Musical Workshop οn Makam Improvisation (Taksim)

Coordinator: Μichalis Kouloumis

25 - 31 August

  Please, contact the administration desk to explore other options or to join the waiting list! 

Duration: 30 hours
Working time: 10.30 – 14.00 & 17.00 – 19.30
Language: English, Greek

One of the most important challenges a musician deals with is composing and performing a taksim. Issues such as structure, flow and phrasing development, choice of intervals and playing style are among those improvisers are concerned about when it comes to playing a taksim.

Violinist, improviser and composer Michalis Kouloumis visits the Music Village for the first time as a seminar instructor and invites us to dive into the world of taksim and the art of makam improvisation.

Participants will have the opportunity to play taksims by studying its different roles in musical practice.

- Introduction to a song or a classical composition
- Epilogue to a ritual Mevlevi Ayin suite
- Interlude / climax / miyan (rhythmical or not) in a dancing tune
- Taksim as a composition

At the same time, Michalis Kouloumis will focus on the melodic progression (seyir) and intervals on specific makams, through the performance of instrumental tunes and compositions from the Aegean Sea, Asia Minor, Cyprus, Constantinople as well as by contemporary composers. Various examples of taksims played on different instruments will be heard too.

Finally, emphasis will be given on the different techniques taking place in a taksim, such as melisma (çarpma), glissandos and vibratos, motifs, sequences and stereotypical phrases.

Previous experience on makam improvisation (taksim).
- Basic level of sight reading (5-line staff).
- The workshop is aimed for all musical instruments that can perform microtones.


2014 2015 Michalis Kouloumis portraitΜichalis Kouloumis

Born in a musical family in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, the violinist and composer Michalis Kouloumis developed a strong musical background and sensitivity from his early years. He studied European classical violin under the guidance of Yorgos Zimpoulakis, but soon his personal pursuits led him to the musical traditions of the Orient and especially that of Eastern Mediterranean.
He graduated with ‘Distinction’ from the Department of Greek Traditional music of the Philippos Nakas Conservatory in Athens, being a disciple of violinist Yorgos Marinakis. During the same period, he completed his undergraduate studies at the Department of Physics, University of Athens.
In 2013, he obtained his MA of Music in Violin Performance (Taksim in Ottoman Classical music) from Codarts, University for the Arts (Netherlands). Michalis Kouloumis was the first alumnus in Codarts to receive the ‘10/10 Excellence in Performance’, prize given by the ‘Friends of Codarts Foundation’.
He participated in violin workshops led by Nedim Nalbantoğlu and Baki Kemancı, ‘Ottoman Classical music’ workshops led by ney masters Kudsi Ergüner and Ömer Erdoğdular as well as ‘Makam Composition’, ‘Rhythmic Improvisation’, ‘Sound Recording and Production’ and ‘Turkish Makam music’ led by Ross Daly, Harris Lambrakis, Efren Lopez and Murat Aydemir respectively.
He performs on stage and records with some of the most important representatives of the Mediterranean music scene: Jordi Savall, Kudsi Ergüner, Ross Daly, Nana Mouskouri, Gabriel Yared, Sokratis Sinopoulos, Efren Lopez, Dine Doneff, Thimios Atzakas, Harris Lambrakis, Chronis Aidonidis, Manos Achalinotopoulos, Zohar Fresco, Waed Bouhassoun, Jose Manuel Leon, among others.
Performance highlights include: Royal Albert hall (UK), Union Chapel London (UK), King’s Place London (UK), Onassis Cultural Centre Athens (GR), Sommerton Festival (DE), Brighton Fringe Festival (UK), Palace of Arts Budapest (HU), Katara Festival Qatar (QA), WOMAD (UK), Houdetsi Music Festival Crete (GR), Mawazine Festival Rabat (MAR), Sharq Taronalari Festival Samarqand (UZ), Bimhuis Amsterdam (NL), Alhambra Concert Hall Paris (FR), Festival Abbaye de Fontfroide (FR), Sydney festival (AU), Pafos17 European Capital of Culture (CY), WOMEX Showcase Canary Islands (ES).
Michalis Kouloumis’ personal discography includes his debut album ‘SOIL’ (2014) which comprises of music from Cyprus arranged for violin, oud, double bass and percussion, ‘EPHEMERA’ (2017) by Lingua Franca Ensemble, which consists of original compositions influenced by the musical cultures located in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as ‘DISPLACED DREAMS’.
Displaced Dreams is Michalis’ upcoming personal CD and is expected to be released in 2022. It is an extensive work which contains original compositions for orchestra and small ensemble as well as solo and duet improvisations. The composer mingles heterogeneous musical idioms, creating a deeply personal language. Displaced Dreams tells the story of people after being displaced from their homelands and their dreams.
Michalis Kouloumis is a visiting teacher at Codarts, University for the Arts in Rotterdam, specialized in Violin, Makam Theory and Improvisation as developed in Ottoman classical and Greek traditional music. He is often invited to lead seminars in universities and music festivals in Europe.