The tiny Greek island of Paxos, with its groves of olive trees, secluded beaches and coves, and pretty coastal villages, has become a favourite destination for music lovers during its annual jazz and classical music festivals.
In June, the Paxos Jazz Festival attracts talented and well-known musicians from far and wide to perform in open-air, idyllic locations with perfect summer weather. And from 2–13 September 2006 the renowned Paxos International Music Festival features classical music concerts in Loggos.
Since 1986, this Festival has established a tradition of excellence in performance, and has developed a loyal following of visitors and locals. As well as presenting major works from the chamber music repertoire, the Festival has commissioned new pieces especially for the Island. These included We Shall be Here, for a thousand and a thousand more years, a cantata tracing the history of Paxos from its mythological beginnings to the present day and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf translated into Greek. Now directed by the UK’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the 2006 Festival will present major works by composers who have anniversaries this year, including Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet; Schumann’s Piano Quintet; a Bartok String Quartet and a Shostakovich piano trio. And Guildhall students and teachers will give five special concerts. For the first time in Paxos, singers will present a repertoire of songs and arias.
The cosmopolitan capital of the Island, Gaios, bustles with life at festival time and its harbour is packed with yachts and cruisers. Cafe bars and restaurants line the waterfront, nestled between charming villas with their Venetian architecture, and the island’s nightlife includes late-night music bars overlooking the harbour. At the waterfront terrace of Bar Taxidi, in picture-postcard Loggos, you might even find Spiros, the owner, making traditional music.
Some of the best accommodation on Paxos is to be found in the lovely little fishing harbour of Loggos but, be warned, with limited accommodation Paxos villas are in high demand at the time of the music festival so be sure to make your booking way in advance.