Can Music Tell a Story?

A seminar in collaboration with the Laboratory of Contemporary Music, Aristotle University

Pablo Picasso Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier) Paris, late spring 1910

This is a three-hour seminar on music and narration run by Dr. Michalis Lapidakis (Professor of Composition, School of Music Studies) in collaboration with the Laboratory of Contemporary Music of Aristotle University. Dr Lapidakis will discuss the narrative aspect of music or rather the possibility of music to narrate a story. Music examples from the history of music (from Baroque to our times) of composers' attempts to enforce the narrative dimension of music - that means to make music narrate a story - will be presented. Were they successful? If yes how and if not why? The discussion will particularly focus on Samuel Beckett's relationship to music and the musical dimension of his work. Finally, Dr Lapidakis will talk about his own experience with Beckett's writing and his attempt to "translate" Beckett into music in his work "PlayS (reading Samuel Beckett)"composed in 2016.

Where: Room H (New Building of Philosophy Ground Floor, next to Amphitheatre B)
When: Wednesday 20/2/2019
What time: 16:00-19:00
Language: Greek

As there is a limited number of participants, students interested in attending the workshop should contact Maria Ristani ( and reserve a place beforehand. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

Short Bio

Michalis Lapidakis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1960. In 1988 he earned a Master's degree in Composition at Boston University and in 1993 a Doctoral degree (D.M.) in Composition at Northwestern University. He studied with Th. Antoniou, B. Rands, A. Stout. He has attended composition seminars with O. Messiaen, P. Boulez, T. Takemitsu and I. Xenakis among others. His compositional output includes works for orchestra, various instrumental ensembles, solo intruments, voice, instruments with electronics that have been performed in Greece and internationally (i.e. Carnegie Hall, Konzerthaus Wien among others). His works have been published by the music house "Philippos Nakas" and BabelScore and have appeared with various labels (Capstone Records, Lyra, Dissonance Records, e.t.c.). M.L. has also written music for multi-media productions, theater and contemporary dance. A large part of his music is based on literary and other exramusical sources whereas in all his music one can trace the composer's tendency to integrate the strict organization of musical structures with a deep respect for the unexpectedness of true improvisation. As a review indicates "Lapidakis displays an intoxicated and elemental fascination with what in German would be called Stoff (a more polysemic term than "material"), and hearing him generate and manipulate it was like watching elaborate wooden curios being hand-turned." In 2000 he has been elected Assistant Professor of Composition at the School of Musical Studies of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Since 2015 Michalis Lapidakis is Professor of Composition. In 2009 he founded the Contemporary Music Lab of A.U.Th. 2013-2015 he has been the Head of the School of Musical Studies. He is a member of the Greek Composers' Union.