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Program for Greek Chamber Music Project

Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 4 pm

download a copy of this program here.

Greek Chamber Music Project
Music & Myth: Tales of Ancient Robots

Ellie Falaris Ganelin, flute
Kyle Bruckmann, oboe
Ariel Wang, violin
Lewis Patzner, cello
Costas Dafnis, ghostplate & piano


Thanos Ermilios, arr. E. Ganelin
Greek Dances

Medea: Rebirth and Destruction
Composed by students in the Technology and Applied Composition program at the San Francisco Conservatory
            II. Turn (composed by Nicole Jacobus)
            IV. Hubris (composed by Justin Yeo)
            V. Wreckage/Rebirth (composed by Nicole Rowe)

Talos: A Product of Technology, short film
Produced by Costas Dafnis and Ellie Ganelin

Stanford scholar Adrienne Mayor discusses ancient Greek stories from her book Gods and Robots that inspired the music on the program.

Costas Dafnis
Talos Dreams
            Body Heat

Commissioned by the Greek Chamber Music Project. Appears on the CD Synchronos: New Greek Voices on the GCMP label.

This concert is dedicated to the loving memory of Tom Nunn, who left a big impact on our work and the Bay Area new music community at-large.

This program was supported in part by an investment through the CA Relief Fund for Artists and Cultural Practitioners at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) in partnership with the California Arts Council (CAC).

About the music

Talos Dreams Scenery
Darkness, pre-dawn. The god’s hammer strikes metal. Hephaestus hobbles to a glowing bottle, uncorks it, and pours. As Ichor rushes into the sculpture, the forge grows dimmer until it throbs with only the muted reds and yellows of molten bronze. Outside, three strange Sheep crest the edge of the mountain. With each moonlit step they glitch and flash, gradually beginning to resemble their true forms. Wool stretches and weaves itself into white-spun robes. Hooves soften to dancing feet and bleating echoes reverberate off metal to become a wild swirl of nymph-song as Talos comes online. Made, not born, the giant bronze man stands and takes his first thunderous steps. A sliver of dawn crests the hilltop.

The Sisters again clothe themselves as sheep and descend the mountain. They pass a cloaked woman at the edge of the king’s pasture. Warm sunlight blankets the dew-laced grass illuminating a perfect white bull and, not far off, the rusting hulk of a metal one. Wind whistles through the lifeless bronze body’s empty chambers as if Aelous were playing an Aubade. Queen Pasiphae clutches her breast seeking her nursing child’s warmth but feels only a hollow shell. Corroded. Pale green. The Sheep continue on, unnoticed.

King Minos receives the gift from Olympus. Beyond all expectation, a triumph of power and divine craftsmanship. His kingdom’s prized defender, in Solitude Talos patrols the shoreline, the very edge of the world scanning the seas for signs of movement.

Interlude, Artifice
Talos stops. This ship does not belong to the King. He picks up a boulder. His vision blurs. Where is the enemy ship? Where is the boulder? Only a thousand splinters remain, floating in the sea. A survivor lands ashore and charges, his bronze helmet and armor like a miniature reflection of the robot himself. The three Sheep watch as Talos, curious, raises the soldier to his chest and roasts the screaming man alive in a violent fiery embrace of Body Heat. As the world cools back into focus, Talos drops the charred armor and resumes his mindless patrol around the island.

Hephaestus crafts another. Dressed in silver, eyes alluring. Each sparkling hammer-blow tuned and phasing with the elusive rhythms of beauty. Made, not born, Pandora, a divine gift, descends to earth, her jar full of promises.

Interlude, Mechanism
Immortality… The Witch removes the bolt and cradles the giant bronze man’s head in her hands. Ichor gushes from his ankle, evaporating as it splashes thickly to the ground. His vision ebbs, but coldly. Three Sheep in the distance hum a Nocturne that grows fainter and more distant with each note. Medea removes a small jar concealed beneath her cloak and collects a single tear that traces down the robot’s cheek. Immortality… The droplet seems to glow faintly white. Darkness.

