New Sounds, New Collaborations: PARMA and the Athens Philharmonia Orchestra

The recording halls are set for PARMA’s latest artistic collaboration across the Atlantic, with the Athens Philharmonia Orchestra. As we expand our efforts around the globe, we welcome in new sounds and new influences, and the Athens Philharmonia fits that bill entirely.

A little backstory: With the founding city of western civilization as its backdrop, Athens is a prime location for developing and preserving innovative musical ideas. The Athens Philharmonia Orchestra was founded in November 2016 with a mission to uncover the rich yet often underrepresented collection of works by Greek composers from the 19th Century to the present day. Each of the Athens Philharmonia’s concerts includes at least one Greek work, and their performances often consist of world premieres of both Greek and non-Greek works alike.

Our work with the Athens Philharmonia began in February of 2019 with the recording of works by Mark Francis and Bill Whitley. The recordings took place in Alimos, a scenic oceanside section of southern Athens which was once home to the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, also known as the “father of scientific history.” The recording team was welcomed by the warm Mediterranean weather, the kindness of the locals, and the bountiful local wines and fresh souvlaki, moussaka, and other mouthwatering Greek specialties.

After this warm greeting, the musicians got to work. Sessions were led by maestro Michalis Economou, one of the most prominent current Greek composers who has been described as being “[a] rare phenomenon, combining immense talent, impressive musicianship, passion for creation, deep knowledge, ethos, and love for making wonderful music.” Together, Economou and the Athens Philharmonia Orchestra turned scores into sound for a concerto with guitar solo and a piece for orchestra. As Mark Francis stated after listening in live to the sessions, “It was wonderful to hear the piece played by such fine musicians.” After two days of focused work, both recordings were complete and sent on to its next leg of the release project.

These are the first of many projects with the Athens Philharmonia — in particular, we have an exciting new opportunity coming up with the orchestra, which we will be announcing soon. Until then, PARMA looks forward to bringing the sounds of Athens’ best to listeners around the world.

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