1979 Athens

Sep 11, 1979 – Sep 20, 1979

Festival info

Start: Sep 11, 1979

End: Sep 20, 1979

Locations: Athens

Hosting member(s)


From contemporaneous reviews

“Although this is possibly the largest festival of contemporary music in the world no-one can listen to the best music of this kind [anymore]. […] I am afraid that it is all about a routine that is kept alive even when the reasons for which it was established have already ceased.”

–Katy Romanou, Καθημερινή (Kathimeriní – Daily), 15 September 1979
(translated by Ioannis Tsagkarakis in his 2013 Thesis for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Royal Holloway University of London, The Politics of Culture: Historical Moments in Greek Musical Modernism p. 252 fn29).

“Founded in 1923, it [the ISCM] was indispensable in an era when composers were less internationally mobile and there were few records, radio or tapes to disseminate works and information widely. Now all that has changed. For some time the ISCM Festival has been a meeting-place mainly for composers, critics and publishers. Gradually, these are leaving the sinking ship: all realise that ISCM finances could be better deployed in other ways. Who will fire the final torpedo and start the salvage operation?”

–Meirion Bowen, “Full Close: Why It’s High Time to Abolish the International Society for Contemporary Music,”
The Guardian, Wednesday, 21 November 1979, p. 16.

Additional subsequent commentary about the festival

“Despite the chronically poor state of its finances, the Greek government funded the festival to the tune of 6,000,000 Greek drachmas. This was an unprecedented amount disposed for a single cultural event, and it was justified
by John G. Papaioannou as being of cultural and political significance for Greece.”

— Ioannis Tsagkarakis, The Politics of Culture: Historical Moments in Greek Musical Modernism
(Thesis for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Royal Holloway University of London, 2013) p. 249 (available online).

Programme information