The ‘Soul of Greece’ will come to QPAC this May


The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) will play host to a full symphony orchestra and one of Greece’s leading vocalists, Ifigeneia Ioannou, for the fourth in QPAC’s concert series celebrating the vibrancy of Greek culture through Rebetiko music on 3 May.

Rebetiko in Symphony will feature the Rebetiko music beloved in Greece, a genre often referred to as the ‘Greek Blues’.

Direct from Greece, Ifigeneia Ioannou will guest star performing Rebetiko classics by Stavros Xarchakos from the 1983 iconic film Rembetiko by film-maker Costas Ferris, that still enjoys cult status in Greece today.

The film was based on the life of Greek singer Marika Ninou, who was born in Smyrna, Turkey in 1917 and was deported with her family to Greece as a young child. She became a musician and singer after World War II before tragically dying relatively young.

The concert will also include the music of Kostas Skarvelis, Vassilis Tsitsanis and Panayiotis Toundas, regarded as the founders of the Rebetiko movement.

Internationally renowned vocalist and musician Ioannou will be accompanied by a full symphony orchestra under the baton of the acclaimed Greek Australian conductor George Ellis.

“The performance ofXarchakos’ music is an essential component of Greek culture and life. To do so in Australia, on the other side of the world, is an honour,” Ellis said.

Ifigeneia Ioannou, who will be performing in Australia for the first time, describes Rebetiko music as the soul of Greece.

Ifigeneia Ioannou is set to "share the magic" of Rebetiko in Australia -  Neos Kosmos
Ifigeneia Ioannou.

“Rebetiko carries the stories, anxieties and dreams of everyday people,” Ioannou explains.

“Its timelessness derives from its truth and I’m excited to live this experience in Australia, the home of such a vibrant and dynamic Greek community.”

Greek Australians would be familiar with many of the Greek musicians Ioannou has performed with throughout her career including Dionysis Savvopoulos, Eleni Tsaligopoulou, Dimitris Mystakidis, Pantelis Thalassinos, George Perris.

Ifigeneia Ioannou.

Rebetiko is musical storytelling with its roots in the struggles and difficulties of the everyday life of refugees and the Greek diaspora. It combines different musical styles with lyrics touching on the harsh realities of an oppressed subculture lifestyle of those who had fled war in other countries to find a better life in Greece.

Rebetiko music remains a strong point of connection for Greek people all over the world who have made their own journeys of assimilation in new countries and communities.

Rebetiko in Symphony will present a unique experience as Rebetiko music is more often played by a smaller ensemble of less than 10 musicians and on this rare occasion will be performed by a full symphony orchestra.

Tickets are on sale now at

Event Details:

WHEN: Wednesday 3 May, 2023 7:30pm

WHERE:  Concert Hall, QPAC, Queensland Cultural Centre, South Bank, Brisbane

TICKETS: or phone 136 246




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