Out of Time, Out of Place

The Kombos Collective presents Out of Time, Out of Place, a look at displacement and self-discovery through the eyes of artists in the diaspora. Hellenic-American artists Michael Malis (piano), Constantine Novotny (baritone) and Ellie Falaris Ganelin (flute) explore these concepts through the convergence of music and poetry. The cornerstone of the program is Malis’s original song cycle Another Shore, Another Country set to the poetry of C.P. Cavafy, commissioned by ProMusica Detroit and premiered in February 2024. Cavafy, who lived most of his life in Alexandria, Egypt, is the quintessential voice of the Greek diaspora and a prominent figure among 20th-century poets. 

Through Ganelin’s and Malis’s own arrangements, the trio performs songs of love and longing by Greek idols Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjiadikis. These masterful colleagues born the same year (1925) each brought a new vision and prominence to Hellenic music through the radio in their homeland and in film worldwide. 

Rounding out the program is Malis’s solo piano work Hold Tightly Your Vision of How Things Could Be, exploring his precarious sense of belonging between two worlds as the descendant of Greek immigrants living in America. Hold Tightly has been described as “arresting,” showcasing “Malis’s range, depth, and beauty” (Charles Latimer, named 2024 Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalists Association). Malis weaves rich textures in his sound, drawing from jazz and improvised music to Byzantine chant, romantic-era classical music, post-serial atonality, and beyond.


Feggari Magia Mou ‘Kanes by Mikis Theodorakis, arr. Michael Malis
Another Shore, Another Country by Michael Malis, text by C. P. Cavafy


Michael Malis is a composer, pianist, and music educator based in Detroit, Michigan. A multi-faceted musical artist, he works across genres in improvisational, concert music, and interdisciplinary settings. As a recording artist, he has 11 releases as a leader or co-leader. 2022’s From Darkness We Awaken, featuring chamber-improvising ensemble Virago (who commissioned the piece) was released on Brisbane Australia-based MADE NOW MUSIC, and was called “transfixing” with a “disarming intensity” (All About Jazz). His duo project with saxophonist Marcus Elliot, Balance, has been praised as “contemporary jazz of the highest order, a benchmark for where the genre can go” (Detroit Metro Times.)

As a composer, Malis has been commissioned by Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Chamber Music Society of Detroit, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Detroit Composers’ Project, Virago, Hole in the Floor, and others. As a pianist, he has shared the stage with such luminaries as Marcus Belgrave, Gerald Cleaver, Jaribu Shahid, John Lindberg, William Hooker, A. Spencer Barefield, Tyshawn Sorey, Brandee Younger, J.D. Allen, and Marion Hayden.

Malis studied with legendary pianist Geri Allen at the University of Michigan. He currently serves as Visiting Instructor of Jazz Piano at Interlochen Arts Academy.

Constantine Novotny is a recent graduate of the Master of Sacred Music program at the University of Notre Dame. He was previously the 2013-2015 Samuel Ramey Opera Fellowship recipient during his graduate studies at Wichita State University, and also holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Oakland University in Rochester, MI. A native of the Metro-Detroit area, Constantine has performed with a variety of ensembles including the Apollo’s Fire Singers, American Bach Soloists, American Classical Orchestra, Artefact Ensemble, Spire Chamber Ensemble, Musica Sacra, Audivi, Sounding Light, the Michigan Opera Theatre Chorus, the Bach Cantata Academy Ensemble, and the Carnegie Hall Chamber Chorale alongside the Tallis Scholars. With the American Bach Soloists, Constantine has performed Bach’s St. Matthew Passion one-on-a-part as the Choir II Bass and also been featured in a concert at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral singing selections from Mondonville’s Cantate Domino. In February 2024, Constantine performed the world premiere of song cycle Another Shore, Another Country composed by Michael Malis using the poetry of C.P. Cavafy as part of the Pro Musica Detroit concert series. Operatic highlights include the title role in Don Giovanni and Sid in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring with Opera MODO, Dottore Grenvil in La Traviata with Arbor Opera Theater, Gueusselin in Michigan Opera Theatre’s production of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night, and Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance with Opera Notre Dame. He has been frequently heard as a chorister and soloist at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, MI, from 2018-2019 was the cantor at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Elkhart, IN, and was recently a member of the Choir of St. Luke in the Fields in New York City.

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 Kombos Collective, which aims to inspire, educate and challenge audiences through innovative programming celebrating the Hellenic world. Through her work with Kombos, she has commissioned and premiered Talos Dreams for chamber ensemble and electronics (2021) and Chariot of Dragons for choir and chamber ensemble featuring original poetry and music. Her critically acclaimed program Uproot, featuring her original chamber-jazz arrangements of Greek migration songs, is being released as a full-length album in June 2024. She has released several full-length albums and performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Library of Congress, as well as concert venues, cultural centers and universities across the U.S. and Canada. Ellie received her B.A. in Music from the University of Maryland, where she also holds a B.A. in Journalism and a Minor in French.