Yannis Kyriakides was born in Limassol, Cyprus in 1969 and as a result of the Turkish military occupation in 1974 emigrated with his family to Britain. After travelling for a year with his violin in the near east, learning traditional music, he returned to England to study musicology at York University, later being drawn by the music of Louis Andriessen to move to The Netherlands, with whom he studied under at the Hague Conservatory. At that time he also had the inspiring opportunity to collaborate as composer on three projects with the maverick conceptual sound artist Dick Raaijmaakers and the director Paul Koek. He currently lives in Amsterdam, with his wife and son.
As a composer he strives to create new forms and hybrids of media, synthesizing disparate sound sources and exploring spatial and temporal experience. He has focused in the majority of his work on ways of combining traditional performance practices with digital media. The sensory space where music happens is a particular preoccupation, and for this end a way of bypassing the conventional structures of how music is presented is sought. The question as to what music is actually communicating is also a recurring theme in his work and he is often drawn to the relation between emotion and language and how that defines our experience of music.
In September 2000 he won the Gaudeamus composition prize for his composition a conSPIracy cantata – which was described by The Wire magazine as ‘a modern classic in the making’. He regularly composes works for ensembles such as ASKO, Icebreaker, Ensemble Integrales, and MAE, of which he is the artistic director. Other collaborations include MusikFabrik, Orkest de Volharding, Nozferatu, Palmos, the London Sinfonietta (UK), LOOS, Percussion Group Den Haag, Zephyr Quartet and others. As an improviser he is involved in the Amsterdam electronic improv scene, he has a regular duo with Andy Moor (the Ex) called Red v Green, and is a member of the dance-music improvisation group Magpie. He has been featured composer at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2007 and November Music Festival 2011.
He has released 10 CD’s of his music of which the most recent is Antichamber, a double CD collection of electroacoustic chamber music, which won a French Qwartz electronic music award. Together with Andy Moor and Isabelle Vigier he founded and runs the CD label for innovative new electronic music, UNSOUNDS.
He currently teaches composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the Hague. Bob Gilmore’s book about Kyialkides and his music The Ear of the Voice of the Eye was published by teleXpress in 2011.
Photo from kyriakides.com