Classical ME Music Summit 2023, Timişoara, România. Interview with Iro Menegou

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Classical ME Music Summit 2023, Timişoara, România. Interview with Iro Menegou


At the Classical ME Music Summit 2023 in Timișoara, Romania, a vibrant hub for cultural exchange and innovation, we had the pleasure of speaking with Iro Menegou, a multifaceted artust in the world of classical music. As a pianist, cultural manager, and one of the masterminds behind the Classical ME project, Iro shared her insights into the complexities of orchestrating such a significant international event.

Iro highlighted the logistical challenges of attracting participants from distant countries to Romania for a brief event, alongside the goal of engaging a younger demographic. This issue, she noted, is not unique to Romania but is a broader challenge across Europe, especially outside Central Europe.

When asked about her dual role as a pianist and cultural manager, Iro revealed that her foray into cultural management was somewhat accidental, born from her desire to oversee the creative process from inception to execution, particularly in contemporary music. This multidisciplinary approach has led her to wear many hats, from communication and journalism to website creation and audience development, driven by the classical sector’s tight budgets.

Despite the demanding nature of juggling managerial and artistic responsibilities, Iro finds the managerial aspect complements her performance career, offering a different kind of fulfilment. However, she admits it can be exhausting and is learning to delegate more to her trusted team. Iro views risk in managerial activities not as a deterrent but as a catalyst for creativity and innovation. She recounted an instance during the “Women Composing in the Balkans” Festival when the lack of accordion parts in submissions led her to organize a seminar for composers, turning a potential setback into an opportunity for growth and learning.

Looking ahead, Iro is excited about her upcoming European tour with the Pythia Trio, a unique ensemble of three pianists performing on one piano, and their project “The Three Lears,” inspired by Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” This project, highlighting female creativity, will tour various countries, including Switzerland, Cyprus, and Romania, under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture.

Iro is also curating a project focused on parenting and performing, addressing the challenges new mothers face in returning to the stage. This initiative aims to spark discussion and potentially influence policy within the contemporary music festival circuit.

On promoting classical and contemporary music, Iro believes in starting young, lowering the formal barriers between artists and audiences, and embracing a more human and accessible approach to classical music performances.

As for future collaborations, Iro stresses the importance of building connections and fostering international cooperation to overcome the challenges of limited national support for classical music in countries like Greece.

Iro’s journey and vision underscore the dynamic interplay between artistic passion and managerial acumen, highlighting the transformative power of music and the arts in bridging cultures and fostering community.