Stephen Horenstein
Music, Arts and Society

Aegina, Island of Wonder

"Aegina-sky" (by Stephen Horenstein)
"Aegina-sky" (by Stephen Horenstein)

The Greek island of Aegina (pronounced “Ah-yee-nah”) is not as known or popular as others: the splendor of Santorini or Lawrence Durrell’s legendary Corfu perhaps overshadow this small modest “gem”.  Aegina’s one-hour proximity from the port of Piraeus makes the journey by ferry simple.  However the ride to Piraeus from Athens’ sights, or even more so, from the international airport, insures that tourists have not overrun this simple and elegant island.

Several years ago I had the pleasure of visiting an old dear friend Athanasius Gadinitis (“Athan”), who I met in Israel during the early 1980’s.  Back then, we had a dance/music group together called Pax (also including Esti Kenan-Ofri, Micha Morrison, Ann Breslow, Uri Rubinstein, Anne Aranov and Pamela Jones z”l).  This was my first artistic experience after making Aliya.  I was amazed at Athan’s dancing ability: pure genius.

Athan is a Greek “Renaissance” man, who believes in the medicinal properties of the ancient Greek diet, especially Greek high phenolic extra virgin olive oil, with high phenol content.  He also praises the Pre-Socratics, whose contribution to the world he sees as their vision for unity of mind and body (not separation).  He also sees Moshe Feldenkrais as a contemporary figure embracing  “Pre-Socratic” thought.

On my last trip to Aegina, Athan took me for a tour around the island.  We decided that the trip should include me playing and him filming; I was to be inspired by the various locations he chose.  Afterwards, we spent several hours talking in a small coastal restaurant and sipping coffee.  In that “interview” I freely expressed a personal philosophy of music and nature in a way I hadn’t been able to articulate before.  To this day I am grateful for that encounter.  The entire trip was so magical.

I would like to present a video of that journey to you.  I have recorded it twice in succession, because I believe that one should have the opportunity to see what one might have missed.  Athan was both director and cameraman; he also conducted the interview.

Unfortunately, Athan has been diagnosed with cancer.  He has just begun research (where he himself will be the case study) exploring the medicinal properties of high phenolic Greek olive oil in the hope that this will cure his illness. I will talk about his brave quest in another article.

For now, here is the video of my journey to Aegina.  I am playing soprano saxophone in the various locations, followed by the interview.


Anthanasis Gadinitis (Athan), Greek Renaissance Man, Dancer/Director/Producer

Marilyn Harding, Author, also Production assistant in the film

Athan dancing in Israel at the Israel Museum, 1980’s

Anthan Gadinitis and Marilyn Harding

Aegina, View from Athan and Marilyn’s window


About the Author
Stephen Horenstein is a composer, researcher and educator. His repertoire of musical works has been performed and recorded worldwide. He has been a recipient of the Israel Prime Minister's Prize for Composers and the National Endowment of the Arts (USA). His teaching has included Bennington College, Brandeis University, Tel Aviv University, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; residencies at Stanford University, York University, California Institute of the Arts, and others. He is Founder and Director of the Jerusalem Institute of Contemporary Music, established in 1988 to bring the music of our time to a wider audience.
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