George is a 2007 BMus graduate working as Stage Coordinator for the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra
The Cyprus Symphony Orchestra (CYSO)
Could you tell us a bit about what you're doing now?
As Stage Coordinator for the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, I coordinate and supervise a number of employees (technicians, theatre staff, recording engineers), ensuring that the orchestra is set up and ready for concerts, rehearsals and tours. I am responsible for all the backstage activity that takes place during rehearsals and concerts.
I'm General Director of an NGO/ cultural organisation (the 'Friends of ARTE' Society) involved in promoting all kinds of art, including music, and providing artists around the world with opportunities to present their work to the public.
As a clarinettist I have worked with musicians such as Vladimir Spivakov, Levon Chillingirian, Movses Pogossian, and Rohan de Saram. I am a member of the Evohe Wind Quintet and artist-in-residence at the Avaton Contemporary Music Festival.
And as a teacher, my students have been principal members of the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra and have taken part in festivals abroad such as the Apple Hill Summer Festival and Tangelwood Institute.
How did City help you get to where you are today?
My course at City helped me develop many skills that actually help me in my everyday life: sound technology and acoustics taught me to prepare a venue when the orchestra is on tour; sound engineering and production helped me develop an understanding of recording which allows me to communicate with the sound engineers at the CYSO; composition helped me to understand how composers think and to work with them more easily. However, what I am really grateful for is the way the course helped me to develop my creative thinking while being practical at the same time.
Why did you choose to study at City?
Studying with teachers from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama was very influential in my choice. The idea of having a top class teacher, as well as being at a university that pays attention to not only the theoretical but also the practical aspects of music was ideal for me.
Moreover, being in a big city with so many opportunities was another important aspect of my decision. Everything is there! You just walk out of your door and you can go to theatres, cinemas, exhibitions, museums, all kinds of concerts, pubs, bars etc. If you really want to become a musician or an artist, being in London will accelerate your progress.
What are your longer-term career plans?
Eventually I would like to be established as an international musician, able to travel around the world. I would also like to be in charge of a large cultural organisation that can help to create a healthy musical environment. City provided me with lots of academic information but I believe the most important thing that I gained from my time there was to be myself and always present my own opinion in what I do. I will never forget my supervisor's (Prof. Rhian Samuel) and clarinet teacher's (Julian Farell) words: "George, always remember, people are coming to listen to YOU playing a piece and not to listen to a piece played by you."
Any advice for someone considering this course?
Be very open-minded and don't be afraid to experiment with new things. The course is very well balanced and will definitely give you all the necessary information you need to evolve as a musician. Moreover, the University is located in central London where you can find everything you are looking for. Make sure you combine the knowledge you gain with the opportunities that arise in London.