Orchestras in Residence
Athens State Orchestra
The Athens State Orchestra is the oldest orchestral ensemble in Greece. Founded in the late 19th century as the Athens Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, it went through various names as well as forms of operation. Its first concert as the Athens State Orchestra was held on February 28th, 1943.
Ever since its foundation, the Athens State Orchestra has been offering to the Greek audience the opportunity to get acquainted with the masterpieces of the world’s repertoire, while it’s the main interpreter of the local music. It has achieved a consistent presence on the Greek cultural scene, performing more than fifty concerts per year. Besides Athens, the Athens State Orchestra regularly appears in many Greek cities, as well as in prestigious venues and festivals abroad. Its social and educational program throughout Greece is quite significant.
Over its long history, the Athens State Orchestra has performed under the direction of eminent conductors such as Richard Strauss, Felix Weingartner, Hans Knappertsbusch, Bruno Walter, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Eugen Jochum, Igor Markevitch, Lorin Maazel, Clemens Krauss, Yuri Temirkanov, Michel Plasson, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Vladimir Fedoseyef and has accompanied outstanding soloists, among whom Arthur Rubenstein, Wilhelm Kempff, Alfred Cortot, Fritz Kreisler, Jacques Thibaud, Pablo Casals, Vadim Repin, Gidon Kremer, Mstislav Rostropovich, Alfred Brendel, Daniel Barenboim, Martha Argerich, Elisabeth Leonskaya and Leonidas Kavakos.
Former Artistic Directors of the Orchestra have been Filoktitis Oikonomidis, Theodoros Vavagiannis, Andreas Paridis, Manos Hadjidakis, Giannis Ioannidis, Alexandros Symeonidis, Aris Garoufalis, Byron Fidetzis, Vassilis Christopoulos and Stefanos Tsialis. Since October 2020, Loukas Karytinos is the actual Artistic Director of the Athens State Orchestra.
Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra
The Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, founded in 2017 by conductor Dionysis Grammenos, consists of young Greek musicians from all over Greece as well as Greek musicians living abroad. Based on European standards, the GYSO is mainly aimed at the identification, guidance, education and promotion of talented young musicians in the symphonic and operatic repertoire under the guidance of internationally renowned soloists and principals of Greek and major European orchestras.
Participation of young musicians in GYSO’s programmes is free of charge through the funding that GYSO secures. Alongside the Orchestra’s work, special attention is given to educational programmes for the youth audience as well as to the young audience’s accessibility to its concerts, as it wishes to pass on to the new generation the quality and values that this kind of music stands for. The GYSO aspires in this way to contribute to the creation of a music-loving flow and a musical platform for young musicians and the youth audience, thus enhancing the musical dialogue of the new generation.
During its three years of existence, more than 100 Greek musicians have been selected, after auditions, to perform with the orchestra, and over 1,500 young people have attended its educational activities. So far, the GYSO has given nine concerts in Greece, featuring world-class soloists, and two composers have been commissioned to write new works for the Orchestra.
Recent highlights include the recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Mendelssohn’s piano concerto No. 2, featuring the internationally acclaimed Greek pianist Vassilis Varvaressos, as well as the participation of GYSO’s musicians under Ricardo Muti for performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Athens and Ravenna, in cooperation with the Athens & Epidaurus Festival.
The work of the GYSO has recently been recognised with its nomination as a new member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras (EFNYO). Through its collaboration with EFNYO, the GYSO will give its musicians the opportunity to represent the orchestra abroad, partnering with other European National Youth Orchestras within the framework of the MusXchange exchange programme, which is co-funded by the European Commission’s Creative Europe Program.
The Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra operates with funding from the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. The GYSO is supported by The Hellenic Initiative (THI) and the Non-Profit Civil Company AEGEAS. Since October 2020 it is the new Orchestra in Residence at Megaron – the Athens Concert Hall.