Hi, I’m Chris, a mathematician from Greece, with training in Music, IT and Mathematics, who makes a living on technology but enjoys life through music and arts. I consider myself very lucky to be able to fulfill my dreams and live every day a full happy life.
I didn’t win the lottery, I don’t have a fancy house and I’m not a millionaire. What I do have is a loving family with two amazing kids, a line of work that allows me enough free time to be creative, write this blog and play music with my mandolin together with my kids, my friends, and some times for a bigger audience with MandolinARTE, the Plucked Orchestra of Athens!
I was born in Athens back in 1969! In a year full of important events, such as Neil’s Armstrong walk on the moon, the Woodstock, Carlo Santana recording his first album, Monty Python comedy troupe forming, I selected to “appear” the same day when Beatle John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar. I can not easily dismiss the possibility that all these events have affected me to believe that the possibilities for progress and improvement are endless and that life should be filled with music and love!
Playing Mandolin & growing up in Greece
I started playing the mandolin in the tender age of 7 years old, by joining the soon-to-become-famous Mandolin Orchestra and Choir of Fotis Aleporos that consisted of 25 mandolin players and a choir of 30 singers. After 2 years of mandolin and music theory training, I started participating in concerts, and before I was 10 years old, I appeared in front of almost one thousand people in a concert at Greece’s largest theater, a life-changing experience!
I remained a member of this group for 25 years, during which I consistently participated in concerts all over Greece almost twice per month, having mastered a repertoire of more than one thousand songs, that included traditional music from Greece and Italy, as well as some Classical repertoire.
During this period, I was also lucky enough to record with the Mandolin Orchestra & Choir three CDs that were a great success in Greece, as well as do a TV series that recorded the traditional mandolin music of Greece. Being so young, this exposure literally changed my life, gave me recognition, blessed me with a large network of friends from the music and arts Greek scene, and also significantly improved my skills to present in front of big audiences.
At the same time, I finished high school, got my first degree in Maths, and continued with Postgraduate studies in Computing, Information and Telecommunications in Scotland. This was a happy period, as I met my wife-to-be, and concurrently had the time to explore and enjoy the Scottish land and people.
After returning to Greece, I started working for a young Greek technology company, doing research and development in Telecom and IT. Being creative through the day, I remained motivated to continue my mandolin adventure and at the same time I started a new adventure, that resulted to me getting a degree in Advanced Music Theory Studies and will also give me a degree in Classical Guitar.
Being split between two disciplines, i.e. technology and music may seem difficult or even weird, especially when the disciplines seem different. Instead of having second thoughts about it, I decided early to pursue both technology related activities that earned me a living, as well as music studying and playing that filled my life with joy and happiness.
It turns out this dual role was the best thing that happened to me. Without the make-a-living burden affecting my artistic selections, I’ve since been able to enjoy music and mandolin more, learn much much more and be at the same time creative.
Performing with MandolinARTE
My mandolin adventure has taken a very interesting turn when I joined MandolinARTE, the Plucked Orchestra of Athens in 2012, after being invited by Yannis Rizos, a nephew of mine that happens to be one of the best mandolin players in Greece.
Mandolinarte vision is to present the mandolin as a soloist instrument and the mandolin orchestra as an independent stand-alone orchestra with unique repertoire and sound. This vision is important and exciting and it is why I decided to join the orchestra but also to voluntarily offer my services in marketing and administration, to help MandolinARTE realize its vision.
The members of the orchestra are well known musicians that are active artistically, giving recitals in Greece and abroad, performing with Symphonic Orchestras, participating in various recording productions and cooperating with artists from the Greek and International repertoire. As members of the Classical Mandolin Orchestra of Athens they were awarded the 1st prize in the International Competition of Plectrum Instruments in Julich Koslar in Germany at 1998.
2016 has proven to be a very exciting year for the orchestra, as we cooperated with Alkistis Protopsalti, the famous Greek singer and former Greek Minister of Culture and together performed 18 sold-out concerts in the largest concert venues in Greece and Cyprus.
Looking for Extraordinary Musical Instruments
I believe that music and music instruments contribute to people’s well being and happiness.
During my long mandolin music adventure, I realized that few exceptional makers around the world are creating beautiful hand-made music instruments, that can deliver new ranges of sounds and sound colors, instruments that can be special or rare.
I love to play these special music instruments, be it a mandolin from Tasmania, a rubab from Afghanistan or a lyra from Creta and I soon realized that I want others to be able to do so! The problem is that discovering these instruments requires knowledge, perseverance and sometimes just luck.
To make it easier for people to feel the sheer pleasure and joy of playing uniquely designed, special or rare instruments, I have partnered with exceptional makers I appreciate and I created ExtraordinaryInstruments a web site that helps professional musicians but also music students to discover, experience and even purchase such extraordinary instruments.
Feel free to visit the site, even to just say hello!
- MandolinARTE – Plucked Strings Orchestra of Athens Christos Rizos
Why theMandolinTuner blog?
With this blog, I want to share the mandolin-related knowledge that took me nearly 40 years to gather. I’m not trying to show off – this is definitely not my purpose. If you are also involved in mandolin playing, either as a beginner trying to figure out how to tune this small, delicate organ, or a novice player that has just mastered his first tunes or even an advanced mandolinist, I hope that my experiences – both my wins and my failures – can help you master the Mandolin .
If you do not owe a mandolin but thinking about it, you can see what it’s like, see what’s involved and make decisions on your own whether this organ is for you.
Please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter below and get exclusive online Mandolin Tuning and Playing techniques and tips that you can not find here on the blog, as well as free access to my ebook to be released shortly, Mandolin Tuning the easy way, that will help you tune your mandolin in six easy steps.
And finally, please read the below carefully:
I don’t consider myself a Mandolin guru, my techniques are not secrets and the kind of info I provide may not resolve all your problems – far from it actually.
This is why you won’t see me offer any paid consultations – not because I don’t want to help, but because honestly most of the info I would give you can be found for free here on my blog or elsewhere online. If you just need some help figuring stuff out, just use my contact form to send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
You won’t get any hard sells from me, long sales pages or fluffed up stuff – just real life tips and recommendations based on my own experience with the mandolin. Please don’t feel like you owe me anything because of it. This is my way of paying forward the good things that have happened to me since I started playing the mandolin.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope to see you on the blog sometime soon!