Dionysis Grammenos is the Founder & Artistic Director of the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra.
The Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO) was founded in 2017 with the main aim to identify, train and promote young Greek musicians in the symphonic and operatic repertoire. Based on the respective European standards of National Youth Orchestras, the musicians of the Orchestra are selected through auditions and are guided by internationally acclaimed soloists and concertmasters of Greek and major European orchestras.
To date, the GYSO has given 14 concerts, with the participation of more than 150 Greek musicians from 28 cities in Greece and abroad. There are two video recordings, with the most prominent one being of Mahler’s “Symphony No. 1” conducted by Johannes Debus, Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company. At the same time, the GYSO commissioned Greek composers to create new works for the Orchestra.
At the beginning of its journey it gave a series of concerts at the Stavros Niarchos Hall and the Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, performing works by Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Chopin et al. In addition, it held an Opera Gala dedicated to Mozart, with excerpts from “Don Giovanni” and “The Marriage of Figaro” in collaboration with the Opera Studio of the Greek National Opera.
One of the highlights of the Orchestra’s trajectory was its debut at the Berlin Konzerthaus, as part of the Young Euro Classic International Festival, under the direction of its Founder and Artistic Director Dionysis Grammenos, interpreting selected Greek Dances by Skalkotas and Beethoven’s “Eroica”. On the GYSO’s performance, the German daily Tagesspiegel wrote:
“The audience is not letting the orchestra go. Greece’s debut at the Euro Classic festival is so triumphant that the lights of the hall and the maestro’s protective face mask against Covid have to signal the end of the encores. This is a very young Youth Orchestra that has met with such an enthusiastic response. The Young Greeks created a fascinating atmosphere on the Konzerthaus stage, a result of their true industriousness and their joy in making music. This is what Dionysis Grammenos defends, the orchestra’s founder and artistic director, whose way of conducting the orchestra is a comfortable invitation to accurately perform”.
The concert was held as part of the Orchestra’s summer tour in Delphi, Corfu and Berlin, with an anniversary programme dedicated to the 200 years since the Greek revolution and it took place under the auspices of HE the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
The artistic period 2021/22 began with an invitation from the Hellenic Parliament to perform at the Parliament Mansion as part of the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament of CoE member states. The performance, with works by Dvořák, Borodin, Skalkottas, Brahms and Saint-Saëns, was broadcasted live via tv-channels and web to all the European Parliaments.
Finally, through the collaboration of the GYSO with the Athens & Epidaurus Festival, musicians from the GYSO participated in concerts in Athens and Ravenna, where they performed the Beethoven Symphony No.9 under the direction of conductor Ricardo Muti.
The GYSO’s work has been recognized internationally with its selection as a member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras, where it is the only representation from our country. Inter alia, this collaboration provides its musicians with the opportunity to represent the Orchestra abroad, collaborating with other National Youth Orchestras, in the framework of the exchange programme MusXchange, which is supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe Programme.
Along with the training of young Greek musicians, the GYSO provides educational activities for the young public, but also for easy access for young people to orchestra concerts. To date, more than 2.000 young people have participated in these activities, which include participation and attendance in open rehearsals, specially designed workshops, seminars and visits by the GYSO musicians in schools. Furthermore, the GYSO’s audiences can get in touch with its work through the ΕLSON VR, an innovative project which combines virtual reality with classical music and enables the user to find themselves among the orchestra’s musicians and watch them at work.
Participation of young musicians in GYSO’s programmes and other activities is free of charge through the funding that GYSO secures. Its work is supported by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, which is its Founding Donor and by The Hellenic Initiative, AEGEAS and the Bodossaki Foundation. Since 2020 it is an Orchestra in Residence at Megaron – the Athens Concert Hall.