New classical orchestra to focus on contemporary Greek works
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.