About the musicians

Ellie Falaris Ganelin is a flutist and music director who is classically trained and welcomes other traditions into the fold, including jazz, Latin, Balkan, and klezmer music. She is active as a performer of chamber and orchestral music in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is committed to making classical music inviting and accessible for all as an ambassador and performer for the Awesöme Orchestra Collective. For the past decade, she has been the director of the Greek Chamber Music Project, which aims to inspire, educate, and challenge audiences through innovative programming. GCMP is an artist-first group that champions composers of the Greek diaspora, shedding light on the past, present, and future of Greek culture through rich, little-known musical repertoire.

Composer/performer Kyle Bruckmann’s work extends from a Western classical foundation into gray areas encompassing free jazz, electronic music, and post-punk rock. A busy and varied performance schedule and appearances on more than 100 recordings have led to his recognition as “an excellent composer, striking the right balance between form and freedom” (Signal to Noise), “a modern-day renaissance musician” (Dusted) and “a seasoned improviser with impressive extended technique and peculiar artistic flair” (All Music Guide). Shortly after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003, he joined forces with acclaimed new music collective sfSound and with Quinteto Latino (a woodwind quintet specializing in Latin American composers). He is now also a member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Eco Ensemble, and Splinter Reeds. He has worked as a substitute with the San Francisco Symphony and most of the area’s regional orchestras while remaining active in an international community of improvisers and sound artists.

After almost a decade since the inception of her first grassroots EP, Ariel Wang has come into herself as an artist and musician with the writing and recording of her new full-length album, Bridges, which pulls from a deep grounding in folk with traces of metal, western classical music, and progressive rock. Although she identifies as a Bay Area native, and has spent almost two decades in the East Bay, her roots spread wide, having lived as a child in multiple parts of the country from Chicago to Baton Rouge. Her background is a Bachelors in Psychology from UC Berkeley, Masters in Violin Performance from San Francisco State University, truffle-making with local chocolatier Coracao Confections, frolicking in the Northern California woods, and a deep immersion in the East Bay area underground music scene.

Lewis Patzner is a cellist and composer from Oakland, and received his Bachelor’s degree from Peabody, studying with Amit Peled, in 2007. Lewis plays all styles of music and has an extensive list of recording credits, including recently as the featured cellist on the score for the Oscar-nominated film, Can You Ever Forgive Me. His past groups include Judgment Day (founding member), Whiskerman (founding member), and La Dee Da. He currently plays with the Town Quartet, Cosa Nostra Strings, Proteus Trio, Musical Art Quintet, and Ariel Wang.

Costas Dafnis is a composer and sound artist based in California. In addition to concert music, Dafnis composes works for theater, dance, and games. His orchestral works have been featured by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the Dallas Winds and New Music USA. Recent film credits include Torch with C.R. Coppola and the indie feature Overwhelm the Sky from director Daniel Kremer. His works are published and available through Walton, GIA, Hal Leonard, and Noisi Paintr Music. Dafnis lectures in film at the San Francisco Art Institute and serves on the Technology and Composition faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

The Greek Chamber Music Project (GCMP) is a presenter and record label that celebrates the Greek world through captivating programming in intimate concert settings. Recent programs have included the East Coast tour Remembering the Jews of Greece, deeply personal songs about The Iliad in Conversations with Homer, and the commissioning of Talos Dreams inspired by the myth of the first robot.

GCMP is a champion of Greek composers, shedding light on the rich musical repertoire coming out of Greece and the Greek diaspora. GCMP’s concerts of all-Greek works are so unique that similar programs are rarely performed, even within Greece. Past performance venues include the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Library of Congress, as well as cultural centers and universities across the U.S. and Canada.

Learn more:
Facebook and Instagram: @greekchambermusic

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