Stelios Petrakis was born in 1975 and grew up in Sitia, Crete. In 1983 he joined the Sitia School of Music, learning to play the lyra under teachers Giannis Dandolos (1983), Ross Daly (1984) and Eleni Drettaki (1985-1993), under the directorship of Kostas Moundakis. He completed his “official” lyra studies in 1993.
From 1993 onwards, based in Athens under the guidance of Ross Daly, he continued to study the lyra and also became interested in related musical traditions (Anatolian folk music, classical secular and religious music of Istanbul, traditional Greek music) and instruments (saz, Politiko and Cretan laouto, bulgari, Politiki lyra).
In 1999 and 2000 he attended saz seminars at the Labyrinth Musical Workshop with the great saz teacher and player Talip Ozkan. From summer 2003 onwards, he attended, also at the Labyrinth (now “rehoused” in the village of Houdetsi, Heraklion Prefecture), a series of seminars on musical instruments and traditions of the East by top teachers (Necati Çelik, Georgi Petrov, Kala Ramnath, etc.) In 2009 he attended a seminar in Paris with the world-class Indian violinist Dr L. Subramaniam.
Stelios Petrakis has worked on concerts and recordings with major musicians in the areas of “World Music” (Ross Daly, L’Ham de Foc, Bijan and Keyvan Chemirani, Sylvain Barou, Ojos de Brujo, Patrick Vaillant, Kristi Stassinopoulou, Oneira); Traditional Music (Giorgis Xylouris, Vassilis Stavrakakis, Zacharias Spyridakis, Michalis and Mitsos Stavrakakis, Giorgos Makris, Domna Samiou, Christos Tsamoulis); Greek musicians and composers (Christos Leondis, Stamatis Spanoudakis, Achilleas Persidis); and with the great Spanish singer Manolo García.
For the past ten years he has been an active member of the “Labyrinth” group directed by Ross Daly, appearing in many concerts – some of which were held in major European venues – and working with the most important musicians in various traditions from all over the world (Trio Chemirani, Huun Huur Tu, Necati Çelik, Mehmet Erenler, Hosein Arman, Sokratis Sinopoulos, Rufus Cappadocia, Hammidreza Khabazzi, Pedram Khavar Zamini).
He has also participated in recordings by other musicians and groups including Ross Daly, Stamatis Spanoudakis, Bijan and Keyvan Chemirani, Christos Leondis, Manolo García, Kristi Stassinopoulou, Palyrria, Sylvain Barou and Oneira.
Stelios Petrakis has a luthierie workshop in Heraklion, where he makes musical instruments including various types of lyra, laouto, saz, etc.
He has a degree in Law from the Faculty of Law, School of Law, Athens University. He speaks English and (to a lesser degree) French and Turkish.
Major venues at which Stelios Petrakis has appeared:
With his own ensembles / projects:
King’s Place – London 2011
Jerusalem Oud Festival 2011
Lenzburgiade – Switzerland 2010
Strictly Mundial Marseille 2003
Barcelona Forum 2004
Garaj Istanbul 2009
Delemont – Switzerland 2012
As a soloist in various ensembles (Stamatis Spanoudakis, Ross Daly, Manolo García, Keyvan Chemirani, etc.):
Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens (with Stamatis Spanoudakis, Christos Leontis and Ross Daly)
Athens and Thessaloniki Concert Halls (with Ross Daly)
Royal Albert Hall, London (with Stamatis Spanoudakis)
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (with Ross Daly)
Théâtre de la Ville, Paris (with Ross Daly)
Rock in Rio Festival, Madrid (with Manolo García)
Faiz Festival des musiques sacrées, Fez, Morocco (with Keyvan Chemirani)
Roman Agora, Athens (with Stamatis Spanoudakis)
Cemal Reşit Rey Konser Salonu, Istanbul (with Ross Daly)
Wommex, Seville (with Keyvan Chemirani)
Babylon, Istanbul (with Ross Daly)
“Oi dikoi mou filoi” (Seistron – 2002)
“Akri tou Dounia”, (L’empreinte digitale – 2003)
“Κismet”, (Seistron – 2003)
“Kismet”, (Buda Musique – 2003)
“Orion”, (Seistron – 2006)
“Orion”, (Buda Musique 2008)
“Si je salue les montagnes”, (Accords Croisés 2009)
“Mavra Froudia”, (Melodiko Karavi 2011)
“Mavra Froudia” , (Musiepoca 2011)
The highest awards won by his CDs are:
a) CD “Orion”, No 1 with the “Just Plain Folks” music organization in the World Music category, 2009. Indianapolis, USA
b) CD “Orion”, Top 10 Albums of the Year, Songlines Magazine 2009, London
c) CD “Mavra Froudia”, No 3 in the World Music Charts, March 2012 www.wmce.de
d) CD “Akri tou dounia”, R10 événement du mois, Répertoire Magazine, Paris
e) CD “Kismet”, Académie Charles Cros, Paris