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Ancient Greek Music to Modern Ears

With four bachelor degrees under her belt, classicist/composer/musician/singer Bettina Joy De Guzman is a rising star in the ancient Greek music scene. Yes, you read that right, ancient Greek music. Although the only surviving musical composition from ancient Greece to currently exist in a complete form is the Epitaph of Seikelos, (which De Guzman has performed and recorded several times), academics and musicians around the world have been connecting to piece together the puzzle of how ancient Greek music actually sounded, and in more recent years a genre based on live and recorded performances has started to take shape, mainly due to popular demand.

Raised in the Philippines until the age of eight and then moving with her family to Orange County, California where she still lives today, De Guzman has since last summer started travelling to Greece and other countries to collaborate with academics and musicians in producing and presenting the music that, through scientific as well as intuitive interpretation, they believe is the closest thing they can reproduce according to its creation millennia ago.

When she’s not travelling to perform through song and playing the Lyra (she has, she says, perhaps the largest collection of Lyras in the world) she teaches Latin and Ancient Greek, as well as music from those periods, to children aged 13-18 at her local high-school. “I have conducted lots of research and am carrying out ongoing research for the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, which is a replica of an ancient Herculean Villa and houses only ancient works, from the Cycladic era (2000BC) to Roman sculptures. I take my students there and show them around,” she says.

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