composer, cellist and cretan lyra performer

Photography by Lambros Papanikolatos

Yiorgos Kaloudis is a cellist, Cretan lyra performer, improviser, composer, cello teacher at the Athenaeum Conservatory, in Athens. He performs his recitals “Innovating Tradition” with his own compositions for cello and classical cretan lyra, and the “J.S.BACH: Cello Suites on the Cretan Lyra, in concert halls, archaeological monuments, churches and museums around the world.


Born in Athens, Greece he had the privilege to grow up in families of musical origin (Crete & Corfu). He experienced music by his families that included several musicians like composers, violinists, opera singers, drummer, classical pianist, mandolin, lute and Cretan lyra players.


He started playing the Cretan lyra at a very early age, and continued the family tradition, as fourth generation of native Cretan lyra players. He studied classical guitar with Liza Zoe and Evangelos Asimakopoulos at the Athenaeum Conservatory. Later on, he decided to study the cello with Claire Demeulenaere, at the Athenaeum Conservatory, where he graduated with Honours. He also studied with the cellist Renato Ripo for one year. Yiorgos was awarded a scholarship by the Fulbright Foundation, providing him with the opportunity to continue his studies in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Ted Greene and James Mahlis, in composition, orchestration and improvisation.


His discography consists of 4 CDs, TRUTH, ON THE WIND, & APTERA with his compositions, and the J.S.BACH: Cello Suites on the Cretan Lyra, released by the DNA Label Records. Kaloudis composes Contemplative Music for his two instruments and experiments on the effect of sound on the subtle human emotions. While performing, Yiorgos combines his techniques and different cello and lyra timbres with a sensitive use of live looping, creating contemplating music, with influences of classical and ambient music.


Also, since 1993, as a cellist and multi- instrumentalist, he collaborated in numerous tours, productions and recordings in the Greek musical scene. 


J.S.BACH: Cello Suites on the Cretan lyra, has been released by the DNA Label Records in a world premiere recording. Here, he worked by maintaining the original tonalities of the work, in deep respect for the tone colour of the composer in attempting to avoid unnecessary changes in the music. 


The groundbreaking achievement of this work is that for the very first time, a Greek traditional instrument interprets classical music. Motivated by his Cretan origin and his cellist skills, he created an innovative Cretan Lyra by adding a fourth-string (the low C of the cello), on the traditional three-string lyra, in order to be able to perform Bach’s composition. Working on this project has been a longstanding effort and has taken twelve years of study and research before achieving it. It is Yiorgos Kaloudis’s passion, the commitment, the distinct approach to music, and his ability to honour the traditional Cretan Lyra. 


As a Cretan lyra soloist he collaborated with international orchestras including the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Lege Artis Chamber Choir in St. Petersburg, the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Thessaloniki. 



  • On July 2019, he presented the J.S.BACH: Cello Suites on the Cretan Lyra, at the Festival Diagonales d’ete 2019, ENSEMBLE ORGANUM - CIRMA, at the St.Peter Cathedral, Moissac/France, in collaboration with the Maestro Marcel Perez.

  • On June 2019, he presented the recital "Innovating Tradition", at the AD LUCEM Festival, at the St.Peter Cathedral in Riga, Latvia. 

  • On April 2019, he presented the recital "Innovating Tradition", at the UNESCO Auditorium in Paris. 

  • The composition "Orthi Petra (Necropolis)", for 4-string Cretan lyra and cello, from the new CD APTERA, will be surrounding the archaeological exhibition « Crete. Emerging cities: Aptera ― Eleutherna ― Knossos. Three ancient cities revived », at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens. (December 2018 - April 2019).

  • On November of 2018, the Regional Union of Crete in collaboration with the Embassy of France in Greece, invited him to present the lecture of Y.Kaloudis with the title “Cretan Lyra in the Western European Music”, analysing the 12 years of study and research upon the J.S.BACH Cello Suites on the Cretan Lyra.

  • On June 2018, the Regional Union of Crete, the Ephorate of Antiquities of Rethymno and the Museum of Eleftherna, invited him to give a unique recital of the "Innovating Tradition" at the Homeric Necropolis “Orthi Petra” at Eleftherna, Rethymno (8000years BC). 

  • On March 2018, he presented the recital "Innovating Tradition", in Megaron Athens Underground Concert Hall. 

  • On February 2018, he presented the recital "Innovating Tradition", in Cyprus, at the archaeological Kastelliotissa Hall in Nicosia. 

  • On October 2017, he presented the recital "Innovating Tradition", in Cyprus, at the archaeological Royal Manor House in Paphos. 

  • On August 2017, the Regional Union of Crete and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Chania invited him to give the premiere recital of the "Innovating Tradition" at the reopening of the Ancient Theatre of Aptera, in Chania, after more than 2000 years of silence. 

  • On March 2017, he presented the J.S.BACH: Cello Suites on the Cretan Lyra, in Megaron Athens Concert Hall, in a World Premiere concert. 

  • On October 2016 participated at Paris "Nuit Blanche" Festival by playing extracts from the album J.S. Bach Cello Suites on the Cretan lyra. 

  • On March 2015, the recital "Innovating Tradition", has been presented at the opening of the New Archaeological Museum of Dion, by the occasion of the Ancient Hydraulis inauguration.

  • On September 2015, he was awarded the Special Jury Prize for the Best Musical Composition and Interpretation at the IV International Puppet Festival in Almaty Kazakhstan.

  • On April 2007, participated at the Manchester Jazz Festival, with the band Chosen, with Sylvan Richardson and Ruth Hill, performing his compositions.

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