Remarkable contemporary female pianists of Greece

”Music has the capacity to create a greater reality”- Daniel Barenboim


The piano. The most famous keyboard instrument. For many people the piano is considered the king of instruments. It is an instrument that represents the joys (white keys) and sorrows (black keys) of life. However, just playing the piano and being a pianist is not the same thing. For professional pianists the piano, in a sense, is the extension of themselves. For them, studying the piano is a path of spiritual evolution. This path requires effort, dedication, many hours of study, seriousness, maturity, self-discipline but also generosity. It is like the job of a Monk; It is a lonely and hard work. It takes strength and consistency, but music is that which gives strength to all people and offers spiritual nourishment to the audience. It is a world of love. The musician shares his soul with the audience and this is wonderful. So, in this article, I will mention some of the best Greek female pianists who have carved out a brilliant career, following their path with authenticity and emotion. Like any selection, this one was difficult, given that there are many remarkable pianists who have had a brilliant career. In this article, I have chosen to start with the older pianists, because I think that they are the teachers of the younger ones. They transmit their knowledge and experience to young pianists.

Dora Bakopoulou

Dora Bakopoulou is one of the most recognized piano soloists, with an important career both in Greece and abroad, and a great discography. She was born in Athens, Greece. Her appeal for music began very early, given that from the age of 4 whatever she heard on the radio, she then played on the piano. She began to study the piano at the urging and encouragement of the great conductor Dimitris Mitropoulos, who heard her play in New York at the age of 9. When she returned to Greece, she continued her studies at the Conservatory of Athens. At the age of 17, Dora received her Piano Diploma as well as first prize. Then, she continued her piano studies at the Conservatoire in Geneva, in Saltzburg and in Vienna and she apprenticed under great pianists and teachers such as Paul Badura Scoda and Nikita Magaloff. Her acquaintance and collaboration with the leading Greek composer, Mano Hadjidaki was also decisive for her career. Most of the works of Manos Hadjidakis are interpreted by Dora Bakopoulou. Moreover, she has appeared in the world’s biggest concert halls and she has been awarded in competitions. It is also important to note that the Academy of Athens has honored her for her musical contribution. Dora has collaborated with great musicians, but her great friendship with one of the greatest pianists of classical music in the world, Martha Argerich, is remarkable. Undoubtedly, Dora Bakopoulou has carved out a brilliant career, despite the difficulties. She succeeded due to her devotion and her faith in magic and the power of music.

Danae Kara

Danae Kara is a piano soloist and she has performed internationally in numerous countries. She is mainly known for her interpretation as well as the promotion of pieces of music by Greek modernist composers abroad. She was born in Istanbul and began her music studies at the age of 5. In 1966, she emigrated to Greece. She continued her music studies (piano and music theory) at the Athens Conservatory and received her Piano Diploma with first prize. She completed her music studies at Julliard School of Music in New York in 1978 as a scholarship student. She has given numerous recitals in the great concert halls of the world and has also collaborated with notable conductors. Moreover, she has made many recordings and her discography had an international impact with great reviews. Danae Kara received the ”Recording Award 2000” from ”The Union of Greek Theater and Music Critics”. Furthermore, she was honored by the ”Hellenic Music Award” from the ”National Council of Music” (member of UNESCO), for the numerous pioneering excursions she made around the world to promote Greek modernism, for example the monumental ”Third Piano Concerto” by Nikos Skalkotas in 2003. I will conclude with a very interesting review: ”Exemplary and inspiring first performances once again by Kara. Interpretations that fascinate the listener with clarity, impetus and exuberant temperament…breathtaking immediacy”- International Record Review, Charles Hopkins, Vol 5, Nov 2004.

