Iakovos Kolanian, an well-known international guitarist, with numerous performances in Greece and abroad, ranks among the most prominent artists of his generation. Always attended with interest by the public, his interpretations, driven by vision and faith, often form a bridge between classical music and the music traditions of the world.

Iakovos Kolanian studied classical guitar with Evangelos Assimakopoulos at the National Conservatory of Athens, Greece. He graduated in 1985, awarded with the first prize and special honors for exceptional performance. Subsequently, he broadened his knowledge by attending various seminars in Greece and abroad.

He started his musical performance journey by giving individual recitals in many cities in Greece and on television and radio programs. In addition, he performed as a soloist with almost all Greek symphonic orchestras (Athens State Orchestra, Thessaloniki State Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra of Greek Broadcasting Corporation, the Orchestra of Colors, the Camerata Orchestra of Athens, etc.).

Presenting his first album in 1989, consisting of his own transcriptions of Armenian popular music, Kolanian toured in England, France, Italy, and Austria, while also being featured on BBC, Radio France, and the Austrian Television (ORF). His collaboration with the Symphonic Orchestra of Armenia and its conductor Loris Tjeknavorian resulted in the recording of “Zarhe,” a concert for guitar and orchestra, and the release of a CD – with the composer himself as the conductor, which Kolanian has performed in various cities all over the world.

In 2002, a new CD was released by “Eros Music” with the J. S. Bach Lute Suites transcribed for guitar by Kolanian himself. The following year, in a CD released by the “Pomegranate” company out of Boston, MA, Kolanian recorded anew the Armenian popular songs on his own transcription, adding also works of the Armenian national composer, Komitas. That CD won an award in Hollywood, USA, as the best in the category of Best Instrumental Albums. The success was followed by a new tour in various cities of the US and Canada, including, among others, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Austin, and Vancouver.

His latest recording activities include a CD with works of Agustin Barrios, released by the “Pomegrenate” company in Greece and abroad, as well as his transcription for guitar of the famous work “Epitafios” by the world-renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.

 

On November 14, 2009, on the 26th anniversary of the 1973 student uprising at the Polytechnic University of Athens against the Greek military junta, 70,000 copies of this CD were distributed by the daily Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia. For this recording, Kolanian received a note with the following complimentary remarks by the legendary composer:

“Thirty-five years since John Williams and some other great guitarists have dealt with my work, and specifically with “Epitafios,” Iakovos Kolanian comes to add his own view, in the double role of arranger and performer.

 

In arranging the eight parts of the work for solo guitar, I believe that, while he remains faithful to the spirit and letter of “Epitafios,” he also renders fantastic “breadth” and “depth” to it, by making best use of all the great technical and expressive potentials of this magnificent and difficult instrument. Thus, having no intention to underestimate the previous attempts, I dare say that I consider this arrangement as being the closest to the spirit of my work, while, at the same time, it enables the performer to wholly  unfold all potentials of musical expression and technical maturity.

 

I rank Kolanian, as a performer, at an equal level of excellence, since in many parts of the work, he achieves technical and expressive perfection. It is a fact ,though, that “Epitafios” for solo guitar, in its entirety, attains a new dimension, which, I’m sure, will be fully appreciated both by those who are familiar with my music and the larger audience.

 

I truly wish for him to enjoy the great success he deserves. I would also like to publicly express my affection and thanks for his love towards my work.”

 

Mikis Theodorakis – Athens, 9/18/2006

 

 
On September, 2011 he received the Komitas medal of the Government of the Republic of Armenia-Ministry of Diaspora for his high-level creativity and performance in the sphere and for making considerable contributions to the development of Armenia-Diaspora partnership through activities.
 

For the last three years, Iakovos Kolanian has been collaborating with the “Philippos Nakas” musical publishing house, recording CDs with works of E. Pujol, J. Sagreras, F. Carulli, M. Carcassi, and F. Sor, and publishing the respective musical books.

In parallel with his artistic activity, Kolanian teaches at the “Philippos Nakas” Conservatory, and he also is the Director of the guitar department of the “Contemporary Music Education” Conservatory in Athens, Greece.