Music Ensembles

The history of the Music Ensembles of the City of Athens begins in 1996, when they started being active as a part of the Cultural Organization of the Municipality of Athens in order to serve and promote Greek cultural heritage.

Since then, they have shown great artistic, educational, but also social work by organising high quality events. Now the Music Ensembles are part of the work force of the Organization for Culture, Sports & the Youth of the City of Athens (OPANDA). They consist of the Symphonic Orchestra, the Choral, the Big Band, the Ergastiri of Greek Music, and the Philharmonic Orchestra, covering a wide repertoire including symphonic and choral music, opera, Greek entechnon, and jazz music.

Since December 2018, the home of the Music Ensembles is the historical stage of Olympia where a rich programme of events and collaborations with distinguished artists is being presented. Together with their presence at the Olympia theatre, the Music Ensembles also appear on stage in other city spaces, both indoors and outdoors, bringing music of quality closer to the residents and visitors of Athens. Their educational and social activities are also important, as they organize special educational programmes for schools, and they appear in social and charity structures.

Finally, they have collaborated with important cultural and educational organizations of Greece and abroad, in Greek and international festivals, album productions, and also in tours away from Athens.

Symphonic Orchestra

The Symphonic Orchestra of the City of Athens was founded in 1996, since when it has been playing a really important role in Greek artistic life. Through its whole history, it has achieved to belong at the first class of Greece’s music activities, presenting important productions and offering social work through numerous educational programmes. It consists of 80 musicians, and it covers a rich symphonic repertoire, from baroque music to contemporary works, in particular emphasizing on the Greek music kind of entechnon.

It has been the first worldwide to perform many works of contemporary Greek composers (for example M. Travlos, D. Dragatakis, I. Valet, C. Grigoriou, N. Panayiotakis, D. Minakakis), and it has presented, both in dramatic and orchestral productions, many operas and operettas of the Greek and international repertoire some of which are rarely presented in Greece.

At the same time, after the initiative of its conductor Micalis Oikonomou, it has successfully organized 15 masterclasses of conducting an orchestra, in which famous Greek conductors have taught, including: Theodore Antoniou, George Petrou, Miltos Logiadis, and Myron Michailidis.

The orchestra has been conducted by distinguished maestri, both from Greece and abroad, such as: Lucas Karytinos, Byron Fidetzis, Nikos Christodoulou, Nikos Vassiliou, Myron Michailidis, Miltos Logiadis, Alkis Baltas, George Balatsinos, Nikos Athinaios, Marcello Rota, Nikolas Nägele, George Petrou, and it has collaborated on stage with famous soloists, such as: Julia Rutigliano, George Demertzis, Christophoros Stamboglis, Vassilis Kavayias, Christina Poulitsi, Myrsini Margariti, Tassis Christoyannis, Myrto Papatanasiu, and others. The permanent conductors of the orchestra are Michalis Ikonomou and Andreas Tselikas.


Aspiring to bridge the gap between clearly operatic or symphonic repertoire, Athenian polyphonic tradition, and modern and contemporary sophisticated creation, the Choral of the City of Athens was founded in 1999, being the third Greek professional choral in history and one of the five autonomous Music Ensembles of the City of Athens.

Consisting of professional singers, with classical music studies but also with the experience in other music types, it plays a fundamental role in the capital’s cultural life, and it has gained its own fans by presenting all types of vocal music, both Greek and international, contemporary as well as classical. Due to its plural character, it has become popular among composers and conductors, and it now collaborates very often with the top music ensembles of Greece, and with institutions such as the Athens Concert Hall and the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, and the Onassis Foundation Stegi, being conducted by many distinguished maestri.

Some special moments through its history were its international collaborations with Jean-Michel Jarre and Ennio Morricone in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, as well as its appearances in the Valery Gergiev Easter Festival of Moscow, and in the International Festival of Istanbul where it performed Orestia by Iannis Xenakis, conducted by Gurer Aykal.

A moment of equal importance was its participation in the recording of the opera Alexander by Handel that gained multiple awards. A recording with international distribution conducted by George Petrou. Along with its artistic work, the Choral of the City of Athens has been doing important educational and social work, presenting specially selected programmes of vocal music in schools, friendship clubs (a social structure of the City of Athens), retirement homes, and remote neighbourhoods of Athens, while it keeps participating in charity events.

Since its foundation, the Choral has been directed by Stavros Beris.

Athens Big Band

The Big Band of the City of Athens was founded in 1998 as an initiative of Giannis Terzakis, a virtuoso pianist, and since then it has a very active and important presence in the music life of the city of Athens, and of all Greece.

Its repertoire includes historical compositions and orchestrations of pioneer composers of music literature for a Big Band ensemble and covers a wide range of movements of jazz music. It has appeared in concerts in all great halls and music festivals in Athens, Thessaloniki, and throughout Greece.

It has been conducted by top class maestri and composers, such as William Russo and Don Owens, while it has collaborated with distinguished soloists, Greeks and foreigners, such as: Bobby Shew, Vince DiMartino, Veronica Mortensen, Rex Richardson, Fred Hemke Jr, Chico Freeman, Mark Smith, Nils Landgren, Ralph Petrson Jr, Yiorgos Fakanas, Takis Paterelis, Dimitris Vassilakis, Dimitris Tsakas, George Kontrafouris, Christos Raphailidis, Yiotis Samaras, Craig Bailey, Reiner Witzel.

The musicians that participate in the Big Band of the City of Athens have been chosen among the most capable Greek soloists and are characterised by their high virtuosity in improvisations and their flexibility in performing in all different jazz movements.

Ergastiri of Greek Music

The Ergastiri of Greek Music was founded in 1998 and its objective is the promotion of Greek light music. In its frequent performances it often collaborates with famous Greek singers, such as: Lakis Chalkias, Vassilis Lekkas, Babis Tsertos, Chronis Aidonidis, Maria Dimitriadi, Nikos Dimitratos, Glykeria, Gerasimos Andreatos, Stamatis Kokotas, Nadia Karayianni, Yiannis Vogiatzis, Michael Violaris, Popi Asteriadi, Takis Konstantakopoulos, Costas Mantzios, Erophile, Costas Thomaidis, Penny Xenaki, George Gerolymatos, Elias Klonaridis, Lena Alkaiou, Sophia Vossou, Panayotis Lalezas, Michael Dimitriadis, Sophia Papazoglou, Iro Saia, Fotini Velessiotou, Giota Negka etc.

It has performed in special tributes for the work of important Greek songwriters, such as Giannis Spanos, Apostolos Kaldaras, Manos Hadjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, Vassilis Tsitsanis etc. At the same time, it has staged special tributes to rebetiko, popular music, folk songs, and entechnon in numerous concerts.

From time to time, it has been present in Carnival programmes and Christmas concerts of the City of Athens performing popular and folk songs, as well as in cultural festivals.

Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα
Athens Big Band
Εργαστήρι Ελληνικής Μουσικής
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