Apostolos Paraskevas is a classical guitarist and composer as well as an award-winning film director and producer. He has received multiple international awards for his compositions and was nominated for a Grammy Award. He is the only guitarist ever to have a major orchestral piece performed at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Lukas Foss––and the only musician who has performed there in a Grim Reaper outfit. He has made over a dozen recordings of his music and his orchestral music has been performed around the world by numerous symphony orchestras including Albany, Boston Landmarks, Boston University, Newton, National Festival, Atlantic, Odessa, National Greek, Cyprus, Florida International University, Thessaloniki Municipal Symphony orchestras. He was the founder and served for 16 years as the artistic director of the International Guitar Congress-Festival of Corfu, Greece.
After his undergraduate music studies in Volos he pursued advanced studies in classical guitar with Costas Cotsiolis (diploma, 1990) and Leo Brouwer (Havana 1984, 1988), as well as postgraduate studies in composition with Lukas Foss and Theodore Antoniou (DMA in composition, Boston University, 1998). Paraskevas embarked on a successful career as a guitar soloist and contemporary composer, achieving distinctions in both disciplines: Grammy nomination for Chase Dance (Bridge Records, 1999); first prize for Night Wanderings (Lukas Foss Composition Competition, 2000); first prize for Phygein Adynaton (National Composers Conference, 1997); and numerous prestigious commissions, performances, and publications. Following teaching posts at Northeastern and Boston Universities, Paraskevas has taught since 2001 at the Berklee College of Music in Boston (professor of composition and classical guitar). Although he was struck by focal hand dystonia in 2009, he recovered in 2013 after reconstructing his playing technique.
His eclectic compositional style arises as an idiosyncratic integration of seemingly conflicting influences – from avant-garde approaches to harmonic structure, form, and timbre, to pop-folk modal and rhythmical concepts – amalgamated into a personal evocative musical language, characterized by rhythmic verve, melodic grace, dramatic (and sometimes unexpectedly humorous) gestures, and ritualistic or theatrical elements. The latter feature has also led Paraskevas to the creation of films, notably the acclaimed I Finally Did It (Gold award, California Film Awards 2010), dealing wittily with Death, a recurring extra-musical theme in his music.
Publishers: Bèrben (Ancona, Italy), Clear Note (USA), Santerelle/Allegra Musikverlag (Erzhausen, Germany), Papagrigoriou-Nakas (Athens, Greece), Centaur Records, Bridge Records (USA).
The Groves Dictionary of Music