Born in a musical family in the island of Cyprus, the violinist Michalis Kouloumis developed a strong musical conception and sensitivity from his early years. Today he is one of the most important world music violinists (specialised in Greek traditional music, Cyprus traditional music and Ottoman classical music). Michalis Kouloumis is widely appreciated for his improvisational skills in "taksims" and the use of special techniques, such as diplochordo* and overtones in his playing.
He currently lives between Netherlands and Cyprus
*idiomatic playing which originates from Asia Minor, where the strings are tuned in E5 - E4 - D4 - G3 and the E4 string is moved towards E5, so as to be played simultaneously - as a double string (turkish term: çiftetelli)
Current projects and collaborations
Michalis Kouloumis has recently released his debut album "SOIL", a unique aesthetic approach to Cypriot traditional music with improvisations (taksims) and colorful soundscapes.
He is currently performing with the "Michalis Kouloumis Trio", a new project which includes traditional music from Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and the Balkans, blended with their own material, soulful improvisations and plenty of experimentation. He is a member of the "Lingua Franca Ensemble", along with Michalis Cholevas on tarhu, Gannis Koutis on oud and voice and Ruven Ruppik on percussions. The ensemble creates and performs music with respect to the character of the modal music cultures and they are about to release their album "Ephemera". Michalis Kouloumis is also giving duet concerts with the multi-instrumentalist Efren Lopez and tours with Cigdem Aslan and her band.
Michalis Kouloumis has collaborated and performed with some of the foremost representatives of the World music scene: Nana Mouskouri, Gabriel Yared, Kudsi Ergüner, Ross Daly, Sokratis Sinopoulos, Keyvan Chemirani, Zohar Fresco, Manos Achalinotopoulos, En Chordais, Chronis Aidonides, Cigdem Aslan, Karapatakis-Takoushis quartet, Savvas Savva and many others.
Performance highlights include
Union Chapel London (UK), Kings Place London (UK), Sommerton Festival (GER), Brighton Fringe Festival (UK), Palace of Arts Budapest (HU), In Tune BBC Radio 3, Forde Festival (NOR), Womad Charlton Park (UK), Womad Caceres (SP), Houdetsi Music Festival Crete (GR), Mawazine Festival Rabat (MAR), Bimot Theatre Jerusalem (ISR), Suzanne Dellal Concert Hall Tel Aviv (ISR) Festival Musica Urbana Valencia (SP), Talos Festival Puglia (IT) , Almeida Theater London (UK), Onassis Cultural Center Athens (GR), Avgo Thessaloniki (GR), Brighton Dome (UK), Rialto Theater Limassol (CY), Art-Base, Brussels (BE), Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin (GER), Eunic Jazz Festival Berlin (GER), The Mekan Istanbul (TR), Bimhuis Amsterdam (NL), Festival Nous Sommes Greques (BEL), Alhambra Music Hall Paris (FR).
Michalis Kouloumis is a teacher of violin and modal improvisation in Rotterdam Conservatoire (CODARTS) since 2013. He also gives violin workshops and masterclasses around Europe on domains such as: Modal music (Maqam), Violin extended techniques, Modal Improvisation (Taksim), Violin in the Middle Eastern Music, Violin in Greek Traditional Music and Ottoman Classical music.
Masters Degree on Violin Performance in World music (Ottoman classical music, Taksim) from Rotterdam Conservatoire (Codarts). Awarded the "10/10" excellence in performance, prize given by the "Friends of Codarts Foundation".
Greek Traditional Music Degree with "Distinction" from the Philippos Nakas Conservatory in Athens, being a student of the distinguished violinist Yiorgos Marinakis.
Participated in workshops and masterclasses for Ottoman classical music with Kudsi Ergüner, Murat Aydemir, Baki Kemancı, Ömer Erdoğdular and Ross Daly.
Bachelor's Degree in Physics from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.
Michalis Kouloumis performs a violin taksim on makam Rast.
Protaras, Cyprus, 2016
Filming/Editing/Production: Euripides Dikaios