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The Athens State Orchestra (KOA) is the principal symphony orchestra in the history of Greek music. First established in 1893 as the Athens Conservatory Student Orchestra, it changed its name to Athens Symphony Orchestra in 1911. In the mid-1920s it appeared as the Concert Society Orchestra, and in 1927 it was once more set up as the Athens Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. In early 1943, thanks to the initiative and great efforts of its director Philoctetes Economides, it was placed under state patronage and, as the Athens State Orchestra, gave its first concert on 28th February 1943. In spite of many difficulties and years of uncertainty, the orchestra has reached a high level of artistic achievement and has offered music-lovers in Greece the opportunity to know and enjoy the masterpieces of the international repertoire; at the same time it has been the leading institution – sometimes even the only one – to promote the works of Greek composers. Celebrated Greek musicians, first and foremost Dimitris Mitropoulos, have offered their talents to the orchestra, actively contributing to the establishment of the present-day Greek symphonic tradition. The podium of the KOA has been occupied by leading composers including Richard Strauss, Camille Saint-Saëns, Alfredo Casella and Gabriel Pierné, and by eminent conductors such as Walter, Knappertsbusch, Stokowski, Ormandy, Munch, Horenstein, Krauss, Paré, Jochum, Markevitch, Sargent, von Karajan, Maazel and Comissiona among others. Many great soloists have also appeared as guest artists with the KOA, including Kreisler, Francescatti, Leonid Kogan, Stern, Rizzi, Casals, Piatigorsky, Mainardi, Fournier, Rostropovich, Cortot, Rubinstein, Kempff, Bachauer, Badura-Skoda, Ashkenazy, Demus, Haebler, Pletnev and Gelber among others. Apart from its numerous concerts in Athens and other Greek cities, the KOA has also participated with great success in various festivals abroad, including those in Cyprus, Romania, Turkey, France, Malta, Austria and Germany.

For more information about the orchestra, please log on to www.koa.gr

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