Greek wins Eurovision Young Musicians award

«It makes me happy to give pleasure to the audience. That is my job as a musician.» Dionysios Grammenos, the 19-year-old clarinetist and winner of the 2008 Eurovision Young Musicians competition, remained rather quiet at yesterday’s press conference, held in his honor. Highly talented but also very modest, the young musician appeared shy to hear the constant compliments the audience bestowed on him. Christos Panagopoulos, president of the ERT Greek Radio & TV board of directors, congratulated Grammenos before offering him a position with the ERT Music Ensembles. ERT is a joint collaborator of the national competition held to choose a candidate for the European event, which took place with the backing of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. The Eurovision Young Musicians is a classical music competition that runs every two years. The finals took place in Vienna last Friday. As Irini Gavala-Hardalia, head of ERT’s International Joint Productions Department, said, Greece has been actively participating since 1994, with the exception of 2004. «All young participants [in the Eurovision contest] must have very good standards. An international committee comprising music critics and conductors made the final selection,» she explained. Born in Corfu, an island well known for its musical tradition, Grammenos started playing music when he was 8. He first played with Corfu’s Old Philharmonic and then continued his music studies at the Athens Conservatory, with acclaimed clarinetist Spyros Mourikis. «He is my role model, both for his playing and for his stage appearance,» Grammenos said of Mourikis. Grammenos is also a student at the Physics Department of Athens University, although his dream is to become a clarinet soloist. «Physics is science and music is art. I think university fully develops one’s personality,» he said. Presenter Alexis Kostalas, a member of the ERT board of directors, talked about the praise Grammenos received from foreign colleagues. «The conductor himself came up to me and said that, after the end of the competition, Dionysios was the only one who went up to him and thanked him.»