New clas­si­cal or­ches­tra to fo­cus on con­tem­po­rary Greek works

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY NIKOS A. DONTAS

A new or­ches­tra born of pri­vate ini­tia­tive has emerged in cri­sis-stricken Greece. The ven­ture came about thanks to the ef­forts of the new en­sem­ble’s prin­ci­pal co-founders: con­duc­tor By­ron Fidet­zis, who will act as its artis­tic di­rec­tor, and Nikos Maliaras, pro­fes­sor of mu­si­col­ogy at the Univer­sity of Athens and head of the univer­sity’s con­tem­po­rary Greek mu­sic re­search lab­o­ra­tory, who will act as pres­i­dent.

Both men have ded­i­cated a large part of their ac­tiv­i­ties to safe­guard­ing and pro­mot­ing his­tor­i­cal Greek mu­sic as well as over­turn­ing the widely ac­cepted no­tion that clas­si­cal mu­sic and opera are not part of the Greek mu­sic tra­di­tion – clas­si­cal mu­sic con­certs as well as opera and op­eretta pro­duc­tions were par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar in the Io­nian is­lands be­fore spread­ing to the rest of the coun­try dur­ing the 19th cen­tury and up to the mid­dle of the 20th cen­tury.

The Athens Phil­har­mo­nia Or­ches­tra is funded en­tirely by pri­vate sources and aims to make good use of young pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians. The en­sem­ble is ex­pected to fo­cus on con­tem­po­rary Greek works, which it will pro­mote both in Greece and abroad through con­certs as well as record­ings – the lat­ter will be avail­able on­line from dig­i­tal outlets such as YouTube and SoundCloud – through ex­ist­ing and new col­lab­o­ra­tions. A large num­ber of the works per­formed by the new or­ches­tra were re­trieved and re­stored through mu­si­co­log­i­cal re­search work car­ried out at Greek univer­si­ties.

The en­sem­ble’s reper­toire will show­case sym­phonic, vo­cal and cham­ber mu­sic works, and its con­cert pro­grams will al­ways in­clude at least one Greek work, along with pieces from the in­ter­na­tional reper­toire, which, de­spite their ma­jor artis­tic value, are largely un­known to lo­cal au­di­ences. The or­ches­tra aims to high­light the con­tem­po­rary Greek mu­sic reper­toire while at the same time act­ing in a com­pli­men­tary – as op­posed to com­pet­i­tive – man­ner, vis-a-vis ex­ist­ing lo­cal or­ches­tras.

While the new or­ches­tra’s head­quar­ters will be the Artemis Art and Cul­tural Cen­ter in Alimos, south­ern Athens, con­certs will also take place in other venues in the cap­i­tal, around the coun­try and abroad.

The en­sem­ble is sched­uled to make its de­but on Sun­day, No­vem­ber 20, at 8.30 p.m. with the or­ches­tra per­form­ing works by Niko­laos Mantzaros, among oth­ers, while a sec­ond ap­pear­ance fol­lows on De­cem­ber 4, with Pav­los Car­rer’s opera “Markos Bot­saris” pre­sented in con­cert form.

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