Since its foundation in 1991, by the Friends of Music Society the Athens Camerata under the artistic direction of Alexandros Myrat established a reputation as a versatile period and modern instrument ensemble of the highest standards, encompassing a wide repertoire from early baroque to the 21st century including opera.
Sir Neville Marriner who took over the artistic direction of the orchestra for the period 2000-2001 and continued as its honorary chairman (2001-2007), contributed further to the orchestra’s growing international recognition.
Principal conductor of the orchestra for the period 2000-2011 was Alexandros Myrat, while for the period 2004-2009 Christopher Warren-Green also held this position.
The Athens Camerata has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals including the Musikverein (Vienna), the Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), the Theatre des Champs – Elysees (Paris), the Innsbruck Summer festival, the Bath International Music festival, the Naantali festival of Finland, the Haydn festival in Austria, the “Warsaw Autumn” festival, the “Printemps des Arts 2011” festival of Angers, the “XIV eme Festival de Musique Sacree & Baroque” of Froville and also in Beijing, in the context of the Cultural Year of Greece in China.
The orchestra has collaborated with such conductors and soloists as Salvatore Accardo, Thomas Allen, Joshua Bell, Fabio Biondi, Philippe Entremont, Leonidas Kavakos, George-Emmanuel Lazaridis, Radu Lupu, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Arturo Sandoval, Heinrich Schiff and John Williams.
Since its foundation the Athens Camerata has shown great commitment to educational programmes, presenting a series of participative concerts at high schools and primary schools in Athens and touring all over Greece.
The Athens Camerata also shows great affection for contemporary music. The orchestra often commissions, premiers and records works by many modern greek and international composers such as Antoniou, Cerha, Hatzidakis, Hatzis, Hosokawa, Karaindrou, Koumentakis, Kancheli, Koering, Koshkin, Kouroupos, Kypourgos, Manzaro, Maragopulos, Mikroutsikos, Sicilianos, Tavener etc.
Athens Camerata’ s long list of recordings includes productions for companies such as BMG, EMI Classics, Blue Note, Universal, ECM Records, Agora, Artion Records, Legend, Altara and MDG. The first world recording of Alessandro Severo (MDG) with the orchestra performing on period instruments under George Petrou, was awarded with the diapason 5 (April 2011, issue).
Recently the orchestra, in co-production between Greece, Germany, Italy and Great Britain, participated in the first world recording of C. W. Gluck’ s opera Il Trionfo di Clelia conducted by Giuseppe Sigismondi de Risio (MDG). In the meantime it recorded for DECCA, G.F. Haendel’ s opera Alessandro under the music direction of George Petrou. Both recordings will be released within the 2012-2013 period.
The Athens Camerata has been introduced to the historically informed practices since its foundation, working with specialists including Christopher Hogwood, Thomas Hengelbrock, Elizabeth Wallfish and Helmut Rilling. In Autumn 2009, the orchestra under the baton of George Petrou launched the Armonia Atenea project performing on period instruments. Numerous sold out concerts and a number of acclaimed staged productions such as Handel’s Theodora, Haydn’s L’ isola disabitata and Gluck’ s Iphigénie en Aulide have been presented since.
For the season 2011-2012, besides its regular activities (classical and contemporary concerts, recordings, etc.) in its “home” the Megaron (Athens Concert Hall), the orchestra will continue to hold its period instruments concerts series (artistic direction of the series: George Petrou) in the Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens.
In 1996, the Athens Camerata was awarded the Music Prize of the Greek Critics Union, for its artistic and educational work.
The Athens Camerata is supported by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Megaron and Demergon, the Daskalopoulos Foundation for Culture and Development. Grand sponsor of the orchestra for 2011-2013 is the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.