A global classical music label turns to Greek compositions

Reek classical music is managing to find its way on the international music scene though a recently launched series, Greek Classics, marketed by Naxos, a key global player for classical music. The label, internationally popular and respected, has already released albums by the Athens and Thessaloniki state orchestras. «National character remains a sure card amid our era’s internationalization,» commented Eleni Saratsi of Leschi tou Diskou, Naxos’s distributor for the Greek market. For its Naxos release, titled «Triptych,» the Athens State Orchestra recorded compositions by Manolis Kalomiris, a pivotal figure in modern Greek composition. Besides the release’s title track, «Triptych,» which was recorded at the Athens Concert Hall in 2005, also includes Symphony No 3 in D Minor, «Three Greek Dances» and «The Destruction of Psara.» The Naxos label’s other Greek release, «Impressions for Saxophone and Orchestra – Virtuosic Works by 20th Century Greek Composers,» features Theodoros Kerkezos, a distinguished solo saxophonist, backed by the Thessaloniki State Orchestra with Myronas Michailidis at the podium for renditions of works by Mikis Theodorakis, Nikos Skalkottas, Theodoros Antoniou, Minas Alexiadis, Vassilis Tennidis and Manos Hadjidakis. Admittedly, the Naxos label’s Greek series still rates as a nascent initiative. But it does seem like a giant step considering the isolation and underdevelopment – from a marketing perspective – of Greek classical music. Naxos, which emerged two decades ago, is marking its 20th anniversary year with various concerts. They include a performance in Athens, prompted by the label’s Greek Classics series. For the occasion, the Athens State Orchestra will perform at the Athens Concert Hall on June 15 with Vyron Fidetzis at the podium and Angelos Liakakis, Costas Panayiotidis, Isidoros Sideris and Apostolos Palios as the soloists. The evening’s repertoire will include works by Chopin and Prokofiev. Klaus Heymann, the German founder and owner of the Naxos label, will attend the performance. The Naxos-affiliated concert serves to highlight the country’s improved stature. Ten or 20 years ago, it would have seemed unimaginable for an innovative major label like Naxos, which has introduced new and effective marketing and distribution methods worldwide, to include Greece on its agenda for anniversary events.

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