A graduate of the Music Gymnasium and Lyceum of Pallini and the Ionian University in Greece, pianist, composer and Inner Circle Music recording artist Lefteris Kordis has established himself as a unique voice in the Mediterranean Jazz idiom at the international music scene.

He grew up in a multicultural environment in Elefsis, an ancient town near Athens, Greece. Since age four, and with the support and encouragement from his parents Yorgos and Peggy, he has studied, performed, and composed music based on a spectrum of genres including Greek Folk, Jazz, Western Classical, Modernist/Avant-Garde, Byzantine chant (his grandfather was a chanter, whose brother directed a prominent school of chanters in Athens), and Argentinean Tangos.

Lefteris is currently Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music working both at the Ear Training department and the prestigious Global Jazz Institute teaching alongside internationally acclaimed artists Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Ben Street. He also teaches improvisation, composition, and theory privately at his home studio in Arlington, MA, using a holistic multi-disciplinary approach (watch the video).

His musical experiences include stints with McArthur Fellow Steve Lacy, NEA master Sheila Jordan, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland, Greg Osby, Robin Eubanks, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Garzone, Dimos Dimitriadis, as well as Greek composers Mikis Theodorakis and Dionysis Savvopoulos, Greek singers Panayotis Lalezas, Glykeria, Fivos Delivorias, Greek folk clarinet players Vasilis Saleas and Panayotis Haliyannis, pontian kemence players Matthaios Tsahouridis, Mihalis Kaliontzidis, Japanese shō player Ko Ishikawa, dancer Li Chiao Ping, textile design artist Sonya Clark, and numerous theater directors, actors and poets. Lefteris has premiered compositions by Yusef Lateef, John Mallia, Gene Coleman, Johannes Berauer, Greg Bullen, Ayn Inserto, and James Grant. These works involve free and structured improvisation, prepared piano, and pre-recorded and live electronics. From 1997 to 2002, Lefteris served as a pianist and transcriber/arranger for the Greek-based “Mi bemol Quintet” performing exclusively the music of Astor Piazzolla. He has also worked as a transcriber/arranger for the Dutch “Metropole Orchestra.”

Lefteris has appeared in major venues such as the Carnegie Hall, Panama Jazz Festival, Athens Epidaurus Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, Tsai Performance Center in Boston, Athens Concert Hall, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, WI, the Cornelia Street Café in NYC, the Shapeshifter Lab in NYC, the UMO Jazz Club in Helsinki, Finland, the Touchill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the Vlahcevic Concert Hall at the Virginia Comm University, the Tinos Jazz Festival, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Megaron Gkyzi Festival in Santorini, the Zante Jazz Fest, the Fraser Performance Studio at the WGBH radio station, and he has appeared regularly with his jazz piano trio at the Beehive in Boston, Lily Pad and Beat Brasserie in Cambridge (All at  Top 100 World Jazz Clubs list according to DownBeat).  

Lefteris earned prestigious awards from the Fulbright, the Onassis, the Ruth Shapiro and the Gerondelis Foundations, which allowed him to move to the US to pursue a Master’s and a Doctorate degree at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, where he served as professor and course developer for ten years. Among the courses he developed and taught are “The Music of Greece: From Homer to Xenakis,” “The Post-Bebop Era: 1949-61,” and “Byzantine Music.”

Extremely instrumental to his spiritual  and artistic growth were teachers/mentors Danilo Perez, Steve Lacy, Allan Chase, Frank Carlberg, Bob Brookmeyer, Ran Blake, Jerry Leake, Dimos Dimitriadis, and Charlie Banacos, When Banacos passed away in 2009, Lefteris decided to devote his doctoral dissertation to document Banacos’s pedagogy of jazz improvisation. Currently, he is researching and writing a book on Danilo Pérez’s teaching approach and philosophy.

Lefteris directs the gospel choir and serves as an organist/pianist at the Columbus Ave AME Zion Church in Boston, MA; he also performs regularly at the Beehive with his jazz trio featuring John Lockwood and Karen Kocharyan. He and his wife vocalist Panayota Haloulakou lead the Greek Bands Penny Muse Band and Synavlis. They also launched and programmed the “Café Aman Fest,” a Mediterranean Folk Music Festival at Athan’s Bakery in Brighton, MA. Participant musicians are from Greece, Turkey, Italy, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Armenia, US, and others. The main scope of the Festival is to expose East Mediterranean music and create a community of musicians and audiences.

Lefteris has taught and/or presented lectures and masterclasses at University of Missouri - St. Louis, UMASS Amherst, International Association of Schools of Jazz, UMASS Boston, University of Rhode Island, Ionian University in Greece, Panama Jazz Festival, and Walnut Hill Music School. He has organized and/or performed in benefit concerts and fundraising events, and he has provided music for people with mental disabilities and the elderly in asylums and senior homes respectively both in the US and Greece. 

He is the co-director -along Dimos Dimitriadis, head of the jazz program at the Ionian University- of the "Aqua Jazz,” a program that builds bridges between folk musicians and jazz improvisers in Greece and the East Mediterranean region.

Lefteris has recorded six CD albums as a leader and has performed in major venues in Europe and America.

Back to Pedagogy

DMA in Jazz Performance, Minor in Music Theory, NEC; M.M. in Jazz Performance, NEC (with honors); B.M. Ionian University, Corfu, Greece. Studies with Charlie Banacos, Danilo Perez, Bob Brookmeyer, Steve Lacy, Michael Gandolfi, Ran Blake, Allan Chase, Jerry Leake, Frank Carlberg, Jerry Bergonzi, Mike Cain, Dimos Dimitriadis, and Takis Paterelis.

Classical Piano Studies with Eva Stange (lifelong student of Paul Badura Skoda). Trumpet studies with Socrates Anthis, Darren Barrett.

Byzantine Music studies with Grammenos Karanos, Yannis Arvanitis. Oud studies with Malcom Barsamian.

Recordings as a leader/co-leader:

  1. *Mediterrana: Goddess of Light (2016) 

   by Inner Circle Music

  1. *Lefteris Kordis Trio: Beehive Spirit (2014) (unreleased)

  1. *Oh Raven, If you Only Had Brains - Songs for Aesop's Fables (2012)

    by Inner Circle Music

  1. *Standards: Duo with Panayota     

   Haloulakou (2011)

  1. *Bebop Trio (2007)

   by Creative Nation Music

* Oneirographia (2005)