British born “Lydia Kakabadse is a phenomenon and a virtual reincarnation of an early music master” (Gapplegate Classical Modern Music). A “very gifted and accessible composer” (MusicWeb International), Lydia composes choral, chamber and vocal music. Of Russian/Georgian and Greek/Austrian parentage, she grew up in Altrincham, Cheshire and started composing at the age of thirteen. Her works include string quartets, string duet, mixed ensembles, songs, musical drama, cantata, concert Requiem Mass and sacred/secular choral works for male voices, mixed choir (SATB) and children’s choir. Her unique distinctive style – demonstrating “a mastery of counterpoint and a richness of ideas“ (MusicWeb International) – incorporates tonal and modal harmonies with Middle Eastern traits and rich melody. An avid Latin enthusiast and inspired by medieval music, Lydia has written original texts in Latin for her vocal works. She also draws inspiration from Greek and Russian Orthodox liturgical traditions as well as from poets of the Romantic era.
Lydia’s works have been released on CD under the Naxos and Divine Art labels to critical acclaim: “highly recommended disc” (Music for Several Instruments); “most enjoyable disc of music” (Fanfare); “superb…one of the best CD’s of the decade” (Tamvakos Archive). Her works have been widely performed and broadcast and her popular string quartet Russian Tableaux was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 to mark International Women’s Day in 2015 and 2017. This string quartet was also played at the 3rd Hildegard Festival of Women in the Arts 2015 in California. All Lydia’s string quartets are scored for violin, viola, cello and double bass – a timbral combination which works well – with the double bass adding a great richness and abundance of colour to the quartet’s sonority.
Recent choral commissions include I Remember commissioned by Forest Preparatory School (Altrincham) for the Bellevue Education Northern Music Festival 2016 and Odyssey commissioned by the Hellenic Institute at Royal Holloway University of London to mark its 25th anniversary in 2018. Both these works feature in Lydia’s latest choral/vocal album, Ithaka, which will be released by Divine Art in November 2019.
Her works have been included in music festivals both in the UK and abroad, most recently in the Three Choirs Festival Eucharist (2019) and Chatsworth Arts Festival (2019).
Beginning piano lessons at the age of five and later studying the double bass under the late Ida Carroll OBE, Lydia read music at Royal Holloway University of London. She then spent several years studying and teaching Greek and Middle Eastern dancing, the rhythmic and melodic features of which permeate her creative writing. This is evidenced in a number of her works, most notably the “gorgeous Arabian Rhapsody Suite ” (New Classics) – “its rhythms and phrasing evoked the exotic sounds of Marrakesh” (Eastern Daily Press). Of her early compositions, only The Song of the Shirt (for soprano and piano) “a little masterpiece” (Jazz & Tzaz), written when she was 15, has been performed and recorded in its original form. All other early compositions have either been revised, adapted or disregarded.
Lydia’s works have been performed at numerous UK concert halls, cathedrals, churches and chapels by acclaimed chamber ensembles and choirs, including The Rossetti Ensemble, the Choir of Gloucester Cathedral and the collegiate Choirs of Gonville & Caius College Cambridge, Clare College Cambridge and Royal Holloway.
Lydia has been included as a Greek heritage classical composer in the “Archive of Classical Greek Composers”. She also holds a master’s degree in Law (distinction) and, in the past, worked as a solicitor to fund her many music projects.