Molyvos International Music Festival

© Stratis Kouniaris

On the island of Lesbos, which is struggling with the effects of the Greek financial meltdown as well as the catastrophic international refugee crisis, the German/Greek pianists Danae and Kiveli Dörken teamed last year with Greek businessman Dimitris Tryfon to found the Molyvos International Music Festival (MIMF).

© Stratis Kouniaris
© Stratis Kouniaris

The initial festival in the summer of 2015 drew praise from critics throughout Europe, and August 2016 marked the beginning of the Molyvos Festival’s second season. The program dealed directly with the political issues currently facing the international community, which have affected Lesbos in such a dramatic manner. With works by Greek, German, Hungarian, American, Syrian, and Israeli composers, the rich musical variety of our time was displayed, showing how the meeting of different traditions can offer a chance for rediscovery and increased understanding. Pieces by Mozart, Dvořák, Bartók, and Brahms were complemented by compositions by Athena Adamopoulos, Ross Dally, Kinan Azmeh, and Gilad Hochman. Hochman’s arrangement of his “Nedudim” for mandolin and string quartet was premiered on 17 August in Molyvos.


These pieces were presented by chamber ensembles that came together especially for the festival. Internationally acclaimed stars such as Lars Vogt, Sebastian Manz, Celine Moinet, and Maximilian Hornung performed with young musicians from around the world. The festival’s founders, the pianists Danae and Kiveli Dörken, who are responsible for the artistic direction of the entire festival, also performed.

The principal location for the festival is the medieval castle of Molyvos. This small town, known since prehistoric times, has been officially called Mithymna since 1919, and has a long and colorful history. The town has always been influenced by European as well as non-European traditions, and is therefore the perfect setting for this young festival, whose goal is to allow listeners to directly experience the rich musical variety of the world. For this reason, in addition to the five main concerts, there will also be so-called “Molyvos Musical Moments” at different places in this beautiful village. On the beach, at the harbor, or simply in the streets, the musicians meet for small musical events and transform the city for four days into a kaleidoscope of sound.

By bringing together musicians from many different backgrounds, nationalities, and cultural traditions, the Molyvos Festival stands for the promotion of cultural cooperation across borders and the direct experience of intercultural dialogue. Finding itself in one of the principal centers of the international refugee crisis in 2015, the Molyvos Festival was directly involved with the local efforts to master the dramatic situation. The festival’s goal is to support the island’s residents, whose existence is now threatened by the enormous decline in tourism. The Molyvos Festival is attempting to strengthen international ties and attract audiences from all over Europe. The festival is supported in these efforts by the German Embassy in Athens.

© Molyvos International Festival of Music

The sisters Danae and Kiveli Dörken are the festival’s Artistic Directors. They are supported by a Board of Advisors which includes Andreas Richter, Marlis Petersen, and Lars Vogt, as well as Jochen Sandig, who is Artistic Director of Radialsystem V in Berlin and the managing Director of sasha waltz & guests.



About the Molyvos International Music Festival 2018: BR Klassik PIAZZA, 18th August 2018 (in German only)

About the Molyvos International Music Festival 2018: SWR2 Cluster, 17th August 2018 (in German only)

About the Molyvos International Music Festival 2018: WDR 3 TonArt, 15th August 2018 (in German only)

Interview with Danea Doerken on BR Klassik, 6th April 2018 (in German only)

About the Molyvos International Music Festival 2017: Der Tagesspiegel Berlin, 25th August 2017 (in German only)

About the Molyvos International Music Festival 2016: Der Tagesspiegel Berlin, 21st August 2016 (in German only)