Travelogue: composer residency at the vasilicos of santorini, greece (may 2024)

(Above: an exquisite sunset over Santorini, as viewed from The Vasilicos' Efta Suite balcony.)

In late May of 2024, I was honored to serve composer-in-residence at The Vasilicos, an elegant seven-suite boutique hotel perched on the magnificent Caldera of Santorini, Greece; as part of its “[To Build] A [Temporary] Home” ad hoc residency program.

While in residence, I took notes and conducted research for a new string quartet work using my sound-to-color synesthesia, inspired by the rainbow hues of the world-famous Santorini sunset, as viewed from The Vasilicos’ Efta balcony. The new work is currently being composed, and will later be recorded in partnership with The Vasilicos, with a live premiere anticipated for the future.

Here are a few photos and stories from my time in Santorini!:

The entrance to The Vasilicos, with a hint of the Aegean sea in the distance. Conceived, designed, and curated by proprietress Daphne Valambous; The Vasilicos truly transports its visitors to another world.

The charming balcony of The Vasilicos' Efta Suite, where I carried out my residency...

...and the balcony's breathtaking panoramic view! It was incredible! 

A portion of the Efta Suite's interior, filled with sunshine.

Efta even had its own in-suite library, perfect for pondering art and poetry in moments of quiet.

During my residency, I cataloged my impressions of the sunsets via videos, photos, and hand-written notes. The picture above doesn't do the experience justice!

One of the beautiful breakfasts served at the Vasilicos, resplendent with colorful fruits. I was also enamoured with the gorgeous deep blue calico pattern on The Vasilicos' signature Burleigh tableware! 

At the Vasilicos, art is everywhere -- even a broken plate has a second life as a lovely keychain, thanks to The Vasilicos' partnership with jewlery artist Dolly Boucoyannis.

During the day I had time to explore, and went on a few excursions, including making the approximate 9km hike from Imerovigli to the town of Oia (a wonderful adventure that I highly recommend)! 

Synesthetic study: mossy rocks on the trail from Imerovigli to Oia in G minor - deep green, rust orange, and pale green (it's there, you just have to look closely!).

Back at The Vasilicos to write and organize notes, from inside the Efta Suite's hidden cove.

More sightseeing -- this time to the Church of the Holy Cross in the village of Perissa.

The volcanic cliffs of Santorini's Red Beach, near the village of Akrotiri.

Sitting under a canopy in the enchanted garden of the Symposion Cultural Center in Megolachori, Santorini. Owned by cultural center director Argy Kakissis and musical director, musician, and instrument artistan Yannis Pantazis; Symposion hosts a number of concerts, presentations, and classes in its magical space, as well as an instrument workshop in which Yannis creates customized flutes, drums and more inspired by the instruments of ancient Greece. I was lucky enough to be in town for one of their afternoon musical instrument demonstrations, which was amazing!

On the morning of my departure, I had a final meditative moment on the Efta Suite's balcony, in in the good company of this lovely pottery piece designed by ceramist Despina Xenakis (for her "A Leaf of One's Own" artistic collaboration with The Vasilicos). It was hard to say goodbye, but I knew it was time to head home and write the new music that will result from this wonderful residency!

Thank you so much to Daphne and the entire team at The Vasilicos for this unforgettable residency experience! It was nothing short of magical, and I look forward to sharing the new compositions that are currently taking shape as a part of this collaboration. More info on the release date and premiere will be posted in 2025, but until then, Σας ευχαριστώ!

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