“What is classical music? Classical music is Beethoven.” How can we move from this idea to today’s reality? Is there such a thing as classical music of our time? afterpop was made to bring a fresh, personal perspective on the subject. Following the creative life of the composer Dimitris Skyllas, the film functions as a contemporary statement of what it means to be an active, young composer in the 21st century. Through a journey that begins on the bucolic cliffs of Greek mountain Pelion and meets its climax at the Barbican Centre’s main stage, Skyllas represents a vivid proof that right here, right now, classical composers and other intellectual creatives are no different to popstars. They live among us; they eat, they laugh, the make love, they worry, they dance ecstatically at a party.
AFTERPOP’s timeline is linear. It is the journey of Kyrie Eleison, a major symphonic work commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, making it the first Greek piece ever to be commissioned by the colossal, international orchestra for the Barbican. During this time, we see how the work’s skeleton is built step by step, from the first note using just a pencil and paper, until it reaches the rehearsal process between the composer, the conductor, and 90 BBC musicians. From a luminous balcony under the Greek sun and Dionysian mountain festivals, from various churches and cathedrals, London soirees with friends, night walks on river Thames, to the iconic Maida Vale studios where the Beatles, David Bowie, and Beyoncé performed and recorded their music, the film attempts to answer the most cliché, but honest question of the public: how does one write a piece of orchestral music.
For the composer himself, AFTEPOP is a clear statement of hope. It is a state of being, a way to maintain his vision alive, untouched by the fast, consumable trends that surround our everyday life. It is a provocation to the idea of what popular really means; is it the instant, feel-good art of millions of users of today or is it the eternal artworks that came before and will remain after those trends? Between an old-time-classic and a pop persona, Skyllas describes the title AFTERPOP as his most inspiring hour, his ‘creative dawn,’ the meditative time and stage between the end of a big party and before going to sleep, where he perceives the ideas of his new music.
Being the first composer of his generation to release a full-length documentary film about his life and music, AFTERPOP is a symbolic expression to create the public’s awareness and bring more attention to the unseen life of contemporary composers, especially those of the younger generation.
The original soundtrack of the film is signed by Dimitrios Skyllas and powered by ONASSIS STEGI.
Composed by Dimitrios Skyllas
Soundscapes: Fanis Sakellariou
Sound Design: Fanis Sakellariou, Studio 19st