A large gap in musical education in Greece is about to be filled, with the founding of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, which will train young Greek musicians between 18-30 years of age and give them a valuable experience about coexistence and collaboration within a large musical ensemble. The announcement was made today at a press conference given by Dionysis Grammenos, conductor and founder of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, Giorgos Koumentakis, Artistic Director of the Greek National Opera and Dimitris Afendoulis, Secretary of the Executive Board of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, which is the founding donor of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra.
The Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra aims to become the nursery that will promote young Greek musicians. More specifically, its goals are to find, guide, train and promote young talented musicians in the symphonic and operatic repertoire, from all over Greece, as well as Greek musicians living abroad. The musicians willing to become members of the orchestra will go through auditions. Participation will be free of charge and all travel and accommodation expenses will be covered. Guidance and training will be provided by internationally renowned soloists and concertmasters of major Greek and European orchestras.
Among the orchestra’s main activities will be educational programmes for young audiences, combined with free admission to the orchestra’s concerts, with the purpose of passing on to the new generation the quality and values that the particular music genre is about. This way, the orchestra should contribute to the creation of both a music loving trend and a great platform for young musicians and young audiences alike, in order to enhance the musical dialogue among the younger generation.
During the press conference, the first concert of the orchestra was announced, which will include works by Mozart and Schubert, with Daniel Ottensamer, solo clarinetist of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, as a guest. The concert will take place on Monday December 11, 2017, at 20:00, at the “Stavros Niarchos” hall of the National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center and the admission will be free. An order of priority will be followed and the tickets will be distributed on the day of the concert at the registers of the National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, as from 18:00.
The musical director of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, Dionysis Grammenos said: "Surely our country deserves to have its own Youth Orchestra; an assembly that will unite the forces of its talented musicians and create for them the space and conditions to be guided and to musically flourish in the early stages of their careers. The Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra is created for the younger generation of musicians and, along with their education, also takes care of the young audience by providing access to the orchestra's activities in order to impart the quality and values that this music genre holds".
Giorgos Koumendakis, Artistic Director of the Greek National Opera, said: "We march on the same path towards something rare. This is a unique coincidence, as we have long wanted to organise something to support new artists. At that exact moment, Dionysis Grammenos and the Latsis Foundation approached us and we immediately agreed to support this project by providing the halls of the National Opera for rehearsals and concerts. If it were not for Dionysis, we would not try it".
Dimitris Afendoulis, Secretary of the Executive Board of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, added: "The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation is not confined to a contractual financial relationship with the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra. We feel as co-creators, as our Foundation's relationship with Dionysis Grammenos goes back to 2008 and has since evolved into a creative collaboration in the field of music. It is the intention of our Foundation to support the orchestra’s first critical steps, so that it will soon be able to take root in the musical consciousness of our music-loving fellow citizens, especially the younger ones".
During its first pilot season of 2017-18, the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra will have a small first core of 35 young musicians from Athens, Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Florina and Corfu, as well as a number of Greek musicians living abroad. However the goal is to grow quality-wise through auditions in many Greek cities, which will be announced at the beginning of the second artistic season of 2017-18. In addition, three other concerts of the orchestra have been announced for March 7 and June 29 and 30, 2017 at the Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera at the SNFCC .
Funding of the operation of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as organisation of the four National Opera concerts for the 2017-18 period, has been undertaken by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation.