regularly at the Beehive, Boston with his jazz trio featuring bassist John Lockwood and drummer Karen Kocharyan, and he co-leads the Penny Muse Band, a Greek art-song and Folk music band.

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from Jazz Masters

“A pianist with skill, touch, musicality and a gift for making songs from songs. Plus, he can swing! Give a listen” Bob Brookmeyer ~ Composer, Trombonist, NEA Jazz Master

”Talent like his is rare.” Steve Lacy ~ Saxophonist, Composer, McArthur Genius Fellowship Award Recipient

“In these times, when we are in great need of fresh examples of intercultural dialogue, Lefteris Kordis's music is an abundant source of inspiration.” Danilo Pérez ~ Pianist, Composer, Multi-Grammy winner

from Media

“Some 70 years after Dizzy Gillespie incorporated Afro Cuban rhythms into the big-band context, jazz today regularly takes its cue from global musical traditions

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Primary Instrument

Piano

Location

Boston

Willing to teach

Advanced only

Credentials/Background

Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music @ Global Jazz Institute & Ear Training Areas Jazz Improvisation (all instruments) Composition Music Theory Eastern Mediterranean Styles (Theory & Practice) Teaching Philosophy Holistic and individualized are two terms that sum up Lefteris Kordis’ teaching approach. He emphasizes on guiding students to experience and learn music first on an instinctual, and later on an intellectual level. He provides various tools that can assist students to develop improvisation skills; transcribe music (aurally, notated, or both); learn a variety of musical languages with emphasis on jazz and folk music; compose new music; strengthen the musical ear; and physically experience rhythm. Paintings, movies, poetry, dance, and other disciplines are utilized as mediums to develop an effortless sound on the instrument and invent new ideas. Lefteris has observed that when students operate from the world of imagery, the possibilities are endless and students are always engaged and inspired to making music and at the same time, develop strong musicianship skills. Inspired by the personalities and teaching approaches of his former teachers and mentors Charlie Banacos (doctoral dissertation on his Pedagogy available online for free), Steve Lacy (interdisciplinary idea), Danilo Perez, Allan Chase, Jerry Leake, and Ran Blake, he has developed a wide spectrum of strategies and methods that are tailored to each individual’s needs to reach freedom in musical expression. Lefteris has successfully prepared music students to pass auditions and enter graduate and undergraduate jazz programs in schools such as Berklee Valencia (Masters), Longy School of Music (Masters), Berklee Boston (Bachelors), and other schools in Holland and Greece (UGR), as well as teenager students for jazz summer camps, high-school jazz orchestras, and other small combos. Current students include Harvard Ph.D. candidates, New England Conservatory faculty and students, and other already professional musicians who seek to expand their improvising and compositional skills. Testimonials A kind and altruistic person [...] articulate, extremely well organized, very clever on technology. He can grasp the soul of a piece with a wonderful appreciation for stylistic originality. ~Ran Blake Lefteris offers students a vast pool of experience and knowledge that one can dip into - it's actually more like you want to jump in and splash around when you realize what he has to offer! His enthusiasm and love for music creates an atmosphere of positive vibes and a safe space for learning. With patience, encouragement and true commitment, he will leave no stone unturned in helping a student understand a topic. —Barbara Banacos (professional musician, educator) Like many other musicians, I always had trouble identifying the fine details of exactly what was happening in the music I played. I could feel dense harmonies and chord progressions, but for the most part I couldn't readily identify them. Within just a few months of studying theory and ear training with Lefteris, this has begun to change radically. It's as if a dense fog had always been obscuring the connection between my inner ear and my conscious mind, and with Lefteris' guidance I'm finding my way out of the fog into a bright clearing, full of birds and fragrant blossoms. What impresses me the most about Lefteris is not his impeccable musicianship or his firm command of an unusually wide range of musics, though these are apparent to anyone who spends any time at all around him. What makes him such an extraordinary teacher is his very obvious commitment to bringing out the absolute best in his students by patiently, compassionately, and methodically training us to let our intuition take the lead in what we do as musicians. In the short time that I've been studying with him, I've experienced a dramatic improvement in my comprehension of harmonic progressions and an explosion of compositional creativity. I can't recommend him highly enough. ~Panayotis (Paddy) League, performer, composer, ethnomusicologist, PhD candidate at Harvard University A remarkable hardworking teacher and creative jazz pianist and composer. I am most impressed with the detailed and patient way he can break down and clearly explain the mechanics of what and why we are working this way. Bert Seager (professional jazz musician, composer and educator) I feel extremely fortunate to have found Lefteris as my teacher. Being a teacher of classical piano myself, I know what it takes to teach- -and am happy to say that he is everything you would want to find in your dream teacher- - brilliant, organized, inspiring, and deeply tuned to the needs of the student. Every lesson is custom tailored to each student, and he was able to assess exactly what I needed to begin my journey as a beginning jazz student. I am so happy with the progress that I have made, and can't wait for my next lesson!! - Sarah Takagi Piano faculty, New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division Lefteris is an amazing piano teacher. My 13-year old daughter has improved tremendously as a result of Skype lessons with him. My daughter’s relative pitch is now at a very high level as a result of his ear-training exercises. Also, my daughter’s ability to solo over jazz chord changes is much improved because of him. Simply put, Lefteris has done wonders for my daughter’s playing. —Louis Greenwald (ex professional musician)

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Discography

Mediterrana

Mediterrana

Inner Circle Music
2017

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Mediterrana

Mediterrana

Self Produced
2016

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Bebop Trio

Creative Nation Music
2012

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Songs for Aesop's Fables

Songs for Aesop's...

Inner Circle Music
2012

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Oneirographia

Oneirographia

Unknown label
2011

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Standards

Standards

Unknown label
2011

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Mediterrana

Mediterrana

Lefteris Kordis
Mediterrana (Goddess of Light)

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