CULTURE

Thessaloniki orchestra revamp

The Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (TSSO) is aiming to start off the new year and concert season with a renewed repertoire, fresh ideas and a series of concerts at the Athens Concert Hall and, later in the year, at the Athens Festival. Other plans include the release of the ensemble’s first two CDs and other interesting initiatives which were announced earlier this week at a press conference by Artistic Director Myron Michailidis. Crown jewel The broader plan is to make the TSSO a jewel in Thessaloniki’s crown and to bring classical music closer to a wider public, projecting music not «as a museum experience, but as a pleasure and good company.» Among the initiatives planned to bring this rapprochement with the public about are live performances of music for silent movies, choral singing soirees, literature and music evenings, open-air concerts, collaborations with young musicians, surprise events and many others. One of the highlights of the agenda is the TSSO’s planned «Great Soloists» cycle, which will present famous musicians, as well as «TSSO Presents its Musicians,» which will showcase the strengths of the individual players in the ensemble. For the capital, the TSSO has a concert planned for May at the Athens Concert Hall, where it will perform the works of Greek composers as part of the Athens venue’s «Greek Celebrations at the Megaron,» while it will also participate in the annual Athens Festival at the Herod Atticus Theater and other festivals around the country. Abroad The release of its first two albums, which will «focus on promoting Greek composers and musicians,» according to Michailidis, will also mark the orchestra’s venture into the international music scene as it plans concerts abroad. On a less optimistic note, the artistic director stressed the fact that the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, like its Athens counterpart (KOA), is still in need of its own venue and will continue to push the issue. The concerts by the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra – mostly to be held at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall (where, however, the orchestra is not allowed to rehearse), the amphitheater at the Philosophical School, the Lazariston Monastery and Vellideio – will be conducted by a string of eminent maestros from around the world, as well as its own chief conductor, Michailidis. Appearances by acclaimed soloists, both Greek and foreign, are also on the roster.