New York.- By Vicki J. Yiannias
Even if you haven’t attended a concert by the piano virtuoso, Dino Kartsonakis, you have probably heard one of his numerous CD’s, the famous instrumental album “Chariots of Fire,” which received a Grammy nomination. From the concert stage Dino has spoken to the hearts of audiences across the United States, Europe, Russia and Asia.
On December 15 in the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, enthusiasm was high; it was evident that for many, the concert A Christmas Celebration, Starring and Hosted by Dino Kartsonakis, was a high point in the holiday celebration. There was something for everybody.
Dino Kartsonakis, The Manhattan Pops Orchestra and Chorale, Bob Krogstad, Conductor, and Special Guests Cheryl Kartsonakis, Dino’s wife, and the Christian Cultural Center Choir put on a show that lifted everyone’s spirits. Cheryl’s accomplished voice gave extra meaning to the evening’s selections and her easy repartee with Dino provided a backdrop of familiarity that charmed the audience. Several of the selections had piano arrangements by Dino.
The evening was dedicated to Dino’s first muse, his mother, Helen Kartsonakis, who always wholeheartedly supported his interest in music. Dino remembers his mother walking him from 63rd Street to 113th Street in Manhattan every Saturday for his piano lessons. As his tenth selection, just before intermission, Dino played his special arrangement of the moving hymn, Down From His Glory, her favorite.
There were many more moving selections in this performance in addition, such the Classical Christmas Excitement group of songs which included Carol of the Bells, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, For unto Us a Child Is Born, sung by the Hallelujah Chorus, The Birthday of a King, and A Mother’s Joy, Vocalist: Cheryl Kartsonis.
There were several classic carols for audience participation in the Grand Christmas Sing-Along, group, Joy to the World, The First Noel, Angels We Have Heard On High, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, and In the Finale: O Night Divine! group were Silent Night, O Holy Night, O Come Let Us Adore Him, Vocalist: Cheryl Kartsonakis.
There were rousing Christmas songs like Sleigh Ride, Vocalist: Cheryl Kartsonakis; and in Go Tell It On The Mountain, The Christian Cultural Choir sang Sweet Little Jesus Boy and ever-familiar Christmas songs, as well, such as The Christmas Song/White Christmas, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Dino Kartsonakis is known professionally simply as “Dino,” a good example of his approachability. The grandson of first generation Greek Immigrants, Dino was born and raised in New York City, where his lifelong career began when he sat down at an old upright piano one day and began picking out the classic hymn, “At the Cross,” after hearing it sung earlier that morning in church. He was only three years old.
After that his young talent flourished through years of performing at his home church, The Glad Tidings Tabernacle, in New York City, where his mother was soloist. He went on to train at the prestigious Julliard School of Music, studied in Fontainebleau, France, under Arturo Rubenstein, and at the Conservatory of Munich.
In addition to Chariots of Fire, other of Dino’s numerous album recordings have received well-deserved accolades, among them are eight Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. He was also recognized for his involvement on the Grammy Award winning movie soundtrack, The Apostle.
Dino and Cheryl Kartsonakis live in Branson, Missouri, where Dino has entertained audiences with his exceptional musical talent and showmanship for the last 12 years.
The Kartsonakis’s Christmas production is recognized as one of the most critically acclaimed shows, with its elaborate costumes and stage sets, and high tech lighting.
When they are not touring or doing their Branson shows, Dino and Cheryl co-host The Dino Show, a weekly television series on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), which often features Dino’s own award-winning music.
TBN takes The Dino Show around the world. The show recently claimed the No. 2 Neilson rating for the entire network.
Dino’s first national television exposure was as the featured pianist on the CBS television series, “I Believe in Miracles,” with famed evangelist, Kathryn Kuhlman.