Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.
I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.
My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."
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Alekos K. Vretos was born in Athens in 1976. In 1993, Alekos enrolled in the Athenaeum Conservatory with Panagiotis Adam and other great teachers. At the same time, because he was a jazz lover, he enrolled in the Phillipos Nakas Conservatory were he studied jazz with Markos Alexiou, Takis Paterelis , Pantelis Benetatos , Spiros Panagiotopoulos and Kostas Baltazanis. Alekos won the award for "Outstanding Musicianship” in 1995. Soon after that he won a Phillipos Nakas scholarship for the year 1995.
In September 1996 he enrolled in Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. There he studied as a Jazz Composition major. Some of his teachers were: Vuk Kullenovic, Ray Santisi, D*** Lowell, David Callahan, and Dennis Grillo. During his studies in Boston he performed extensively as a piano player in jazz ensembles and Big Bands. He graduated in 1999.
A year earlier he took up the ud (Arabic lute). His teacher was the great Master Simon Shaheen in Arabic music and ud playing. In 2004 he won a gold medal in an ud improvisation and artistry contest in the U.S.
As a professional he has performed with different ensembles in Greece and around the world. He is currently working as a producer at the Athens Concert Hall.