CULTURE

National Conservatory celebrates 80 years of artistic contributions

Now backed by 80 years of uninterrupted activity, the National Conservatory, or Ethnikon Odeio, which was founded by the significant Greek composer Manolis Kalomiris, is looking to the future full of plans and aspirations. To mark its 80th anniversary, the historic music school has planned a concert at the National Opera on November 27 with a focus on celebrated Greek works. First in series The concert will be the first in a series of events to be staged by the National Conservatory, said its general director Hara Kalomiri, who is also president of the school’s board, at a recent press conference. «They will cover a wide range of sophisticated and contemporary styles, concerts for children, even musicals, and a tribute to modern songs,» Kalomiri explained. The National Conservatory’s artistic director, Periklis Koukos, described the initiative as a fresh approach by an historic non-profit organization «during an era when the efforts of talented young artists in the domain of serious music are treated with disdain and major plans such as the upgrading of musical education and satisfactory career prospects for graduates remain unsolved.» As part of its 80th anniversary events, the National Conservatory has put out a special edition of its annual publication and launched a new website (www.ethniko-odeio.edu.gr). The music school’s forthcoming concert will feature prominent alumni, including Elena Mouzala, who is president of the National Conservatory’s alumni society and vice president of the institution’s board. Other participants include the pianists Jenia Manousaki, Aris Garoufalis, Nikos Vasiliou, Aphroditi Stylianou, vocalists Lydia Angelopoulou, Stamatis Beris, Maria Vlachopoulou, Irini Karagianni, guitarists Evangelos Asimakopoulos, Liza Zoe, Vangelis Boudounis, Maro Razi, and the cellist Effi Christodoulou. The following event, a concert for children embellished with a theatrical dimension, is scheduled for early in the new year, on January 13, at the new wing of the Benaki Museum on Pireos. History The National Conservatory is linked with numerous celebrated Greek musical figures. Kalomiris, who founded the institution in 1926, received crucial support during its early days from prominent figures such as Marika Kotopouli, Dionyssis Lavragas, Sofia Spanoudi, and Hariklia Kalomiri. Also part of the institution’s history is famed early 20th century Greek composer, pianist and conductor Dimitris Mitropoulos, who taught at the school. Maria Callas, who attended classes at the conservatory, made her debut performance on its stage, back on April 2, 1939.