The Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra is one of the leading symphonic orchestras in Greece. The orchestra’s extensive repertoire includes works from the baroque to the avant-garde periods of music.
TSSO was founded in 1959 by the Greek composer Solon Michaelides and became a state orchestra in 1966. Many important Greek musicians became directors of TSSO: First in line was the founder, followed by Georgios Thymis, Alkis Baltas, Karolos Trikolidis, Kosmas Galileas, Konstantinos Patsalides, Leonidas Kavakos, Mikis Michaelides and Myron Michailidis. Today TSSO numbers approximately one hundred and twenty musicians.
Besides the scheduled symphonic concerts, TSSO covers a wide range of artistic activities performing opera, ballet, music for silent films, educative concerts for children and young people etc. These activities have contributed to the increase of the audience in the last few years.
The basic aims of TSSO are promoting the Greek music heritage –giving many Greek and world premieres- as well as promoting young artists, many of which today are renowned in the Greek and international music scene. A pioneer artistic institution of Greece, TSSO records for international labels such as BIS and NAXOS. Among orchestra’s most important recent productions is the recording of the Concertos No 3 and No 4 for piano of Beethoven with the famous soloist Aldo Ciccolini (EMI Classics).
The list of Greek and foreign conductors and soloists who have collaborated with TSSO includes a large number of famous artists: P. Domingo, J. Carreras, L. Pavarotti, S. Accardo, J. Anderson, V. Ashkenazy, P. Badura-Skoda, L. Berman, P. Fournier, B. L. Gelber, N. Gutman, J. Horenstein, A. Khatchaturian, L. Kogan, E. Kurtz, N. Magalov, M. Maisky, Ch. Mandeal, S. Mintz, J. Nelson, I. Pogorelich, R. Ricci, M. Rostropovich, G. Shaham, Y. Simonov, V. Spivakov, V. Tretjakov, Od. Dimitriadis, C. Katsaris, L. Kavakos, Th. Kerkezos, K. Paskalis, D. Sgouros, M. Tirimo, etc.
TSSO appears at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall and every year at the Athens Megaron Concert Hall. The orchestra also performs at the most important festivals of Greece and abroad (Athens Festival-Herode Atticus Odeon, Demetria, Philippi, International Festival “Cypria” in Cyprus, International Festival “Zino Francescatti” in Marseille-France, Eclectic Festival in Valencia-Spain, etc.).
In February 2007 the CD production of TSSO “Impressions for saxophone and orchestra”, with Theodoros Kerkezos (saxophone), was awarded the “Supersonic” prize and was recommended by NAXOS for two candidacies of the “Grammy” awards. In December 2007 the TSSO gave a historic concert in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Bejing, dedicated to N. Kazantzakis, as part of the Cultural Year of Greece in China.
In June 2008 was worldwide brought out the new CD of TSSO with works of N. Skalkottas, in cooperation with the recording company BIS, a CD that includes some first universal recordings. Moreover, in April 2009 was brought out the third CD of TSSO with pieces of Ildebrando Pizzetti, in cooperation with the recording company NAXOS, which is a world wide first recording of the works of the Italian composer. This CD, with music inspired by ancient greek themes, was awarded in December of 2009 by the Greek Drama and Music Critics’ Union.
In April 2009 TSSO made a notable appearance in Smetana Hall of Prague (Czech Republic), in collaboration with the Prague Phiharmonic Choir, where they presented the work Requiem by G. Verdi. In November 2009 TSSO gave two concerts in Italy (Teatro Manzoni of Pistoia and Teatro Verdi of Florence), while in autumn of 2010 made an appearance in Konzerthaus Berlin.