Stelios Coucounaras

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oooh, orphan Stelios Coucounaras (Stelios Koukounaras), born in Athens on May 12, 1936, is a composer of classical music and a prose writer.


Maria Poulaki, sister of Philoktitis Economides, Director of the Athens State Orchestra, was Coucounaras’ first music teacher and she taught him piano and music theory. His second teacher was Marios Varvoglis, who taught him harmony and counterpoint.

Simultaneously with the music studies, Coucounaras was attending the Law School of the University of Athens but the joys of music trumped the joys of the law. After two years of serving two incompatible gods, he left Athens to continue his music studies in Hamburg’s Music Academy.

In Hamburg, he studied composition under Ernst-Gernot Klussmann, symphonic jazz under Werner Fritch, and piano under Willi Schultz-Klingstroem. In special seminars of the Academy he studied the different forms of the 12-tone system, Hindemith’s system, and all the then fashionably innovative tendencies. His exertions led to a prize awarded to him by the Academy in 1962.

In the early 1960s, Coucounaras began to entertain reservations about the overall trajectory of modern music which rejected past accomplishments, persisted in endless experimentation with atonality, and confronted concert-goers with the admonition that “nobody cares if you hear or not”. When Ernst Krenek opined that composers ought to thank the 12-tone system for relieving them of the tyranny of inspiration, Coucounaras responded by designating Krenek’s opinion as a model of perverted thinking and by asserting that the healthy survival of contemporary music demands a return to tonality.

Coucounaras’ views resonated far and wide: in Bavarian Radio, in North German Radio, in Royal Swedish Radio, in Hellenic Radio –all of whom provided him with opportunities for a more detailed exposition. In 2004, the German High Music Council invited him to participate in series of lectures on the prospects of contemporary music, sponsored by Musical Academies all over Germany.

Coucounaras is a member of the Union of Hellenic Composers, and the Union of German Composers. His works have been performed in numerous European countries, in the United States, and in Israel.


  • Symphonies: 1-4
  • Concert for Viola and Orchestra
  • Concert for Violoncello and Orchestra
  • Concert for Trumpet and Orchestra
  • Concert for Clarinet and Orchestra
  • Concert for Harp and Orchestra
  • Lieder
  • Divertimento for Violoncello and String Orchestra
  • Heinrich Heine’s Questions – Cantata for tenor, female chorus, organ and orchestra
  • Theater music, etc.

Prose Writing

In 2009 Coucounaras wrote in Greek Laicism and Music: Blues, Rock and Rebetico – Three Mythologies – One Genuine, Two Counterfeit.

In December 2014, the book was awarded a prize by the Union of Hellenic Theater and Music Critics.


  1. Greek Composers Union - Stelios Coucounaras
  2. Thomas Tamvakos reference to Mr Coucounaras publication at the jazz και τζαζ magazine
  3. WosrldCat Identities - Stelios Coucounaras
  4. Distinction Award given to Mr Stelios Coucounaras by the Union of Hellenic Theater and Music Critics. Distinction awarded to Stelios Coucounaras for his book "Laicism and Music: Blues, Rock and Rebetico – Three Mythologies – One Genuine, Two Counterfeit", for the caustic and grounded view that the author develops in relation to the unfortunately growing phenomenon of populism in Greek musical life, a phenomenon which permeates with national characteristics and with a vehicle of inaccuracies and untruths of dogmatic and idiotypos mythological character.

External links