THE BIG ORCHESTRAS

George Dalaras is a Greek traveler, an exceptional interpreter, a restless musician who deeply believes in the individual character of Greek music, in its power and its competence and, at the same time, in its global quality. His relentless pursuits journeyed Greece to the end of the world while, his conviction that the multinational model is based on the mutual possession of the artistic heritage has fused his interpretation abilities with the dexterity of a number of the most renowned orchestras of the world.

The famous Dutch Metropole Orchestra is the first big orchestra with which Goerge Dalaras collaborated. It was an exciting artistic gathering which took place in 1995, in the Theatre of Herod of Attica, under the direction of Dick Baker. It consisted of two musical performances which moved and captivated the public through a song list which was dedicated to the soundtracks and the songs by Mikis Theodorakis; the performances were recorded live and, consequently, released by EMI CLASSICS in fifteen countries.

The artist’s next collaboration with one of the most prominent and long-existent choirs in Europe took part when, in 1996, he interpreted Ariel Ramirez’ “Misa Criolla” Mass accompanied by the choir of the Deutschen Oper Berlin in the Berlin Opera. It was a much anticipated concert since, the tickets had long been sold out and, so much the daily press as well as the opera leaflets had extensively referred to the event. The fact that, the concert was transmitted live by SPF –a radio station with a predominantly classical repertoire- is worth mentioning.

The next event was to be with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the most outstanding orchestras worldwide. In 1997, the Orchestra invited George Dalaras to stage two concerts in the Tel Aviv Mann Auditorium. The orchestra was conducted by Ilias Voudouris. It was a collaboration which materialized, in the best possible way, George Dalaras’ long desire to interpret a number of the most brilliant Greek songs accompanied by a symphony orchestra. The internationally acknowledged interpretation skills of the Philharmonic Orchestra came together with the powerful and charismatic stage presence, the promptness and, lastly, the soulful interpretation of George Dalaras in an unfolding of the portrait of contemporary Greek music.

A musical journey which began from the rebetiko songs to cross over to his big hits, to all-time classics by prominent Greek composers, to melodies from the Mediterranean as well as to medieval songs by the Jewish population in Spain (ladino). The live recordings of these performances were internationally released in April 1999 by EMI CLASSICS in a digital disc titled: “GEORGE DALARAS AND THE ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA”, a release which made quite a stir.

In parallel, George Dalaras has collaborated with the “Camerata – Friends of Music Orchestra” in 1994, on the stage of the Athens Concert Hall in both the “…and by light and by death incessantly” and the “Angel Hymns in Human Rhythms” musical performances by Stavros Kougioumtzis under the direction of Alexandros Myrat.

In 1999, George Dalaras collaborated with the Ossipov Russian Orchestra. It was a high standard collaboration which made an impression by means of its simplicity and its musicality. Thousands of spectators went for a standing ovation following George Dalaras’ interpretation of songs by Greek composers as well as of ballads from the Mediterranean. These versions were magnificently executed by the Ossipov Orchestra which is one of the most famous and grand orchestras worldwide since, it manages to merge the symphonic structure with the pop and folk elements. The 70-membered orchestra -which consisted of players of balalaikas and domras- was conducted by Nikolai Kalinin. The performances were staged in the Athens Concert Hall, in Salonica, in the Patras Ancient Conservatory, in Cyprus, in London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and, finally, in Moscow, in November 2000.

In October 1999, George Dalaras met in the famous Notre Dame Basilica, which is situated in the old city of Montreal, with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra which was conducted by Charles Dutoit, the famous conductor. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, which consists of distinguished soloists, was founded in 1934 and is, today, one of the biggest orchestras in the world.

In September 2000, George Dalaras collaborated, for the first time, with the BBC Concert Orchestra, one of the most outstanding British orchestras. It was founded in 1952, consisting of 80 distinguished soloists and boasting a wide and flexible repertoire extending from classical creations and key operas to contemporary music and popular songs. They met at the packed Theatre of Herod of Attica in a recital of superb orchestrations for a grand orchestra under the direction of Nick Davies and the participation of Joan Faulkner, the famous American jazz singer. The concert, the tickets of which had been sold out days before, was repeated in October of the same year in London’s Royal Festival Hall with the participation of the big School Choir of the Pshichiko – Athens College.

In October 2000, four concerts that were staged in Cyprus signaled George Dalaras’ collaboration with the famous Kremlin Symphony Orchestra. This was an event in which Margarita Zorbala, the exquisite performer, had also taken part. The Kremlin Symphony Orchestra consists of 70 superb soloists while, its main characteristic is the coalescence of the instrumental harmony structure with an impeccable technique and artistic expression. Pavel Ovsianikov is the artistic director and conductor of the orchestra; he is a composer who, in the course of his creative career, has managed to combine the preservation of the rich Russian cultural heritage with the quest for new musical ideas. In November 2000, they, once more, met in Russia, in a concert that was staged in Kremlin Palace’s George Hall.

