Athens Singers

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The Athens Concert Hall Organization
Athens Singers

Ralph Vaughan Williams:
– English Folk Song Suite
– Songs of Travel for soprano and piano
– Five Mystical Songs 
– Dona nobis pacem

Heather Heliger soprano
Vangelis Maniatis baritone
Dimitri Vezyroglou piano

Athens Singers
Chorus master: Roger Tilley

Also participating a Small Orchestral Ensemble

The Athens Singers was founded in 1967 (originally as The Athens Choral Group) by Miranda Villiers, the wife of the then Assistant Director of the British Council in Athens. In those days the British Council still supported small-scale local cultural initiatives of this kind and still had its own auditorium. It was there that the choir’s first concert, a programme of Christmas carols, was presented, as well as most of it performances for many years thereafter.
The choir was formed with the primary purpose of singing for pleasure, with public performances a secondary consideration. The number of singers fluctuated but remained low, usually between eight and sixteen, with high standards of singing and sight-reading.
The first conductor was Michael Llewellyn Smith, an English historian living in Athens to do research for a doctoral dissertation on Modern Greek history.
Next came Robert Brenton Betts, an American historian, ex-diplomat and highly accomplished musician (organist, conductor, singer, arranger), who was the regular director until his departure from Greece in 1982. During this period the choir also sang frequently under the baton of Diamantis Diamantopoulos, an assistant conductor with the Athens State Orchestra, who took over as the choir’s permanent director from 1982 until the end of 1983.
After a brief interregnum of just after a year with no regular director, the position was filled from 1985 to 1989 by Roger Tilley, a teacher at one of the international schools in Athens, whose musical interests cover singing, conducting, playing the organ and piano and composing.
Since 1990, except for the 1996-97 season under Bill Warren, the permanent director of the Athens Singers has been Carole Johns to be followed by Barbara Gray from 2004 to 2007.
Since autumn 2007 the new Music Director of The Athens Singers is once again, Roger Tilley.

See also



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