Russian and Greek music come together on stage

Greek and Russian music will be blended at the Herod Atticus Theater tonight and tomorrow in a concert, part of Athens Festival, with Greek composer Stavros Xarchakos and the Ossipov National Academic Folk Instruments Orchestra of Russia. The first part of the program will be dedicated to works by Russian composers, which the orchestra will perform under the baton of Vladimir Ponkin. In the second part, the orchestra will interpret works by acclaimed composer Xarchakos. The Ossipov Orchestra has a very particular sound because it uses Russian folk instruments such as the three-sided, three-stringed balalaika as well as the oval, three-to-four-stringed domra, the autoharp-like gusli and the accordion-like bayan. Each instrument has its own defining sound, which shapes the overall character of the orchestra. The Ossipov orchestra has become one of the most important and popular orchestras of its kind worldwide. In the past, the orchestra only performed Russian folk songs. But when the musicians started touring the globe, they expanded their repertoire in order to connect with the different audiences, introducing compositions from other music traditions to the orchestra’s program. Not so long ago, it performed works by Mikis Theodorakis and Xarchakos. The orchestra was founded in 1919 as the State Folk Instruments Orchestra and its very first concert was held at the gardens of the Hermitage Palace. Its extensive touring throughout the Soviet Union made it extremely popular. In 1940, acclaimed musician Nikolai Ossipov took over and upgraded the orchestra after various changes; after his death, he was succeeded by his brother, Dmitri Ossipov. The orchestra consists of 70 musicians and has collaborated with well-known soloists. Tickets for the performance are available at the Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.928.2900 and at the theater itself.