Pianist, composer, and Inner Circle Music recording artist Lefteris Kordis has established himself as one of a few masters of his generation in the Mediterranean Jazz idiom. He grew up in Athens, Greece. Since age four, and with the support and encouragement from his parents George and Peggy, he has studied, performed, and composed music based on a spectrum of genres including Jazz, Western Classical, Modernist/Avant-Garde, Greek Folk, Byzantine chant (his grandfather was a cantor, whose brother directed a school of cantors), and Argentinean Tangos.
Lefteris serves as an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music coaching ensembles at the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute and teaching core Ear Trainining classes. He also teaches improvisation, composition, and theory privately at his home studio in Brookline, using a unique multi-disciplinary approach.
His musical experiences include stints with McArthur Fellow Steve Lacy, NEA master Sheila Jordan, Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, Robin Eubanks, George Garzone, Dimos Dimitriadis, Joe Hunt, Takis Paterelis, Dimitri Vassilakis, as well as Greek composers Mikis Theodorakis and Dionysis Savvopoulos, Greek singers Panayotis Lalezas, Fivos Delivorias, Aggelos and Stelios Dionysiou, Greek folk clarinet players Vasilis Saleas and Panayotis Haliyannis, pontian kemence players Matthaios Tsahouridis, Mihalis Kaliontzidis, Japanese shō player Ko Ishikawa, dancer Li Chiao Ping, textile design artist Sonya Clark, and numerous theater directors, actors and poets. Lefteris has premiered compositions by Yusef Lateef, John Mallia, Gene Coleman, Johannes Berauer, Greg Bullen, Ayn Inserto, and James Grant. These works involve free and structured improvisation, prepared piano, and pre-recorded and live electronics. From 1997 to 2002, Lefteris served as a pianist and transcriber/arranger for the Greek-based “Mi bemol Quintet” performing exclusively the music of Astor Piazzolla. He has also worked as a transcriber/arranger for the Dutch “Metropole Orchestra.”
Lefteris has appeared in major venues such as the Panama Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, Tsai Performance Center in Boston, Athens Concert Hall, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, WI, the Cornelia Street Café in NYC, the Shapeshifter Lab in NYC, the UMO Jazz Club in Helsinki, Finland, the Touchill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the Vlahcevic Concert Hall at the Virginia Comm University, the Tinos Jazz Festival, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Megaron Gkyzi Festival in Santorini, the Zante Jazz Fest, the Fraser Performance Studio at the WGBH radio station, and he has appeared regularly with his jazz piano trio at the Beehive in Boston, Lily Pad and Beat Brasserie in Cambridge (All at Top 100 World Jazz Clubs list according to DownBeat).
Lefteris earned prestigious awards from the Fulbright, the Onassis, the Ruth Shapiro and the Gerondelis Foundations, which allowed him to move to the US to pursue a Master’s and a Doctorate degree at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, where he served as professor and course developer for ten years. Among the courses he developed and taught are “The Music of Greece: From Homer to Xenakis,” “The Post-Bebop Era: 1949-61,” and “Byzantine Music.”
Extremely instrumental to his spiritual and artistic growth were teachers/mentors Danilo Perez, Steve Lacy, Allan Chase, Frank Carlberg, Bob Brookmeyer, Ran Blake, Jerry Leake, Dimos Dimitriadis, and Charlie Banacos, When Banacos passed away in 2009, Lefteris decided to devote his doctoral dissertation to document Banacos’s pedagogy of jazz improvisation. Currently, he is researching and writing a book on Danilo Pérez’s teaching approach and philosophy.
Lefteris performs regularly as an organist at the Rush Memorial AME Zion Church in Cambridge, MA; at the Beehive and Beat Brasserie with his jazz trio featuring John Lockwood and Karen Kocharyan, and at Brothers Kouzina playing Greek dance music. He and his wife vocalist Panayota Haloulakou lead the Greek Band Penny Muse Band and they organize the “Café Aman Fest,” a Mediterranean Folk Music Festival that occurs bimonthly at Athan’s Bakery in Brighton, MA. Participant musicians are from Greece, Turkey, Italy, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Armenia, US, and others. The main scope of the Festival is to expose East Mediterranean music and create a community of musicians and audiences.
Lefteris has taught and/or presented lectures and masterclasses at University of Missouri - St. Louis, UMASS Amherst, IASJ, UMASS Boston, University of Rhode Island, Ionian University in Greece, Panama Jazz Festival, and Walnut Hill Music School. He has organized and/or performed in benefit concerts and fundraising events, and he has provided music for people with mental disabilities and the elderly in asylums and senior homes respectively both in the US and Greece.
He is the co-director -along with Dimos Dimitriadis, head of the jazz program at the Ionian University- of the "Aqua Jazz,” a program that builds bridges between folk musicians and jazz improvisers in Greece and the East Mediterranean region.
Lefteris has recorded six CD albums as a leader and has performed in major venues in Europe and America.