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Music in Greece

Music always had been a strong and popular part of Greek history, and present.
The Greeks delve in instrument construction, epic poetry and the traditional music, to weddings and local ceremonies and last but not least to the classical and modern popular creations of today.

Greece is geographically placed on the center of a main cultural and ethnic crossing, so musical culture has been both inspired and affected by the diversity of the neighboring cultures and nationality specificities.

Greeks love to create, hear and play music with a plethora of areas to serve these activities, from ancient theaters to modern Opera Houses and from Jazz to extreme traditional and ethnic clubs.

Over time, traditional Greek music, rock, jazz and any other music you can imagine has evolved quite effervescently. Not bad for a population of just over 10 million!!

In all the major cities of this country, but especially in Athens, a wide choice of music arenas exist, clubs and theaters can cover any taste and whim.

Here are some major ‘Music Scenes’ in Athens...

Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus

Epidaurus Epidaurus a small village located quite near Athens. The modern town, Epidavros, was built near the ancient site. The village is well known for the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, one of the best preserved ancient theaters.

The main archeological site is the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. The theater was constructed in the late 4th century BC. Originally it had 34 rows and was used for dramatic performances. The Romans added another 21 rows. The theatre is marveled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken word from the proscenium or skênê to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating. The actors can be perfectly heard by all 15,000 spectators. The limestone rows filter the low-frequency sounds –such as the murmur of the crowd – but amplify the sounds from the stage.

Famously, tour guides have their groups scattered in the stands and show them how they can easily hear the sound of a match struck at center-stage. A 2007 study by Nico F. Declercq and Cindy Dekeyser of the Georgia Institute of Technology indicates that the astonishing acoustic properties are either the result of an accident or the product of advanced design.

Epidaurus-Oedipus_rex It still is one of the most beautiful open-air theaters. The view behind the scene was and still is an integrated part of the theater. The theatre was discovered in 1970 and the excavation began in 1972. Supplementary excavations were needed to bring the entire theatre to light and to consolidate the building. Restoration work has been carried out so that the theatre can still be used safely.

Epidaurus Festival, taking place every year in late spring, has been recreating the ancient Greek classic theatre for more than 40 years.

Source Greecelogue

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Odeon of Herodes Atticus The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre structure located on the south slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built in 161AD by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. It was originally a steep-sloped amphitheater with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof, and was used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5.000.

Herodium2The audience stands and the “orchestra” (stage) were restored using pentelic marble in the 1950s. Since then it has been one of the main venues of the Athens Festival, which runs from May through October each year, featuring a variety of acclaimed Greek as well as International performances; The Odeon has hosted Maria Callas, Maurice Béjart, the Bolshoi Ballets, Karolos Koun, Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hatzidakis, George Dalaras, Haris Alexiou, Marinella, Dionysis Savopoulos and many other important artists. It was the venue for the Miss Universe 1973 pageant and hosted Yanni's Live at the Acropolis performance in September 1993. Another memorable performance at the Odeon of Herod Atticus was given by the Greek singer Nana Mouskouri in 1984; after 20 years of absence she returned to her country. In 1957, Edith Hamilton was pronounced an honorary citizen of Athens at ninety years of age. Sting performed at the venue during his Mercury Falling Tour on May 17, 1996. Elton John performed 2 concerts at the venue during his Medusa Tour in 2000.

Source Wikipedia

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC)

SNFCC Main Building The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens is the Foundation’s largest single grant. The project's total budget of $867mil (€630mil) includes two grants of $6 mil (€5mil) each to the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera respectively, aiming to support the organizations’ transition to their new facilities.

Designed by the architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), the SNFCC is a sustainable, world-class cultural, educational and recreational urban complex that includes new facilities for the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, located within the Stavros Niarchos Park.

SNFCC Main Building3The idea for the SNFCC originated in 1998 with the Foundation’s decision to support the construction of new facilities for the National Library of Greece (NLG). At the same time, the Foundation was considering a proposal to support the Greek National Opera (GNO). From these disparate plans and with the opportunities that the site allocated for the purposes of this project’s development presented came an exciting opportunity to provide the Greek people with a Triple Project, a great civic, cultural, educational and environmentally responsible landmark of international stature in one site.

Central Stage NOG2 In March 2009, an agreement was ratified by the Greek Parliament that stated in part that the Foundation would undertake the responsibility to assume the total cost of building and equipping the SNFCC, and that, upon completion, will donate it to the Greek State, which will assume its full control and operation, to be used and enjoyed by the Greek people.

SNFCC Main Building2 The SNFCC was completed in 2016 and on February 23rd, 2017 was transferred to the Greek State and by extension, Greek society. Upon delivery of the SNFCC to the Greek State, the SNF withdraws fully from the project’s management. However, the Foundation will continue to actively support the SNFCC for the next five years, with grants of up to €50 million and to organize—through exclusive grants—free to the public, one-week-long events at the SNFCC, every June.

The relocation process of the National Library of Greece (NLG) and the Greek National Opera (GNO) is currently underway and is expected to be completed by fall 2017.

Central Stage NOGThe SNFCC is the first public-private partnership of its kind in Greece, and the largest cultural/educational project ever undertaken in the country. As one of the biggest projects in recent Greek history, the Center is an engine of short- and mid-term economic stimulus. It is a testament and commitment to the country’s future.

