Strong season for local ensemble

In the hopes of acquiring a rehearsal space soon, the Athens State Orchestra kicks off the fall season with an especially rich and interesting program which includes new collaborations, events targeting the young, as well as concerts celebrating 60 years since the orchestra’s foundation. This year will also mark the prominent Greek orchestra’s first CD recording. «In the last few years, the orchestra’s activities have been fruitful both financially and creatively. This year alone, we are speculating earnings of 410,780 euros, despite all the problems that we face, especially the lack of rehearsal space,» said Aris Garoufalis, the Athens State Orchestra’s director, at a recent press conference. «The Ministry of Culture has promised to undertake the work for the completion of the Athens Music School’s amphitheater (a construction which is part of a general revamp of the building) by 2004. We hope that this area will be given to the orchestra for exclusive use, as a rehearsal and recording hall.» Garoufalis also announced the beginning of the Athens State Orchestra’s collaboration with Agnes Baltsa. The renowned Greek mezzo is scheduled to appear with the orchestra in concerts both in Greece and abroad, including an evening at the celebrated Musikverein Hall in Vienna in June, 2003, as well as an opera gala celebrating the orchestra’s 60 years since its establishment, which has already been scheduled to take place at the Athens Concert Hall on March 2, 2003. Beginning this season, there will also be musical ensemble performances (such as the String Ensemble), comprising members of the orchestra, while in the first week of July 2003, the orchestra will be recording works by Manolis Kalomiris. It is also worth noting that in the next few months the orchestra will welcome 15 new musicians into its ranks. This year’s program, which includes 25 symphony concerts at the Athens Concert Hall as well as eight ballet and seven opera performances, begins this Friday. Also on the program are gala performances by recipients of the «Maria Callas» and the «Alexandra Triandi» scholarships (October 29); a first-time rendition of Theodore Andoniou’s «Celebration» and C. Nielsen’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra on November 15; a concert at the Aula Hall of the University of Athens School of Philosophy (November 20); the world premiere of Manolis Kalomiris’s «Life and Longings of Captain Lyras» (December 13); an evening of Astor Piazzolla and Luis Bakalov tango tunes in February 2003; a guitar festival in March 2003 as well as Rimsky-Korsakov’s «Russian Easter» (April, 2003).