What comes to mind when you think of music from Greece? The Sirtaki dance, maybe Greek folk music, and Mikis Theodorakis as a composer. Then that’s usually the end of it. But wind band music in Greece? Most of you will say: never heard of it. It’s hard to believe, but brass music has a long tradition in Greece!

During the Greek Revolution 200 years ago, wind ensembles from abroad were introduced into Greek musical life for the first time, and they were gradually incorporated into Greek culture. Although in some regions of Greece the spread of wind music began much earlier (Ionian Islands), the activities of the foreign wind ensembles strongly influenced the music and musical life of Greece.

In Thessaloniki, Nikos Astrinidis was born in 1921, who later became an internationally celebrated composer, pianist and conductor. It was also he who for many years led one of the most famous orchestras in Greece, the Thessaloniki City Wind Orchestra. His artistic greatness influenced not only the development of the orchestra itself, but also the music for wind ensembles in the city and in Greece more broadly. Nikis Astrinidis died in 2010.

So, on these occasions, 200 years of the Greek Revolution and 100 years of Nikos Astrinidis, the “Wind Ensemble Laboratory” (PN.O.E.S.) of the Faculty of Musicology and Arts of the University of Macedonia, in collaboration with the “Hellenic Philharmonic Society” and the “Friends of Nikos Astrinidis Association”, is organising the 6th International Conference of Greek Symphonic Orchestras entitled “Wind Ensembles: Historical Review, Journey and Transition in Times of Pandemic”. International Conference of Greek Symphony Orchestras entitled “Wind ensembles: historical review, journey and transition in times of pandemic” in the city of Thessaloniki, between 25 and 27 June 2021.

Due to the pandemic, this conference will be held online and there will be virtual presentations for participants, as well as some live concerts on site that will be streamed. More information is available at this link.