Alexandros Maria Hatzikiriakos
Sound and Identity in the Cretan Renaissance (1453-1669)
Alexandros Maria Hatzikiriakos holds a PhD in Musicology from the University of Rome, La Sapienza. He has been Research Fellow at the University of Verona and Visiting Researcher at the King’s College London. His research focuses on the relationship between music and literature, and the materiality of music from the medieval to the early modern period. His publications include essays on the material aspects of medieval vernacular song and the forthcoming monograph Musiche da una corte effimera, lo Chansonnier du Roi (Paris, BnF, fr. 844) e la Napoli dei primi angioini.
Between the mid-fifteenth and the mid-seventeenth century the island of Crete, then under Venetian domination, witnessed an extraordinary cultural flourishing, known as the Cretan Renaissance. In this period, Crete saw a remarkable production of Greek literary texts such as chivalric poems and theatrical plays, as well as other artistic products, especially icons and illuminations by the painters of the so-called Cretan school (El Greco and Georgios Klontzas among others). Recent scholarly interest in the literary and artistic aspects of this phenomenon has not been matched by comparable attention to the sounds of Crete at this time. This project aims to investigate the relationship between sound and identity in the Veneto-Cretan communities, focusing especially on the role played by Italian musical theory and practice in the formation of a Veneto-Cretan aristocracy and bourgeoisie, and, more broadly, on the musical multilingualism that characterized Crete’s soundworld. By placing music-making and theorizing in the larger cultural and social context of the Cretan Renaissance, it seeks to understand Italian music in Crete as an instance of cultural appropriation enacted by the local upper classes in order to perform a unique Venetian-Greek identity for broadly political and ideological ends. Its ultimate aim is to offer a specifically Mediterranean perspective to the ongoing debate on cultural identity formation, a perspective made unique by its bifocal Eastern-Western lens.