In June 2001, George Dalaras collaborated again with the “OSSIPOV RUSSIAN ORCHESTRA” conducted by Nikolai Kalinin. The event took place in Delphi and it was a unique concert that was part of the list of events scheduled for the celebration of the First Refugees World Day as well as for the completion of 50 years uon the founding of the United Nations High Commission for the Refugees. The song list of the concert in which Jocelyn B. Smith, the prominent American singer had also taken part, included, mainly, songs by Mikis Theodorakis to whom the concert was dedicated as being one of the most renowned refugees globally.

In August 2001, George Dalaras –through his participation in the Saratoga Classical Music Festival- collaborated for the first time with the famous Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit, the renowned maestro with whom they had met two years before in the Montreal Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral. The above Festival is one of the most celebrated Classical Music Festivals around the world which, each summer, is organized in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. It was the first time that a Greek artist participated in it.

The Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1900 and it consists of distinguished soloists. In the course of its 100-year history, it has managed top recordings, superb performances, triumphant international tours and extensive disco graphic successes. Furthermore, the Orchestra prides itself on a number of exceptional leads. It has been the first ever symphony orchestra to have proceeded in recording electronically (1925), the first to have presented a soundtrack (Paramount’s The Big Broadcast, 1937), the first American orchestra to have recorded all of Beethoven’s symphonies in a digital form (1988) and, lastly, the first big orchestra to have performed live over the Internet (1977).

Towards the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, George Dalaras collaborated with the Cyprus State Orchestra. Together, they staged three concerts in London, Copenhagen and Paris which aimed at promoting the cultural visage of Europe, upon the instance Cyprus’ imminent integration within the European Union.

In August 2004, George Dalaras performed two concerts entitled “30th – 40th parallel – Musical Journey to the Mediterranean” at the Herodes Atticus Odeon, with special guests Dulce Pontes, Stefanos Korkolis, Eddy Napoli, Mira Anwar Awad, Macarena Giraldez Losada, Marcos Jimenez Antonio and Compania Flamenca “Ronda Al Alba”, Halil Moustafa and Mehmet Moustafa.  The artists were accompanied by a popular orchestra and ERT’s National Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Loukas Karitinos.

In May 2005 George Dalaras and Dulce Pontes performed two unique concerts at the Herodes Atticus Odeon entitled “The Sea and Us”.  These concerts were organized by the Friends’ Association of Children with Cancer “HOPE” for supporting their objectives, under the auspices of the Hellenic Festival.

In November 2005, George Dalaras performed at the Athens Concert Hall two of the most significant works of Mikis Theodorakis  “Romiosini” poetry by Yannis Ritsos and “Axion Esti” poetry by Odysseas Elytis.  In these concerts texts of the poets were read by George Kimoulis.  In “Axion Esti” Tassis Christoyannis, baritone also participated. George Dalaras was accompanied by the Popular Orchestra “Mikis Theodarakis” and a popular orchestra, the Greek Radio and TV Modern Music Orchestra conducted by Andreas Pylarinos, the Electricity Board Choir with Choirmaster Kostis Konstantaras, the Athens Municipal Choir with Choirmaster Stavros Beris and the Youth Choir of the Nea Smyrni Leontion Lyceum with Choirmaster Katerina Vasilikou.  The proceeds of both concerts were offered to the Association of Rehabilation for Addicted persons “THE RETURN”.

Among the rest of its leads, the Orchestra wrote history in cinema when, in 1939, it recorded the soundtrack of Walt Disney’s Fantasia –a peak cartoon character movie which facilitated the popularization of symphony music in the United States.

In November 2010, George Dalaras had a unique concert in New York at Lincoln Center with City Music Cleveland conducted by Alexandros Myrat.  The works of the Greek-Canadian composer Christos Hadzis «Credo” and “Telluric Dances” were presented for the first time in a world premiere.

In June and September 2011, George Dalaras cooperated with the Osipov National Folk Instruments Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Andropov, in very successful concerts in Cyprus and Israel.  He was accompanied by Aspasia Stratigou.

In July George Dalaras cooperated for the first time with the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hakan Sensoy, in a unique sold out concert, accompanied by Aspasia Stratigou.

Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of Turkish musical life for over 60 years, performed at venues around Turkey and has made numerous tours to Italy, Spain, former Yugoslavia, Austria, Greece, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, USA and Japan. The orchestra has played with world class soloists such as Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras.

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