The Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO) was founded in 2017 by conductor Dionysis Grammenos and consists of young Greek musicians from all parts of Greece and abroad. Among the highlights of the orchestra’s trajectory were its debut at the Konzerthaus Berlin as part of Young Euro Classic in 2021, its concert at the Hellenic Parliament, a series of concerts at the Greek National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, as well as its collaboration with the Athens & Epidaurus Festival and the conductor Riccardo Muti. Leading international artists have collaborated with the GYSO, such as Johannes Debus, Anna Fedorova and Anneleen Lenaerts. At the same time, it is the first orchestra in Greece to use virtual reality technology through the innovative ELSON VR project, offering the audience an unprecedented experience of viewing classical music concerts. Since 2020, the GYSO is an Orchestra in Residence at Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall.
The Greek conductor Dionysis Grammenos made his conducting debut at the age of 21 with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Since then, he has conducted the Canadian Opera Company, the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the Belgian National Orchestra, the Cameristi della Scala, the Malta Philharmonic, the Festival Strings Lucerne, the Royal Northern Sinfonia and the English Touring Opera, collaborating with soloists such as Khatia Buniatishvili, Renaud Capuçon, Anna Fedorova and Daniel Ottensamer. Dionysis Grammenos originally made a name for himself as a clarinettist: a graduate of the Music Academy “Franz Liszt” in Weimar, he was named “European Young Musician of the Year” by the EBU in 2008 and took part in the “Rising Star” series of the European Concert Hall Organization. In the meantime, Grammenos concentrates mostly on his conducting career. Since last year, he has been artistic director of the Corfu International Festival. Dionysis Grammenos is the founder and chief conductor of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, which was elected a member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras under his leadership and has been in residence at the Megaron in Athens since 2020.
It is not an understatement to call the trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos a world musician with Greek roots. Born in Athens in 1985, he moved to the USA early in life, where he graduated from such renowned institutions as Yale University, the Curtis Institute of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory. Since then, Achilles Liarmakopoulos has enjoyed a two-track career: on the one hand, he has been a member of Canadian Brass since 2011, a brass ensemble that has triumphed in all kinds of styles and genres, and on the other, he is a soloist in demand in North and South America, Europe and Asia. His discography includes six solo albums reflecting his broad range of interests, including Volar (2020) with the Venezuelan group Cuatrombon featuring music from Venezuela, Obvious (2018) with the French harpist Coline-Marie Orliac, Trombone otrevido (2015) featuring choro music from Brazil, and Tango Distinto (2011) highlighting compositions by Piazzolla. The trombonist also teaches at Brooklyn College in New York and at the Longy School of Music at Bard College in Cambridge, Mass.
“Prometheus” Symphonic Poem (1850)
Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra (1924)
Symphony No. 1 in C-minor Op. 68 (1876)
About the concert
The Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra made its dazzling debut at Young Euro Classic in 2021, and it brings another unusual programme to the festival upon its return. After all, who has heard of the Danish composer Launy Grøndahl, who not only influenced musical life in his homeland significantly, but also wrote a highly entertaining Trombone Concerto in Italy in 1924? Trombonists love it – for example the evening’s soloist, the trombonist Achilles Liamarkopoulos, an instrumentalist sought-after worldwide. And when was the last time you heard the symphonic poem Prometheus by Franz Liszt? In their concert, the young Greek musicians pay homage to this tragic mythological hero of their homeland. After the interval, the main work of the evening is by Johannes Brahms: his First Symphony, which he finished at the age of 43 after years of struggling with the material. It will be fascinating to witness the Mediterranean temperament of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra and its chief conductor Dionysis Grammenos meet the sonorities of the Hanseatic composer Brahms!