Sonia Wieder-Atherton | The "Odysseys" in Greece in the context of the Big Bang Fstival 4 / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

Sonia Wieder-Atherton

The "Odysseys" in Greece (in the context of the Big Bang Festival 4)

Big Bang Festival 4

18 MAY 2018
Main Stage
People from 8 until… 108 years old
Τhe award-winning cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton presents a musical and visual experience on the Main Stage of the OCC-Athens. A concert that started as a musical workshop with children and teenagers and now is addressed to all contemporary music audiences.
OCC's Friends & General Presale: from 9 ΜΑΥ 2018, 17:00
Full price: 5 €
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Τhis year like every year, in the context of the Big Bang 4 Music Festival, the OCC-Athens invites an outstanding musician to take part in the festival as a nomad, i.e. a visiting artist who spends a short time in Greece and works with a group of children living in this country, provides them with stimuli and suggests new musical paths/routes so that the children can produce their own original material. The festival will actually open with this material, to be presented on the Main Stage of the OCC-Athens. This year, the project will be coordinated by the award-winning cellist, Sonia Wieder Atherton, who in recent years has designed and directed such undertakings that are complete musical and visual experiences, like the Odyssey for Cello and Imaginary Choir, her own Odyssey.

For Sonia Wieder-Atherton, music has always been a laboratory. Her unbounded research has taken her from one repertoire to another, from one discovery to the next. Constantly exploring crisscrossing musical avenues, she unravels the received wisdom in a relentless pursuit of meaning.

“My desire is for these children to understand and feel the path they can take to tell a story that would be their own. The starting point would be my Odyssey. I would tell them how I conceived, crafted and invented it. Then I would suggest that they follow a similar path. I would ask them to help me choose chapters from it and create their own. At the same time we would search for and record sounds, using all the raw material they could find: narratives (their own or those of their circle, their family), sounds from the Internet, cello sounds, and more. Then we would start to work with this material.

My aim would be to make them aware of how we can write in sound. Using the sounds of nature, the city, musical instruments… They could learn to work this raw material, guiding them towards being the authors of their own narrative. I believe that this could help to bring them an important idea, that of not just submitting to their surroundings but of using them to express themselves. This will help them to develop a sense of form (the rise and fall of dramatic tension) editing, awareness of listening. They would also start to feel just how stimulating it is to mix different disciplines. In short, my desire would be for their imagination to open up, to expand their curiosity. Along the way, of course, they would also make friends with the cello.”
Sonia Wieder-Atherton


Sonia Wieder-Atherton
“Before the sound”
inspired by a melody of ney
Sonia Wieder-Atherton
inspired by an Egyptian chant
Sonia Wieder-Atherton
“In the memory of André Hajdu”
Franck Krawczyk
Sonia Wieder-Atherton
inspired by a Corsican lullaby
Enrique Granados
“Elegia eterna”
Sergei Prokofiev
Cadenza from Symphony-Concerto in E minor, op. 125
Vincenzo Bellini
(arr. Sonia Wieder-Atherton)


For the workshop:
Sonia Wieder–Atherton: Musician
Marius Atherton: Musician
The group of participant children & teenagers in the concert.
Μαζί τους και οι: Rasa Alamyar, Sana Alamyar, Seyed Taha Hossaini, Mahsa Sharifi
For the concert:
Sonia Wieder-Atherton: Concept, Direction, cello
Franck Rossi: Realisation of the sound track and sound engineer
Marius Atherton: Recording of the voices
Children and teenagers: Sophia Bello, Paris Sakkas Bilios, Maria Komboropoulou, Aggeliki Korkovelou, Aristotelis Kourouvanis, Stella Melissourgaki, Ali Nasiri, Viza Oqi, Elli Papanikolaou, Michalis Sarris, Phaedon Skourletis Eikosipentarchos, Fenia Zacharia

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Sonia Wieder – Atherton
For Sonia Wieder-Atherton, music has always been a laboratory. Her unbounded research has taken her from one repertoire to another, from one discovery to the next. Constantly exploring crisscrossing musical avenues, she unravels the received wisdom in a relentless pursuit of meaning.

She was born in San Francisco of a mother of Romanian origin and an American father. She grew up in New York and then Paris, where she enrolled at the Conservatoire National Supérieur, studying with Maurice Gendron. She very soon found herself investigating form and sound, already seeking a language that could be a common denominator for all music. At 19 she crossed the Iron Curtain to live in Moscow, where she studied with Natalia Shakhovskaya at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Her years there left an indelible mark, for, in addition to receiving a top class education, she took away a special relationship with time, stories and man. Returning to France she has never stopped querying the repertoire. At 25, she won the Rostropovich Competition.

Sonia Wieder-Atherton works as tirelessly as she experiments. She enjoys nothing better than to decipher the language of contemporary composers like Pascal Dusapin, Georges Aperghis, and Wolfgang Rihm, all of whom she has been prompt to champion and who have written for her. Researching the «classical» repertory with equal devotion, her curiosity sets her interpretations apart.

She performs as a soloist under the guidance of numerous conductors, notably : the Paris Orchestra, the French National Orchestra, the Belgian National Orchestra, the Liège Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonia, the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Luxembourg, the NDR Orchestra in Hanover, the REMIX Ensemble, Les Siècles, Asko/ Schönberg… and works regularly with musicians like Imogen Cooper and Raphaël Oleg, with whom she records and performs in concert.

In recent years she has instigated a wide range of projects conceived as complete musical and visual experiences: Jewish songs, a cycle for cello and piano inspired by the art of the Hazzan; Songs of Slavic Lands, for cello and instrumental ensemble, conceived as a journey from Russia to Central Europe; Vita, for cello solo and three cellos, in which she tells the story of Angioletta-Angel via two timeless geniuses, Monteverdi and Scelsi; Odyssey for Cello and Imaginary Choir, in which a woman, alone with her cello, accompanied by a soundtrack, faces the elements: wind, waves, chaos, storms; Little Girl Blue, from Nina Simone. For Sonia Wieder-Atherton, playing Bach, Beethoven, Jewish songs or Nina Simone, is the same movement, asking the same questioning: that of a voice that can never be understood if it is heard in isolation.

Sonia Wieder-Atherton constantly pushes back the boundaries, venturing with her cello into other artistic forms, with projects like From the East in Music, a show designed with footage from Chantal Akerman’s film D’Est, and two projects with celebrated actresses: Night Dances, with Charlotte Rampling, featuring works by Benjamin Britten and Sylvia Plath, and Marguerite Duras’ Navire Night with Fanny Ardant. Exile is her latest project in 2017. In 2011, she received the Bernheim Foundation Award, which each year acknowledges three creative works in the fields of the arts, literature and science.