Corfu’s Old Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Cherubini’s Requiem with Patras Polyphonic Choir

The famous Corfu Easter celebrations would not be the same without the town’s beloved philharmonic orchestra, known as the «Old,» founded in 1840 by Nikolaos Halikiopoulos-Mantzaros after Queen Victoria prohibited bands playing at religious services apart from those of the Protestants. The Orthodox faithful on the island, then governed by Britain, decided to set up a philharmonic orchestra to play at services in the island’s cathedral of Aghios Spyridon. The orchestra now has a smaller symphony orchestra and recently formed a jazz orchestra too. It took part in the revival of the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens, playing the Olympic Hymn. For the Athens Olympics in 2004, the orchestra played at the torch-lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia, and it also performed at the Winter Olympics in Turin. The orchestra is now administered by Yiannis Grammatikos and his deputy Nikos Tsilibaris. This evening the orchestra is to perform Luigi Cherubini’s Requiem No 1 at the Corfu Municipal Theater with the Patras Polyphonic Choir, to be repeated Monday in Patras. Tomorrow they launch the Easter Week services at Aghios Spyridon with the Palm Sunday litany.

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