World Soundtrack Awards 2021 will honour Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou

ELENI KARAINDROU press 4 copyright Pepi Loulakaki
News 01 Jun 2021
The World Soundtrack Awards step into their third decade celebrating the art of film music by honouring Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou. Best known for her close collaboration with director Theo Angelopoulos, she will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Soundtrack Academy. The World Soundtrack Awards Ceremony & Concert will be held on 23 October 2021 as the traditional closing event of Film Fest Ghent (12 – 23 October 2021).
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Tickets for the World Soundtrack Awards Ceremony & Concert are now available.

After a year in which the World Soundtrack Awards celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a livestream awards ceremony, the Film Fest Ghent team and the WSAcademy aim to put screen composers in the spotlight at a festive physical event. For the first time ever, the WSA Ceremony & Concert will take place in the impressive surroundings of the Opera of Ghent. The WSA intends to safely bring back together the film music community, from industry professionals to fans from all over the world.

As of tradition, the World Soundtrack Awards Ceremony & Concert will be the closing event of Film Fest Ghent. From 12 to 23 October 2021, the city of Ghent will form the scenery for the 48th edition of Film Fest Ghent as well as the WSA Industry Days (20 – 23 October). WSA2021 also welcomes back the annual thematic concert, which is planned for Friday 22 October 2021. Maestro Dirk Brossé will be conducting the Brussels Philharmonic, performing at both the thematic concert and the World Soundtrack Awards.

On the occasion of the 21st edition of the WSA, Film Fest Ghent is honoured to announce Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou as a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. She will be one of the central guests at the WSA Ceremony & Concert and will accompany the Brussels Philharmonic on piano.

Lifetime Achievement Award liggend© Photo: Pepi Loulakaki

Born in the Greek mountain village of Teichio, Eleni Karaindrou is a globally renowned film, television and theatre composer who discovered films from her bedroom window, as her Athens home at age seven was beside an open-air cinema. She studied piano and music theory in Greece before moving to Paris during the Greek military junta. There she studied ethnomusicology and developed her love for traditional instruments. Over the years she has assembled an impressive oeuvre of film and television scores, in addition to her more than fifty compositions for theatre productions. In her career she has worked with legendary directors such as Chris Marker, Jules Dassin and Margarethe von Trotta. Her music has featured in popular films, notably the blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road in which two of Karaindrou’s compositions were used, proving the fact that her scores have a cultural impact outside the films they were written for. Her latest film score will be heard in Terrence Malick’s new feature film, currently titled The Way of the Wind.

Undoubtedly, Eleni Karaindrou is most famous for her close collaboration with Greek director Theo Angelopoulos. Until his death in 2012, they worked together for more than two decades on eight feature films. Seven years after her debut in feature film (Takis Kanellopoulos’ Memories of Sunday), Karaindrou received the prize for best film score for Roza at the 1982 Thessaloniki Film Festival. The president of the jury was filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos and he immediately asked her to work with him. Together they went on to collaborate on Voyage to Cythera (1984), The Beekeeper (1986), Landscape in the Mist (1988), The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991), Ulysses’ Gaze (1995), Palme d’Or-winning Eternity and a Day (1998), Oscar-nominated The Weeping Meadow (2004) and The Dust of Time (2008). She has often compared their creative relationship with the one between Federico Fellini and Nino Rota, who equally inspired each other. In 1992 she won the International Fellini Prize from Europa Cinema in Italy.

Hailed by Time magazine as “Greece’s most eloquent living composer”, Karaindrou describes herself as an “instinctive” composer, who deems her relation to the camera much more important than her relation to the screenplay. She brings together classical and traditional elements, often combining the Greek santouri with oboes, violas, cellos and/or accordions. Karaindrou is drawn to a mix of modern classical music and folk music, each time creating an emotional climate close to melancholy or nostalgia, not coincidentally two words of Greek origin. On her return to Greece after her studies she founded the Laboratory for Traditional Instruments at the ORA Cultural Centre. She has been an active campaigner on behalf of her country’s musical traditions for over four decades.

ELENI KARAINDROU press 1 copyright Takis Diamantopoulos
"I am deeply honoured by the decision of the World Soundtrack Academy to award me the most significant prize for a composer of film music, the World Soundtrack Lifetime Achievement Award. With enormous pleasure and gratitude, I accept this great honour. I would like to express my thanks to the Academy and share this award with all directors I worked with. But especially Theo Angelopoulos with whom I worked on eight films. I also want to thank my producer and director of ECM Records, Manfred Eicher, for our joint creative journey of more than thirty years now."
Eleni Karaindrou

The Opera of Ghent will be the stage of the World Soundtrack Awards for the first time. A building with a history of almost two centuries, the Opera is an icon in the heart of Ghent and will be the perfect place to celebrate film music with WSAwards guests and nominees.