Decoding the composition
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This work for solo violin is expressive and virtuosic. Gyftiko, which translates as “gypsy-like”, was commissioned for the 2011 Michael Hill International Violin Competition. The first prize winner was Russian violinist Sergey Malov, who has since performed Gyftiko on tour in New Zealand. The work was written for performers to express individual style as well as demonstrate technical command of the violin. It has an improvisatory quality with exciting technical features including: portamenti, fast rhythmic and melismatic lines, left-hand pizzicato and double-stops.

(Apparently….) “Gyftiko reveals Psathas’ unique musical voice. He brings together influences from Eastern Europe Greece and the Middle-East. Much is packed into this five-minute work for solo violin. It is perfect for players at the top of their game who want to exhilarate audiences with virtuosic flare.”


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Project Details


for Solo Violin

Commissioner: Michael Hill International Violin Competition

Instrumentation: Violin

Premiered by Competition Competitors on June 5, 2011 at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, Queenstown Memorial Hall, Queenstown, New Zealand

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Programme Note

Gyftiko is Psathas' first work for solo violin. The piece, which is comprised of quick melismatic passages, intertwining voices, and a heavy use of double-stops, is both expressive and virtuosic. The title of the work translates to 'gypsy-like'; a moniker which relates to and informs the modal flavour throughout the piece. Gyftiko is unrelenting with regards to the level of technical competency required by the performer, and though all notes have been distinctly specified, sections of the work exhibit an improvisatory quality.

Gyftiko was commissioned by the Michael Hill International

Violin Competition (2011) with funding support from Creative New Zealand. The premiere performance-by the competition competitors took place at the Queenstown Memorial Hall, New Zealand on June 5, 2011, with the First Place award going to Sergey Malov (Russia).