Elena Mouzala

Elena Mouzala is a distinguished pianist and music teacher from Greece and Cyprus. She is one of the most successful women in Europe and a professor of piano in the Department of Music Studies at the Ionian University of Corfu, having also won the ”Successful Woman Award”. In May 2009, she was voted one of the hundred most important Greeks through global voting co-organized by the SKAI and BBC channels. Her talent became apparent from the first moment. You only have to consider that at the age of 4,5, she played the piano for the Queen of Belgium, at the age of 5, Elena gave her first recital, and at the age of 7 she was awarded an honorary diploma in an International Piano Competition. In 1970 she won the first Prize in the 1st Panhellenic Piano Competition and a year later she graduated from the National Conservatory of Athens with a First Prize, continuing her piano studies in France. Elena has won awards in many competitions and has given recitals in many countries. Moreover, she has collaborated with notable musicians. The reviews she has received are very good, whilst many people have referred to her extraordinary talent. She has also recorded for the radio and television of many countries and has collaborated as a soloist with many remarkable orchestras of Greece and abroad. In addition, for thirteen years, she was the artistic director of the ”Manolis Kalomoiris Festival”, one of the largest international festivals in Greece. Undoubtedly, her contribution to the field of culture is valuable.

Alexandra Papastefanou

Alexandra Papastefanou is an internationally known pianist with a remarkable career in the field of classical music. She has also stood out for her dedication to J.S Bach’s work. As Alexandra has said: ”Bach is a multifaceted language that sums up the entire history of musical thought”. Her talent was distinguished from an early age as when she was 7 years old, she gave her first piano recital. She obtained her Piano Diploma from Athens Conservatory and then continued her piano studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow, the Ferenc Liszt Academy in Budapest and finally with a scholarship, at Bloomington in Indiana, having renowned pianists as teachers. She has performed with great orchestras and she has given recitals in many European countries, USA and Canada, receiving enthusiastic reviews. The CD with J. S Bach’s ”Well Tempered Clavier”, which received excellent reviews, is important in her career. In fact, BBC Music Magazine and British Grammophone placed it among the top recordings of this work. Alexandra has also been a finalist in the Bach International Piano Competition in Toronto as well as in Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland. Furthermore, she received the Liestockl and Fazioli Awards at the Geneva International Piano Competition. I will conclude with a phrase from Alexandra about music education: ”Without any imitation into classical music education, music education as a whole is unthinkable”.

Elizabeth Kounalaki

Elizabeth Kounalaki is a renowned pianist who is notable for the skill and vigor of her interpretations. When she was 19 years old, she received the Piano Diploma from Athens Conservatory as well as 1st prize. She continued her piano studies in France with scholarships from the Academy of Athens and the French Government. In 1980, Elizabeth graduated with honors from the European Conservatory of Paris. For 3 years, she also attended piano lessons at the National Conservatory of Toulouse. Then, she participated in international piano seminars with distinguished teachers. She has given recitals in many countries as well as collaborating with important orchestras in Greece and abroad. In addition to her classical repertoire, she has performed many Greek and foreign contemporary music pieces, lots of them at first presentation. Furthermore, she has recorded for Greek and French radio and has appeared on Greek and Japanese television. She has received great reviews and has been honored with the ”Kaiti Papaioannou” 1st Prize, the Grand Prix Europen and the Chopin Prize for her interpretation in his pieces. She was also honored at the Maria Callas International Piano Competition. I will conclude with a review from the pianist György Cziffra: ”I am excited by the hearing of Elizabeth Kounalaki. She has the special quality of great artists, which will give her the rightful place in a great future”.

Agathe Leimoni

Agathe Leimoni distinguished for her unique technical perfection, style and teaching contribution, has received many awards, among them the Gold Medal of UNESCO and the Gold Medal of the Union of Bulgarian Musicians in recognition of her offering to the pedagogical field. More specifically, Agathe received her Piano Diploma with the highest honors in Greece and then continued her music studies at the Bologna State Conservatory in Italy as well as at the École Normale in Paris. She apprenticed next to excellent teachers, whilst winning awards and distinctions in piano competitions. In addition, she has performed at many concerts in Greece and in other countries. It is worth noting that Agathe is the founder and Artistic Director of many international piano competitions as well as the International Summer Piano Academy of Poros and the International Piano Festival of Poros. She also teaches at Music Academies in Paris, Belgium and Moscow. She is considered one of the most renowned piano soloists and teachers.

