Back after successful launch

After last year’s successful start, the Greek-Turkish Youth Orchestra is once more venturing out. Last summer, the newly founded orchestra made its debut in Athens at the Herod Atticus Theater and in Patras as well as in Turkey. This time, with a slightly different composition, the ensemble is getting ready to tour Greece. The orchestra consists of young Turkish and Greek musicians, at an average age of 24. They have been selected by Isin Metin – artistic director and chief conductor of the Bilkent University Orchestra in Turkey as well as dean at the faculty of music and performing arts at Bilkent University – and distinguished local maestro Anastassios Symeonidis, artistic director of the Athens Orchestra and Choir. The person behind this interesting initiative, which carries a message of friendship and unity, is Leni Konialidis. Starting with tomorrow’s concert at the Irene Bailey open-air theater of the American College of Greece, the orchestra will move on to the Ancient Theater of Dion in Katerini on Wednesday and then to the Kavala Castle on Thursday. The program will consist of the introduction to Mozart’s «The Marriage of Figaro,» Mendelssohn’s «Violin Concerto, Op 64» as well as Beethoven’s «Symphony No 7, Op 92.» Award-winning violinist Ilya Gringolts will join the young musicians for Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in Athens and Katerini. In Kavala, he will be replaced by the principal violinist of the Camerata Orchestra, Sergiu Nastasa. The orchestra will be directed by Metin in Athens and Kavala and Symeonidis in Katerini. Due to the special ambience of the Ancient Theater of Dion, which lies at the feet of Mount Olympus, there will be a slight variation in the evening’s program: Greek actress Katia Nikolaidou will also recite ancient Stoic philosopher Cleanthes’ «Hymn to Zeus» as well as excerpts from Beethoven’s «The Heiligenstadt Testament.» «In Beethoven’s ‘Testament,’ the composer talks about what he has bequeathed humanity – the text is directly connected to the music and contributes to it. It is important for people to learn more about what they are hearing, instead of just attending a classical music concert and not understanding anything. We need to understand that, if we want to get closer to young people,» said Symeonidis at a recent press conference held at the Benaki Museum. «The program selection was carried out with the musicians’ education in mind,» he added. «This is a professional orchestra and the young people can learn a lot from each other.» «The idea for this orchestra came about due to my own love and appreciation of music, which can provide bridges to friendship, especially for young people,» said Konialidis. «This is also an opportunity for them to improve their level as musicians, by playing along with soloists of the caliber of Sergiu Nastasa and Ilya Gringolts.» «The sustainability of this project is important,» said Metin, emphasizing the aspect of continuity. «I have been talking to the Turkish musicians and we don’t feel we are away from home. There is a very warm atmosphere here, which is very important for the collaboration among the musicians.» Admission to the Dion and Kavala concerts is free. Tickets to tomorrow’s concert are available at Eleftheroudakis bookstore (17 Panepistimiou), at the American College of Greece (6 Gravias, Aghia Paraskevi, tel 210.600.9800) and at its Ambelokipi affiliate (6-8 Xenias).