For more details about the SNFCC and its design, construction, operation and upcoming events, please visit SNFCC website.

Source SNFCC

Megaron-The Athens Concert Hall

Megaron Athens mainMegaron-The Athens Concert Hall offers the finest facilities, stunning aesthetics and cutting edge technology. A landmark, in the centre of Athens, Megaron-Athens International Conference Center (AICC) has a total offering of 143.000 square metres and a choice of 18 meeting spaces, combined with expansive exhibition and foyer areas totalling 12,000 square metres. The Centre’s total capacity is 8,000 delegates depending on the configuration, with the largest meeting room accommodating close to 2,000. Wireless Internet is available throughout the Centre.

Hall of the friends of musicAmongst the main auditoria are The Hall of the Friends of Music (1,960 theatre style), the Alexandra Trianti Hall (1500 theatre style), the Banqueting Hall, which is a circular hall (650 theatre style), the Dimitris Mitropoulos Hall (450 theatre style) and the Nikos Skalkotas Hall (380 theatre style). These are complimented by a wide range of break out rooms with capacities ranging from 25 to 180, depending on set-up style.

Megaron Alexandra triantiMajor luxury hotels are in close proximity, many within walking distance, and the Centre is close to major museums and fine shopping and dining areas.
The new Athens metro system has a station next to the Centre and it is a mere 35 minutes on a direct line to the El. Venizelos International airport. This is complimented by car parking for 750 and a plethora of taxis, trams and buses right outside the Centre.
Megaron AICC has hosted many major international conferences and exhibitions since opening.
As part of the Athens Concert Hall Organisation, the Megaron also offers a world-class, year round performing arts programme, complementing conferences with exceptional cultural experiences.

Source Megaron

Greek National Opera

Greek National Opera The Greek National Opera (GNO) was founded in 1940, a few months before Italy declared war on Greece. The company had been preceded by a 150-year history of a flourishing opera tradition on the Ionian Islands and half a century of activity by the Hellenic Melodrama, an opera company which ran in various forms from 1888 to 1938.

Greek National OperaFrom the outset, the GNO repertory comprised operas, operettas and ballets. During the past decade, in response to current demands, the GNO has developed a Children’s Stage to develop future friends of opera. It also encourages modern works by commissioning new operas to contemporary composers. In this way the repertory of the GNO covers four centuries of opera from Monteverdi to contemporary Greek composers. The opera company operated initially as part of the National Theatre and gave performances in its historic neoclassical building on central Aghiou Constantinou Street, designed by the famous German architect Ernst Ziller.

National Opera performanceIn 1944 the company became a state-run corporation and was officially named Greek National Opera. Its first production in the old Olympia Theatre at Academias Street was Rhea, a significant opera by Greek composer Spyros Samaras. In 1946 the opera ensemble became an independent company, giving daily performances as of 1949 at the Metropolitan summer venue, and at the Kyveli Theatre during the rest of the season. In 1950 the government released a bill providing for the foundation of a ballet school within the GNO. In 1958 the newly-built Olympia Theatre was inaugurated with Verdi’s Aida. Between 1959 and 1964 the repertory grew apace, with at least twenty productions every season. A total of almost thirty operas were introduced to the Greek audience for the first time.

The company generously supported works by Greek composers, and summer productions were staged at the Herodes Atticus Odeon as well as at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus starring Maria Callas, who many years before had made her professional debut as Maria Kalogeropoulou with the GNO. The company’s steady artistic development was interrupted by the military coup of 21 April 1967. In 1974, when democracy was reinstated, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture assumed responsibility for the company. The notorious ‘certificate of political affiliation’, which had been necessary for all staff both administrative and artistic since the company’s foundation, was abolished and the organization of the company became more democratic generally, while its repertory was expanded. In the years that followed, some of the most distinguished personalities of Greek music have been at the helm of the GNO, expanding and improving the company’s activities, particularly by introducing new works and promoting the company internationally. Gradually the GNO developed its co-production policy, so that nowadays it co-produces operas with some of the world’s leading opera houses. Since 1994, the GNO has been a private, state-funded organization.

Source The Greek National Opera

Half Note Jazz Club

Half note spaceHalf Note Jazz Club ... The historic Jazz Club in Athens with a 30 years route in live music, continues to offer unique musical evenings, filled with exquisite sounds and distinct melodies. The majority of the greatest international names, giants of jazz, but also new gifted artists have parade in its stage...Club continues year by year to host qualitative schemes of contemporary and world music scene. Also, selected Greek jazz artists, soul and swing music representatives, and several music groups have opted to present their work for the first time in Greece, in Half Note...

Half note stageEvery year, in the middle of October, Half Note Jazz Club opens its doors to the heart of the vibrant musical life of Athens, beginning to beat in the familiar haunt for years, being the absolute value and the benchmark for quality live music for decades ...
Fancy club atmosphere, great mood, good sound and immediacy of every individual event and artist, some of visitor’s gains, been a few meters from the stage and the artist’s breathing...

The specificity of the club is jazz and blues, but music wanderings in flamenco, tango, soul and funky are presents, also world fusion approaches and the sensitivity of fados ...
Last years, the ‘ten-day Greek music event’ became an institution, with the unique collaboration of Greek and foreign artists, and since 2010 famous Greek artists began to rise for the first time at the Half Note scene, an original project formed solely for the Half Note...

Source Half Note

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