Speech by HE the President of the Republic Mr. Demetris Christofias


FRIDAY, 16 SEPTEMBER 2011, 19.30

” Μη ζωήν μετ’ αμουσίας

(From Euripides’ Herakles, 676:

“Let me not live without music”)

Our era is marked by a deep global economic, cultural and political crisis. It is said that it is an era characterized, among other things, by dialogue and exchange.  An awards ceremony of two prominent citizens and artists and similar such events, are a small oasis in the desert created by the worldwide crisis of institutions and values.

It is with great pleasure that I greet you tonight at the Takis and Louki Nemitsas Foundation Award Ceremony, honouring two famous Cypriot artists for their contribution to classical music.  Two leading Cypriot pianists are awarded today: Cyprien Katsaris (pianist and composer) and Martino Tirimo (pianist, composer and educator).  Both artists have put our country on the international map, and they are owed this great honour.

The Takis and Louki Nemitsas Foundation is sensitive to the needs of today’s society, and grants, in accordance with the procedure provided for in the Memorandum and the Articles of Association of the Foundation, awards to living Cypriot scientists around the world.  The scientists/artists, who are selected for an award as a result of their studies and research, elicit such inventions, discoveries or improvements which are of great benefit to Cyprus and beyond.

Both Cyprien Katsaris and Martino Tirimo embody the ideals of the artist, in the ancient sense, as in the Memorandum and the Articles of Association of the Foundation, dedicating their lives and their work to music, the most ethereal of all arts.

The term musician is perceivable by us tonight in the faces of the honourees.  It indicates a man of learning who understands poetic art in its entirety, offering, through music, an integral education to the free citizen.

Music is the highest form of expression of virtual reality.  It constitutes the basic source of revelation of symbolic power.  Since the time of Hesiod (8th century B.C.) Muses sing of the past, present and future, of the birth of the gods and thus the genesis of the living rational world.  Three centuries later, Pindar describes the Muses singing about the creation of the cosmic order and the deeper discovery of the meaning of existence.  Through art, the soul is realised, that is, achieving truth.

We see therefore that for the Ancient Greeks the concepts of music and philosophy are two sides of the same coin. The understanding of the deep epistemological questions which link the illusive with the real for the first time finds integrated expression through science and (the arts of) music and philosophy.

Culture is of paramount importance and value to the existence and development of every people.  For Cyprus, culture is integral to its survival. For this reason, one of the priorities of the State is an integrated plan for culture, with the main aim to defend and promote cultural heritage and tradition.

At the same time the development of contemporary artistic and intellectual endeavours is encouraged and supported.

The aim is to effectively face foreign and local low culture, promote our specific cultural traits and resist the continuing Turkish occupation.  To promote universal principles and values of culture, as well as highlighting the commonalities of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, as shaped by the course of history.

For the implementation and attainment of the above aims, our Government has elaborated on and implemented a set of measures.  The emphasis is on key areas of cultural policy, which I will mention briefly.  Among others, I note cultural diplomacy, interstate cultural agreements and exchanges, infrastructure, the contribution of the Local Authorities, the establishment of the Single Culture Authority.  Moreover, the establishment of the Fine Arts School, the new National Theatre, the strengthening of joint cultural projects between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the measures supporting cultural enhancement and development.

In parallel, we are also effectively strengthening endeavours by amateurs, as well as the participation of artists in decision-making, within the sphere of the Government’s cultural provisions.

Let’s hope that the work of the Government and the State and that of private initiatives will be conjoined like two good companions on the necessary path towards cultural development in our strife-torn homeland.

I can only but congratulate the private initiative which is taking shape through the actions of charitable foundations, such as the Takis and Louki Nemitsas Foundation.  As for the honoured artists Cyprien Katsaris and Martino Tirimo, it is my wish that they continue to contribute with their music to universal harmony and to help people come to terms with the existential anguish afflicting them in today’s world.  To continue navigating our souls and our senses.


I wish you all a wonderful evening.