CULTURE

Finally out of the rut, TSO ready for a good season

Countless proposals intended to find a solution to the housing problem of the Thessaloniki State Orchestra (TSO), drawn up by the ensemble’s director Myron Michailidis, finally seem to be bearing fruit. After 47 years on the music scene, but also of wandering from one unsuitable venue to another, the orchestra has finally received a permanent rehearsals hall, and right in the center of the city to boot. The former Palace film theater at 73 Nikis Avenue has been leased by the ensemble for 15 years at a rate of 12,000 euros a month, giving the orchestra exclusive rights over the venue, which means that it can be used for a variety of events. One artist who has frequently raised the problem of the lack of a permanent base for TSO – as well as the Athens State Orchestra – is renowned pianist Dimitris Sgouros. «It is unacceptable, to say the very least, that these two orchestras have no space in which to hold rehearsals, especially when there are two wonderful concert halls [in Athens and in Thessaloniki]. It should be formally agreed that the orchestras be able to use the halls for their rehearsals,» said Sgouros, who was in Thessaloniki for the city’s concert hall’s season premiere last Friday. With its own rehearsal hall now ensured, the Thessaloniki State Orchestra can look forward to an interesting season of events with a string of new measures to bolster the ensemble. Among these are increasing the price of tickets by over 100 percent in comparison to the 2004-2005 season, the global release of the first CD by a Greek state orchestra with the Naxos recording label, as well as another CD of the TSO performing works by Nikos Skalkottas, and the establishment of a youth orchestra that will hold two performances a year (auditions are scheduled for October 21 and 22). The ensemble also has an attractive program lined up for 2006-2007. Performances include a tribute to poet Odysseas Elytis commemorating his death 10 years ago (on Wednesday), a concert of «Carmina Burana» (October 27), a concert for the annual Dimitria Festival, and a collaboration with conductor Maxim Shostakovich.