Concert Review by Daniel Ginsberg Monday March 31st

Guitarist Eleftheria Kotzia was among friends when she gave her Saturday evening recital in the warm acoustics of Bethesda’s Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ. The Greek virtuoso’s appearance was part of the International Conservatory of Music’s John E. Marlow Guitar Series, which has put on high-end classical concerts over 14 seasons. The picnic-like atmosphere complete with guitar raffle and a witty emcee gave the impression of immersion in a hospitable guitar cult.

Kotzia's comfort aside from negotiating the steep steps of the makeshift high-in-the-sky playing platform translated into vivid and energetic performances.

Most of the concert was given over to scores of little known Greek composers, evoking images of sun-drenched sea horizons, ancient myths and wild folk dances. Technique assured, Kotzia had a good sense of the music from front to back, bringing out in the contrasts between main themes and accompanying harmonies in Mikis Theodorakis's “Four Epitaphs.” A bold rendition of Bvangelos Boudounis's “Spring Songs” revealed pop and jazz influences, and she made Dimitri Pampas’s “Three Greek Dances” ripple with energy.

In the recital’s second half, Kotzia paid respect to the modern classical guitar's Spanish and Latin American roots with soulful and buoyant readings of works by such masters as Rodrigo and Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

Kotzia’s colorful playing must have been inspiring for the students in the audience, among them Christopher Philip Moy, a Levine School of Music student from Silver Spring who recently won the John and Susie Beatty Music Scholarship Competition for Classical Guitar. Moy nicely played a couple of works at the opening, showing signs of promising musicianship.