Leonidas Kanaris is one of the important Greek composers of his generation. He has written about 63 compositions to date, including works for various solo instruments and chamber music ensembles, string and symphonic orchestra, concertos and a symphonic cantata. He has also written cycles of songs and vocal compositions (based on poems by Greek poets such as: K. Kavafis and K. Karyotakis, as well as poems by: Ch. Baudelaire, E. A. Poe, J. W. von Goethe and others), choir music, musical narrations, theatre and film music, etc.

His compositions are often performed in Greece and other countries by various well-known artists, ensembles and orchestras (ERT National Symphony Orchestra of Greece, Odessa Camerata, New Thessaloniki Symphony Orchestra, etc) , and commonly receive very good reviews (by people such as: G. Leotsakos, P. Fowles, G. Monemvasitis, S. Kenyon, T. Tamvakos, and others).

International organisations and foundations, such as: the Athens Music Hall, the Odessa Camerata Orchestra, the ISCM World Music Days, the Alexander Onassis Foundation, the Greek Composers’ Union, Michalis Kakogiannis Foundation, as well as various international festivals, municipalities and other, have included works of his in their events.

✓ Several of these works have been published by Papagrigoriou - Nakas, Contemporary Music, Fagotto and other publishers and have been recorded on cd by Subways, Musica Viva, Corifeo and others, included his personal cd, ‘One night when…’ with seven of his pieces.


Awards and distinctions

L. Kanaris has won ten awards and distinctions, such as:
✓ In 2001 the Perfecture of Magnesia (central Greece) honoured him for his artistic achievement.

✓ In 2002 his work ‘Dream Land’ (for mezzo and organ ensemble) won the 3rd prize at the G.A.Papaioannou Composition Competition.

✓ In 2003 the artistic committee of the International Society for Contemporary Music (consisting of Penderecki, A. Laporte and others) chose his ‘Elegiaco for Woodwind Quintet’ to represent Greece in the International Festival World Music Days in Slovenia.

✓ In 2004 with his ‘2nd String Quartet’ he won the 2nd prize in the D. Dragatakis Composition Competition.



He started studying music in 1976 in Volos (central Greece) and in 1983 continued in Athens.

His main tutors were:
✓ Theodore Antoniou (Composition Diploma - Hellenic Conservatory as well as orchestra conductor lessons) 

✓ Thomas Simaku (PhD in Music - Composition at the University of York, U.K.)

✓ Costas Cotsiolis (Guitar Diploma at the Athens Conservatory)

✓ Joseph Urshalmi (Post-graduate studies at the Rubin Academy of Jerusalem)

He studied the Greek music tradition (ancient, Byzantine and so on) and has also been involved with modern music (Jazz, Rock, etc).

At the same time, he stydied Political Science at Panteion University of Athens and also studied esoteric philosophies, as well as Rhetoric.


Activities and Artistic Endeavours

✓ His artistic endeavours as a composer (and earlier as a guitarist) include many concerts in Greece and abroad (UK, USA, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Poland, Finland, Egypt, Denmark, Ukraine, Albania, Cyprus, Russia, Ethiopia, Germany, etc) consisting of performances of his own works, solo appearances, collaboration with various musicians in chamber music ensembles and orchestras, multimedia performances, media appearances and conducting small musical groups and choirs.

✓ L. Kanaris is a member of the Greek Composers’ Union and for five years was the director of the Music Polytonon magazine and the president of the Hellenic Music Company. For 14 years he was the president of the Corfu International Guitar and Composition Congress - Festival.

✓ He often writes articles for magazines and gives lectures on various subjects. He has also written a series of successful guitar education books called 'Kitharokosmos' (guitar world). He teaches at educational seminars for musicians, including psychosomatic subjects concerning musicians.

✓ Since 1981, he has also been working as a music teacher (of Theory, Guitar and later of Composition) in various music schools and conservatories, with dozens of graduates, now professional musicians. He is the Artistic Director of the Ilioupoli Municipal Conservatory.

He lives and works in Athens.