A short interview with Byron Zeliotis.
When did you start playing guitar?
I first started learning classical and electric guitar in Athens when I was twelve years old.
My first teacher was Stefanos Nicolaidis an amateur mandolin and guitar player, who loved music and the performing arts. Although he was an old man at the time and had very little technique to speak of, he did teach me the rudiments of music and more importantly transmitted to me his love for music and his sense of discipline for practising regularly. I still remember him with affection and regard him as my first and maybe last teacher!
A few years later I moved to Scotland where I studied the guitar formally for a year or so and passed all my grade examinations.
Self-taught, I have learnt by working my way througha large part of the classical guitar repertoire and trusting my musicality. At regular intervals I have studied in private masterclasses with some of the best guitarists of our generation and in the classical world today; Guitarists such as Carlos Bonnel, Timothy Walker, Jonathan Leathwood, Xuefei Yang, Dimitris Kotronakis and others.
I received my BA hons and B.ED in music from the University of Anglia Ruskin University, and taught music in schools for fifteen years. I also taught the guitar full time working for Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire music services.
As a performer I have given numerous solo classical guitar recitals and have also performed with small orchestras. I have also composed and performed works for guitar, choir, voice and ensembles.
I love performing live. Indeed I feel that nothing beats LIVE music. Each performance is unique and unrepeatable.
Although I am a classical guitarist I also love improvising and playing other music styles -folk, rock and blues- with other musicians.
How does the internet change the music industry?
I think it is great that we can see and listen to each other on the net across the whole world today. The display of new techniques of playing the guitar displayed on the world wide web is fantastic and of course MP3s and videos are a great learning and teaching resource. On the other hand, the reality of 'being there' , LIVE next to a player or teacher will never be substituted by anything electronic because 'Music' is always performed in a specific context, at a certain time and place for whoever happens to be there. The audience affect the performer and the music being played! So music is meant to be for 'your ears only'. MP3s and videos however are great for advertising a sample of one's playing to others.
Would I sign a record contract with a major label?
Yes as long as they allow me to preserve the integrity of the music I play and allow me to express myself in a creative manner.
What are my influences?
I like good music from all styles because I believe that music can transform the human soul and this can be achieved through any music genre.
I love listening to Bach, (especially his keyboard works played by Glenn Gould), Mozart, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky etc and from the classical guitar world my guitar technique has been influenced by masters like John Williams, Julian Bream, N. Yepes , Andres Segovia etc .
From folk and rock music my favourite guitarists are : Pierre Bensuzan, Isaac Guillory, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and many many others. The list is almost endless.
My favorite spot?
I have been lucky to live in many towns and cities and also visit many countries. If there was one single spot where I would advise someone to go to at some point in their lives I would pick the centre spot in the ancient Pantheon of Rome. For me it combines something made by man -a temple-and a divine presence combining the natural elements of nature -light, wind and rain-.
I love playing the guitar anywhere.
I have owned a variety of guitars by various luthiers such as: John Price, Paulino Berrnabe, Richard Howell, Picado, Masaru Kohno, Sakurai, Burguet, G.Gilet, Camacho, D. Hopf. My favorite guitar is a Masaru Kohno concert guitar.
To hear me play click BELOW!