|Bio-, Photo -, Discography:
Born Heliopolis, Egypt, January 8, 1926; died in Athens, January 8, 1970.
The son of a Greek chocolate manufacturer who settled in Egypt, he grew
up in the patrician Greek community of cosmopolitan Alexandria. These
surroundings - not least the shadow of an ancient civilization obsessed
with survival after death - had a deep effect on his creative personality.
His education was predominantly in English institutions, giving him a
mastery of the language in which he was to write his many unpublished
philosophical and musical texts, his diaries and notes on his dreams.
He studied with Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein at King´s
College in Cambridge, (...) studied counterpoint and composition privately
with Hans Ferdinand Redlich at Letchworth (1945-48). (...)
In 1949, 1951 and 1953 he followed the film music course of Francesco
Lavagnino at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena. (...) At some unknown
time his interest in depths psychology took him to the Jung Institute
in Zurich. It has not been confirmed that he took lessons with C.G. Jung
himself, but his brother Evangelos, who was a profound influence on Christou,
studied at the Institute from 1951-54 and became a practising analyst.
In 1950 or 1951 Jani Christou returned to Alexandria. (...) In 1960 he
settled in Greece dividing his time betweeen Athens and Chios. (...) He
died, like his brother, in a car crash.
Jani Christou´s oeuvre presents a continuously evolving unity.
(...) The works of the first period were described by Christou as ´freely
atonal´. (...) In this early period Christou´s music and his
philosophy were already interdependent.
In his second phase Christou progressed to what he called ´meta-serialism´producing
a sparkling polyphony from rhythmic ostinatos and the ´fusion of
incompatible instrumental colours´. (...)
In dramatic contrast to the second, the third phase manifests Christou´s
increasing concern with death and afterlife. (...) Christou began to use
a notation of his own (...) but always determined durations for passages
of more or less free improvisation. (...) Also in his last years Christou
became more concerned with the possibilities of tape, producing in his
own studio a rich archive of sound recordings.
Some of the ANAPARASTASIS were possibly intended for incorporation in
the ORESTIA (...) which was to take the Aeschylean trilogy as the starting-point
for dealing with mythical archetypes. (...) In his last interview, Christou
associated the ORESTIA with »the panic of the lack of solution to
the problem of human existence«.