Lefteris Kordis

Associate Professor
Affiliated Departments
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Pianist, composer, and Inner Circle music recording artist Lefteris Kordis has established himself as a unique voice in the Mediterranean jazz genre. He grew up in a multicultural area in Elefsis, an ancient town near Athens, Greece. Since age 4, he studied, performed, and composed based on a wide spectrum of genres including Greek folk, European chamber, and jazz.

He graduated from the Experimental Music Gymnasium and Lyceum of Pallini, the National Conservatory of Athens, the Ionian University, and pursued a master’s degree and a doctorate at New England Conservatory on Fulbright and Onassis grants.

He performed in major international venues such as Carnegie Hall, Panama Jazz Festival, Athens – Epidaurus Festival, and Toronto Jazz Festival with music legends Steve Lacy, Sheila Jordan, George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Mikis Theodorakis, Greg Osby, and Robin Eubanks, among others.

Lefteris studied with “jazz guru” Charlie Banacos and devoted his doctoral dissertation to Banacos’s groundbreaking music pedagogy. Lefteris is currently an associate professor at Berklee College of Music and the Hellenic College Holy Cross, and founder of the Intergalactic Music Academy (online). He also taught and developed the curriculum at the Global Jazz Institute (2016-2019), teaching alongside John Patitucci, Danilo Pérez, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Garzone, and Joe Lovano. He also taught and developed courses at the New England Conservatory from 2005 to 2015. He is the codirector—along with Dimos Dimitriadis—of Aqua Jazz, a program that builds bridges between folk and jazz musicians of the Mediterranean region. Lefteris has served as a gospel choir director and organist/pianist at the historic Columbus Avenue AME Zion Church in Boston and Cambridge and at the Berachah Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He performs regularly with his jazz trio with bassist John Lockwood and drummer Dor Hershkovitz, and co-leads the Penny Muse Band, a Greek Jazz art-song and folk music band.

Lefteris has recorded six albums as a leader and numerous others as a sideman. His new album 7 Aquarelles: Celebrating the Inner Child will be released in winter 2022–23 by saxophonist Greg Osby’s Inner Circle Music label.

Career Highlights
  • Performances at Carnegie Hall, Toronto Jazz Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, and Athens – Epidaurus Festival
  • Performances and/or recordings with George Garzone, Steve Lacy, Sheila Jordan, Terri Lyne Carrington, Mikis Theodorakis, Jerry Bergonzi, Joe Lovano, Robin Eubanks, Panayotis Lalezas, and Lefteris Bournias
  • Studies with Charlie Banacos, Eva Stange (student of Paul Badura-Skoda), Steve Lacy, Bob Brookmeyer, Frank Carlberg, Danilo Pérez, and George Russell
  • Global Music Awards 2022: Silver Medal for "Aquarella II"
  • Fulbright Scholarship Award
  • Onassis Scholarship Award
  • D.M.A., New England Conservatory, jazz performance, minor in music theory
  • M.M., New England Conservatory, jazz performance
  • B.M., Ionian University, Corfu, Greece
In Their Own Words

"My teaching approach is holistic and cross-disciplinary. I learned from Charlie Banacos that getting to know the student first as a person is key in forming a unique approach/curriculum that will serve them in the best way possible. I have an extensive experience working with students of various levels and cultures. I have developed a wide spectrum of cross-disciplinary/cross-genre games and repertoire that cover a wide range of aspects of music making, such as ear and rhythm training, transcriptions, harmony, improvisation, composition, film-scoring, technique/physiology, Qigong, and meditation. The main macro-purpose in my teaching is to cultivate a balance between the intellect and zen so that the students experience 'universal oneness' in an effortless, healthy, expressive, and spiritual way."