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Composer, arranger, and producer Magdalini Giannikou has been appointed director of the Master of Music in Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain. Also an orchestrator, vocalist, pianist, and accordionist, Giannikou completed her diploma in classical piano and jazz studies in her native Athens, Greece, before receiving her Bachelor of Music from Berklee in 2008. At Berklee, she was a double major in film scoring and contemporary writing and production.
“It's with great excitement that we welcome Magda Giannikou to the Berklee Valencia team,” said María M. Iturriaga, executive director of the Valencia campus. “Magda's 16 years as an active bandleader, music director, producer, conductor, and educator, as well as being director of multidisciplinary projects in the global music industry, make her an ideal fit for this role. In addition to her impressive background, Magda’s Mediterranean heritage and innovative approach to the creative process represent key ingredients for the development of this next phase at the Valencia campus.”
Giannikou is the founder and leader of the world music group Banda Magda. Founded in 2011, Banda Magda has toured five continents and 22 countries, performing in venues and at festivals such as Carnegie Hall; the World of Music, Arts and Dance Festival (WOMAD); the Montreal Jazz Festival; the Jazz a Viènne festival; the Harare International Festival of the Arts, and many more. Giannikou has also collaborated on several projects with Grammy Award winners Snarky Puppy and Susana Baca.
Her extensive experience as a producer, composer, and arranger includes her work to produce and arrange Banda Magda’s first three albums (Amour, t’es là?, Yerakina, and Tigre). She’s currently working on the fourth album, a tetralogy of music and visual arts dedicated to the preservation of nature and the seasons. In addition, she works as chief producer and arranger for Zouzounia TV and has produced albums for a list of artists including Marcelo Woloski, the Huntertones, Sylvie Bourban, Marine Futin, and Luísa Sobral.
Among Giannikou’s film music credits are La tropa de trapo, Natural Selection, and Watchers of the Sky. As an orchestrator and arranger, she has worked with Visitante, Ziggy Marley, Jacob Collier, Snarky Puppy and Metropole Orkest, and many more. In 2013, Kronos Quartet commissioned her to write “Strophe and Antistrophe” for string quartet and laterna to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Lincoln Center in New York. In 2019, Nu Deco Ensemble commissioned her to write “Khonsu” for orchestra, to be performed at the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida.
Coming from a family of music educators, Giannikou's natural gift and love for education is palpable. She is committed to music education with artist residences at various institutions, ranging from middle and high school workshops to master classes and seminars at international conferences and universities, including Oberlin College (Oberlin, Ohio), ArtEZ (Rotterdam, the Netherlands), Kathmandu School of Music (Kathmandu, Nepal), Escuela Fernando Sor (Bogotá, Colombia), and Escuela de Música Contemporánea (Buenos Aires, Argentina), among others.
Giannikou took up her new post in August 2019.