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Speech by Mr. Eleftheros P. Ioannou Member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation
Speech during the awards of the Nemitsas prize
For Classical Music
Eleftherios P. Ioannou
16 September, 2011
In life, few things are as enjoyable as genuine recognition of contribution to one’s country. Especially in today’s complex times, contribution is not measured as before in terms of victories on the battlefield which were inevitably followed by the victor’s coronation.
Today, and especially for this evening’s event, the following quote by Julian holds true, even though it dates back 1,650 or so years, and even though he himself was considered something of a maverick.
“No one can rival in noble origin those who by themselves give their ancestors and their country a new title of splendour” (Collected Works I, page 175)
In precisely this manner, each of this evening’s honourees has, individually, given Cyprus a new title of splendour.
Takis and Louki Nemitsa blazed a trail when they created a foundation to which they donated their fortune so that our country could award excellence in those of its population who work in Cyprus or abroad and contribute significantly to humanity, thereby honouring their homeland.
This year’s award will focus on the world of classical music.
The Evaluation Committee undertook a mammoth task, first identifying musical talent in Cyprus and abroad and then making an initial assessment of their work. Despite our country’s small size, it was found that ample talent exists in the form of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and others of our compatriots who work in Cyprus and abroad in various fields of classical music. Given the diversity and specificity of each sector, the comparison and selection of excellence was not easy, but the Committee’s task was facilitated by the fact that music is global and each musician’s scope of activity and degree of acceptance and recognition could be used as selection criteria.
Following extensive research during which the Foundation was fortunate to obtain opinions from a wide range of informed sources, it became clear that two Cypriot masters of classical music have clearly distinguished themselves in the global music scene. They are:
Cyprien Katsaris and Martino Tirimo
At this point Mr. Ioannou referred briefly in the diverse work of the two honoured men and encouraged the audience to visit their websites
where apart from many interesting information will enjoy masterful performances of famous works by the two artists. And continued -
With this in mind, and in accordance with the recommendations of the Selection Committee, the Board of the Takis and Louki Nemitsas Foundation considers itself justified in awarding these two musicians, who promote Cyprus and its culture through the significant work they have achieved on an international basis.
Each of these two artists has been blessed with their own gifts, enabling them to follow their individual path, but with a common devotion to art. Together with sincerity and hard work they have managed to scale their own peaks and include us all in their musical embrace.
The Takis and Louki Nemitsas Foundation takes great pleasure in awarding two true Cypriots: Cyprien Katsaris and Martino Tirimo.
The Board warmly congratulates the two winners and wishes them every success in the future. It would also like to offer sincere thanks to those who worked on the selection and especially Louki Nemitsas and Litsa Koutalari-Ioannou for their hard work.
Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’d like to close by congratulating Takis and Louki Nemitsas for putting Solomon’s advice into practice:
“Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still” (Proverbs9:9, New International Version)
Cyprus, September 2011
Translated by Barbara Panayidou