2nd SACRED MUSIC FESTIVAL Kicks Off This Month

The event runs from Palm Sunday 28 April to Holy Tuesday 30 April 2024.

By: Apr. 15, 2024
2nd SACRED MUSIC FESTIVAL Kicks Off This Month
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The Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the Greek National Opera and Eurolife FFH will present the 2nd Sacred Music Festival, from Palm Sunday 28 April to Holy Tuesday 30 April 2024. The Festival will be held in unique and reverent locations, such as the Presidential Mansion Garden, Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens (Metropolis), St Paul’s Anglican Church, First Greek Evangelical Church, Catholic Cathedral Basilica of St Dionysius the Areopagite, Fethiye Mosque, Old Stock Exchange of Athens, Acropolis Museum, Modern Greek Culture Museum, Athens Museum of the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Hall & Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera in the SNFCC, and Parnassos Literary Society. The Festival, under the artistic direction of Giorgos Koumendakis, will feature a marathon of more than 50 concerts and artistic events, exploring numerous and unexpected aspects of the relationship between religious worship and music. 

Following the great success of the 1st Sacred Music Festival in Easter of 2022, which was attended by thousands of spectators, audiences will have another chance to enjoy this reverent experience through a series of events featuring over 500 distinguished and emerging artists, musicians, choristers, singers, cantors, composers, actors, and conductors on April 28th, 29th and 30th 2024, as part of the 2nd Sacred Music Festival.

Acknowledging that the contribution of sacred music to the development and evolution of Western civilisation has been of determining value, the 2nd Sacred Music Festival will present music composed for religious purposes or evoking the divine element. Its focus, however, will be on broader aesthetic and conceptual goals that explore the relationship between the human and the transcendental.

Based on this concept, the programme of the 2nd and exceptionally ambitious Sacred Music Festival hosts a series of rare artistic events, including the return of internationally acclaimed conductor and pianist Constantinos Carydis to the GNO after 22 years, a new composition by the great Lena Platonos that will be presented in the Presidential Mansion Garden, a precious piece composed by the leading baritone Tassis Christoyannis, the world premiere of the chamber suite from the opera Papess Joanne by Yiorgos Vassilandonakis, an unexpected encounter of Mozart’s Requiem with dirges from Epirus by CoGNiMUS Collektiv and Yorgos Ziavras, a special opera gala titled The Final Act Is Always Stained in Blood, Yet Always Wonderful Too! curated by Dimitris Yakas, a “conversation” between Franz Liszt and Paul Claudel conducted by Markellos Chryssicos, and many more.

Great works, melodies, and songs from around the world, spanning from folk tradition to contemporary creation, all centred on worship, will be presented at various venues including the Presidential Mansion Garden, Acropolis Museum, Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens (Metropolis), Fethiye Mosque, First Greek Evangelical Church, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Old Stock Exchange of Athens, Stavros Niarchos Hall & Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera in the SNFCC, St Paul’s Anglican Church, Parnassos Literary Society, Museum of Modern Greek Culture, and the Catholic Cathedral Basilica of St Dionysius the Areopagite. Moreover, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Municipality of Chalandri will perform funeral marches during an evening procession starting from the entrance of the Acropolis Museum on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street and ending at Thiseio, on Apostolou Pavlou Street.

Making use of churches of different beliefs, small, medium, and large museums, concert and performance venues, and even outdoor spaces such as pedestrian zones, gardens, and courtyards, the 2nd Sacred Music Festival navigates its path through the urban web, offering a musical journey as a large-scale public artistic and cultural event. This event aims to highlight the significance of music and its relationship with the urban community, the unique gravity of worship rituals, and the experiential connection to diverse musical traditions.

For the 2nd Sacred Music Festival, the Greek National Opera has commissioned 11 new works from well-known and emerging Greek and foreign composers: Lena Platonos, Martha Mavroidi, Tassis Christoyannis, Alexandros Gkonis, Haris Gkatzoflias, Apostolis Koutsogiannis, Lina Tonia, Kharálampos Goyós, Yiorgos Vassilandonakis, Tolga Tüzün, and Panos Iliopoulos. Some of the works have been created in collaboration with distinguished literary figures such as Dimitris Dimitriadis, Pantelis Boukalas, Vangelis Hadziyannidis, Foivos Dousos and others.

In the more than 50 concerts featured in the programme, the audience will have the chance to get acquainted with great sacred music works and others that have been inspired by worship and religious sentiment through artists like Constantinos Carydis, Nicolas Vassiliou, Georgios Konstantinou, Markellos Chryssicos, Yorgos Ziavras, Michalis Papapetrou, Dimitris Yakas, Agathangelos Georgakatos, Konstantina Pitsiakou, Harris Lambrakis, Eirini Patsea, Nikolaos Laaris, Myrtò Bocolini, Martha Frintzila, Argyris Bakirtzis, Lenia Safiropoulou, Anna Stylianaki, Marissia Papalexiou, Yannis Kalyvas, Tassos Apostolou, Thodoris Voutsikakis, Yannis Dionysiou, Anna Agathonos, Chrissa Maliamani, Margarita Syngeniotou, Yannis Christopoulos, Dionysios Sourbis, Anastasia Kotsali, Maria Kostraki, Theodora Baka, Christos Kechris, Marios Sarantidis, Nina Koufochristou, Artemis Bogri, Dimitra Kotidou, Elena Marangou, Georgios Iatrou, Christos Rammopoulos, Karyofyllia Karabeti, Clio-Danae Othoneou, Martha Tomboulidou, Christos Sakellaridis, as well as ensembles such as: CHÓRES, Oros Ensemble, ΜeĪZoΝ Ensemble, CoGNiMUS Collektiv, Polis Ensemble, Εquábili, Athens Chamber Choir, Greek Byzantine Choir, Hellenic Braodcasting Corporation (ERT) Chorus, Mixed Voice Choir of OTE Athens, early music ensemble Ex Silentio, GNO Children’s Chorus, GNO Intercultural Orchestra, and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Municipality of Chalandri.

The 2nd Sacred Music Festival will shed light on concepts and emotions such as repentance, reverence, redemption, expiation, forgiveness, and resurrection, through pieces by composers including Respighi, Mozart, Bach, Pärt, Haydn, Rachmaninov, Koukos, Mitropoulos, Skalkottas, Gubaidulina, Borboudakis, Tsontakis, Massenet, Rossini, Poulenc, Sciarrino, Meyerbeer, Honegger, Du Fay, Carrer, Martinů, Debussy, Weinberg, Britten, Palestrina, Liszt, Ramírez, Schnittke, Kancheli, Tsalahouris, and others.

The three-day programme also includes Orthodox and Catholic liturgical music, medieval and Byzantine hymns, pieces from the Mevlevi dervish tradition, Gregorian chants written for the days of the Holy Week, French Baroque, Ottoman, and Latin-American religious music, as well as opera and contemporary music.

The 2nd Sacred Music Festival is the fruit of the joined forces of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the Greek National Opera, and Eurolife FFH. The festival’s concept was developed by Giorgos Koumendakis, the Artistic Director of the GNO, who is also responsible for the festival’s artistic direction.


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