Theodosia Ntokou

”The road of music is not easy and it doesn’t depend only on whether someone is very good. There are many and contradictory factors”. Th. Ntokou

Theodosia Ntokou is an internationally recognized pianist with a unique talent. In 2002, she received her Piano Diploma with 1st prize from the Athens Conservatory, from professor the great pianist Ari Garoufalis. She continued her piano studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London and then in Berlin, in Budapest (Franz Liszt Academy) and in New York. She has won many awards, including 1st Prize at Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition in New York (in November 2007). Theodosia, has played in the most important festivals in the world, but what significantly contributed to her career was her appearance at the Carnegie Hall in New York (2006) and at Kammermusiksaal building of the Berliner Philarmonie, garnering excellent reviews. A very important and unforgettable date that defined her career was in 2009, when Theodosia met the best pianist in the world, Martha Argerich. Since then, Martha has been her mentor and Theodosia is under her guidance. A relationship of friendship and cooperation has developed. Furthermore, another important acquaintance and cooperation is with the legendary pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim.

Agapi Triantafyllidi

”Music is a way of living a happy life” A. Triantafyllidi

Agapi Triantafyllidi holds a prominent position as a concert pianist in Europe, America and Russia. She has performed in prestigious music halls and has collaborated with major symphony orchestras. She received her Piano Diploma with the highest Distinction at the Protoporia Conservatory of Athens and continued her academic studies in Germany. When she was 14 years old, she made her first appearance with the ERT Symphony Orchestra at the National Opera and received very good reviews. Among them, the review of the great pianist Vladimir Krainev, who praised her talent. Agapi also won the 3rd prize in the Chopin Piano Competition in Moscow, which is one of the most difficult competitions in the world. This award contributed significantly to her career. Moreover, she has won the 2nd prize in the N. Hummel Piano Competition in Slovakia. Agapi has collaborated with the greatest orchestras in Europe, Russia and America, as well as with great musicians. She is also the founder of ”Eros Ensemble” and artistic director of Protoporia Conservatory.

Lefki Karpodini

”The very talented Lefki Karpodini is another link in the long chain of important pianists in our country” E. Choriatakis

Lefki Karpodini is a renowned Greek pianist, who has been distinguished for her performances. At the age of 19, she received her Piano Diploma with honors from the Athens Conservatory and then she won the 1st Prize and the Gold Medal in the Pan-Hellenic Music Competition ”Filon”. After that, Lefki continued her music studies at ”Guildhall School of Music and Drama” in London. She also studied at the ”International Ensemble Modern Academy” in Frankfurt as well as at the ”Belgais Center” in Portugal next to amazing musicians. Since then Lefki has begun a brilliant career. She has performed in numerous countries and great music halls, receiving excellent reviews from renowned artists but also music lovers in general. Lefki has collaborated with great ensembles and orchestras and she has also recorded for BBC Radio 3 and Greek Radio. It is worth noting that she has been awarded the Sir Henry Richardson Award and Schubert Award. Last but not least, Lefki loves teaching and composing. She composes music pieces for piano and makes arrangements for different learning levels. Undoubtedly, Lefki has excellent technique and musicality, so she is a very promising young pianist.

Nefeli Mousoura

”Art exists to alleviate the imperfections of the world” N. Mousoura

Nefeli Mousoura holds a special place in the young appearances of classical music. From the age of 8 she has been awarded in several piano competitions. She obtained a Piano Diploma with the highest Distinction from Kodaly Conservatory as well as a Bachelor of Arts from the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. She has also attended seminars with great pianists such as Elisso Virsaladge and Paul Badura Scoda. Moreover, Nefeli collaborates as a piano soloist with orchestras in Greece, Austria, United States, Italy, Russia, Germany, as well as with great musicians. Undoubtedly, a very important and unforgettable moment in her career so far was her award from the Academy of Athens in 2009, as well as the winning of the international award ”Gina Bachauer” in 2014. I will conclude with a phrase of hers that I believe expresses the artist: ”Artistic creation is in constant dialogue with all moments of everyday life”.


To conclude, the job of a pianist is difficult and lonely, but it hides a magical world. The pianist through each piece of music communicates in a way with the composer and shares this idea and feelings with the audience. In this article, I mentioned some of the greatest female pianists, who have enchanted and continue to enchant the audience with their interpretation and perception of music. It was difficult to make the above selection, but I think that these women have moved the hearts of every listener with their path and emotion. I will conclude with a quote from a great and unique pianist, Vladimir Horowitz ”The piano is the easiest instrument to play in the beginning, and the hardest to master in the end”.

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