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Following the founding funding for the establishment of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO) in 2017, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation supported the Orchestra’s operation and the organisation of its concerts during the 2019-2020 artistic season.
The GYSO, which was founded by conductor Dionysis Grammenos and is a member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras (ENFYO), consists of young musicians from all over Greece, as well as Greek musicians living abroad. Its primary goal is to identify, guide, train and promote talented young musicians in the symphonic and operatic repertoire under the guidance of internationally renowned soloists and principals of Greek and major European orchestras. GYSO aspires to become a nursery for the emergence of young musicians and to offer them a valuable experience of coexistence and collaboration within a large musical ensemble, such as an orchestra. Participation in the orchestra is free of charge, following an audition, while all travel and accommodation expenses of the musicians are covered.
The main characteristic of GYSO’s operation is the implementation of educational activities, aiming at bringing young people close to symphonic music and the values it embodies. The educational programmes are aimed at students of all ages, as well as young independent musicians, and offer, among other things, the opportunity to attend the Orchestra’s open dress rehearsal and get to meet the Orchestra at its rehearsal hall. At the same time, GYSO musicians represent the Orchestra abroad, collaborating with the respective National Youth Orchestra of each country within the MusXchange programme, which is co-financed by the European Commission’s Creative Europe Programme and the European Parliament.
GYSO’s third artistic season started in January 2020 with a concert held at the Municipal Theater of Piraeus, where works by Johann Sebastian and Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach, as well as by Leo Janácek, were presented under the direction of conductor Dionysis Grammenos and two distinguished guest soloists, Alexandra Soumm on the violin, and Othonas Gogas on the flute. In May 2020, after a long period of social distancing, a GYSO string quartet with the participation of its artistic director on the clarinet performed at Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” and welcomed travelers, visitors and employees with classical works, filling the airport premises with music, thus marking the reopening of cultural activities offered to its visitors. The artistic season concluded with the collaboration of GYSO with the internationally renowned conductor Johannes Debus for the recording and videotaping of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, which took place at the Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, in July 2020.
“A few years ago, Dionysis asked me to join GYSO’s Honorary Board and I felt very proud and glad to see that, with his experience, talent and enthusiasm, he created a new project for Greece, giving the opportunity to talented young musicians to shine, evolve and become ambassadors of their country. I am very happy to have been given the opportunity to be here and work with these young musicians who meet for these wonderful projects.”
Conductor, Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company
“Hearing from friends and fellow musicians about the quality of GYSO’s work, it caught my attention very early on, since it wasn’t like anything I have heard and seen in Greece as far as youth orchestras are concerned. I am very happy to have been given the opportunity to participate in an orchestra of this level and I can see myself as more creative and musically mature in the near future, thanks to my participation in GYSO. I look forward to gaining more experience, expanding my orchestral repertoire and broadening my artistic horizons in collaboration with its musicians, guest soloists and the conductor.”
Evdoxia Metso, Cello (22 years old)
Malmö Academy of Music, Sweden
“As a member of GYSO I feel that I can dream and envision. I dream of performing music that stops the clock and leaves the audience breathless. As representatives of a country that worthily strives to highlight its modern cultural identity, I envision GYSO revealing the wonder of our culture to more and more people in historic halls in Europe and around the world. I imagine myself as a wiser and more creative musician in the near future, all thanks to my participation in the Orchestra.”
Sofia Chelidoni, Violin (22 years old)
Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln, Germany
“This is my first time in Greece, and it is indeed very special to discover a country through its youngest generation and especially through baroque music. We worked closely with the young musicians, and I think they have learned a lot, as have I. This is always a two-way process. They are very nice young people with great potential, special kindness and a thirst for knowledge. I would encourage the young musicians of this amazing Youth Orchestra to always be curious, to read, to go to the theatre, to explore. Music can be learned from anyone and everything, and it is very important not to focus only on the notes on the score, but to have a broad perspective on the entire musical spectrum from the Middle Ages to date. This is my advice.”