The Athens Festival has invited the Stuttgart European Music Festival Orchestra and Choir to perform Beethoven’s «Missa Solemnis» at the Herod Atticus Theater tonight. Conducted by its founder Helmuth Rilling (the only conductor to have recorded all of Bach’s sacred cantatas), the fledgling orchestra was founded in March 2001 in order to perform at the European Music Festival in Stuttgart. It numbers approximately 200 musicians aged 18-28 and has won critical acclaim worldwide in the short period of its existence. «Missa Solemnis» took Beethoven four years to compose and was first performed in St Petersburg in 1824. A deeply metaphysical work, it was inspired by the composer’s desire to express the emotion evoked by a grand Mass as well as his quest for modern expression in religious music. In tonight’s concert, the Stuttgart European Music Festival Orchestra and Choir will be joined by soprano Camilla Nylund, mezzo-soprano Iris Vermillion, tenor Klaus Florian Vogt and bass Franz-Josef Selig singing Beethoven’s celebrated Mass, which is composed of «Kyrie,» «Gloria,» «Credo,» «Sanctus,» «Benedictus» and «Agnus Dei.» Ticket purchases and advance credit card reservations can be made at the Athens Festival box office which is located within the arcade at 39 Panepistimiou, tel 010.322.1459, 8.30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Herod Atticus Theater, Dionysiou Areopagitou St, Acropolis, tel 010.323.2771.