Violin Virtuoso Georgios Demertzis was born in 1958 and studied the violin with Stelios Kafantaris at the Hellenic Conservatory from which he graduated with the first prize. He then studied with Max Rostral in Bern.
Georgios Demertzis was a prizewinner in the 1981 Alberto Curci competition. In 1986 he was awarded the Montsenigos Prize of the Academy of Athens.
He has performed with many symphony orchestras in Europe, including the European Union Orchestra, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic and the Malmo Symphony Orchestra and all the major Greek orchestras. He has appeared at festivals in Europe, the USA and Australia. Among his many feats are included solo concertos of the 24 Paganinis Caprices, even in recent years. His repertory is vast, and he can easily transition from Vivaldi's to Piazzola's Four Seasons, from Bach and Beethoven to Bartok, Sostakovich and Skalkottas. Over the years Demertzis has solidified his reputation as the prime interpreter of works by Nikos Skalkottas and Carl Nielsen and as the champion of modern Greek composers.
He is the founder of the New Hellenic Quartet with whom he has recorded music by more than 20 Greek composers. He has premiered many Greek works (solo works, chamber music and concertos), several of which are dedicated to him. His discography includes greater than 40 recordings. Among the Greek composers he has interpreted are Sicilianos, Kondogiorgos, Dragatakis, Tsalahouris, Tsontakis, Constantinides and Mikis Theodorakis. He has helped discover, edit, archive, preserve and disseminate many original works by Greek composers. For the chamber works of Mikis Theodorakis he has acted as editor for the Schott publishing company.
As a young violinist, Georgios Demertzis grew accustomed to hearing the music of Nikos Skalkottas. After all, they both grew up in the city of Chalkida, on the Greek island of Evia. "On every anniversary of Nikos Skalkottas' death, small festivals would be organized and broadcast throughout Greece. By the late-1960s, on the 20th anniversary of [Skalkottas'] death, I had heard many of his pieces played in simpler forms, although I still had not heard his large symphonic pieces. I was just so charmed by his work." That childhood introduction to the twentieth-century Greek composer became a lifelong fascination for Demertzis. Skalkotta's Violin Concerto is as perfect a combination of Schoenbergian expression and Stravinskian mobility as you'll ever hear. Georgios Demertzis' account of the violin concerto and of Skalkottas' chamber music for violin are mandatory listening for anyone willing to give this extraordinarily original and engrossing composer the attention his music so richly deserves.
Hans Keller lauded Skalkottas as one of the five most significant composers of the 20th century, en par with Stravinski, Shostakovitch, Schoenberg and Bartok. Skalkottas remained relatively unexplored compared to the other four. The real breakthrough for his music is owed to BIS, which embarked upon a huge recording program, and has released Skalkottas' music in many genres. Thus began the critically acclaimed fruitful collaboration between BIS, Georgios Demertzis and the New Hellenic Quartet that also led to the recordings of Nielsen's and Respighi's Chamber works. Nielsen's son-in-law renowned violinist Emil Donanyi hand-picked Demertzis for the recording of Nielsen's works.
The BIS label recognizes Demertzis as "the foremost defender" of Nielsen's opus while The Strad adds: "Come with me Nielsen seems to say, and Demertzis follows with a will....Highly stimulating."
Those familiar with Demertzis' work recognize his brilliance. Whenever gratitude is expressed to him for his commitment to music he usually answers quite simply and modestly: "to play music is not just a duty, it is rather a privilege".
Demertzis' discerning taste becomes evident from the quality of musicianship among his musical partners that include (but are not limited to) Byron Fidetzis, Maria Asteriadou, Thanos Apostolopoulos, Vassilis Varvaressos, Noe Inui, Simos Papanas, Vyron Fithetzis, Nikos Christodoulou, Angelos Liakakis, Dimitris Chandrakis, Samaltanos, Desyllas and David Bogorad. Demertzis is characterized by his respect for his colleagues, affection and sense of partnership in all his collaboration. His collegial ethos mirrors his deep simplicity and humanity that transfer unmarred in the character of his sound: clear, bold, pure, touching, identifiable, unique.
Georgios Demertzis was an Associate Professor of String Performance at Lawrence Conservatory from 1976 until 2000, when he returned to his native Greece with the vision of continuing the work of his teacher Stelios Kafantaris and continuing a Greek School of Violin playing. He currently teaches all levels of violin education as Principal of String Pedagogy at the Kodály Conservatory in Athens, Greece. Apart from his continuing work as a top-flight virtuoso Georgios Demertzis is devoted to the musical development of talented students from toddlers to soloists.