Myron Michailidis

Myron Michailidis (Greek: Μύρων Μιχαηλίδης) is a Greek conductor, since 2018 Generalmusikdirektor (GMD) of both the Erfurt Opera & the Philharmonic Orchestra of Erfurt in Germany.[1] He is regarded today as one of the most important Greek conductors.

Myron Michailidis
Myron Michailidis, Conductor.jpg
Michailidis conducting the Athens State Orchestra in 2018
Nationality Greece
Alma materUniversität der Künste Berlin (Orchestral Conducting) University of Athens (Law & Economic Sciences)
AwardsOrdre des Arts et des Lettres Chevalier ribbon.svg Chevalier de l'Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres (République Française, 2016)

Michailidis is also, since 2019, the first Artistic Director of the new Cultural and Conference Center of Crete (CCCC) in Heraklion, Greece.[2][3]

Previously, between 2011 and 2017, Michailidis held the position of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Greek National Opera (GNO) (Greek: Εθνική Λυρική Σκηνή, Ethnikí Lyrikí Skiní) in Athens, Greece, of which he made one of the great European opera houses. From 2004 to 2011 he was the General Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (TSSO), while from 1999 to 2004 he served as Permanent Conductor at the Opera of Eastern Saxony in Germany.

The repertoire of Myron Michailidis, which consists of a catalog that exceeds 250 symphonic works and 40 operas, ranges from Baroque to Contemporary music and includes Symphonic as well as Choral works alongside operas. He is a great proponent of the music of Beethoven,[4] Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff,[5] as well as of the operas of Verdi,[6] Puccini,[7] Gounod[8] and Wagner.[9]

Michailidis has conducted the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Erfurt, the Braunschweig State Orchestra, the Saarländisches Staatsorchester, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Rome Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Opera Symphony Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Bucharest National Opera, the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Radio Orchestra of Romania, the Οdessa Philharmonic Orchestra, the Astrakhan State Theater Symphony Orchestra, the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, the Μexico State Orchestra, as well as all Greek symphony orchestras, including the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, the Athens State Orchestra, the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra ERT, and the Greek National Opera Orchestra.

He has collaborated with leading artists, including Aldo Ciccolini,[10] Paul Badura-Skoda, Cyprien Katsaris, Ivo Pogorelić, Lars Vogt, Fazil Say, Barry Douglas, Martino Tirimo, Dimitris Sgouros, Salvatore Accardo, Vadim Repin, Shlomo Mintz, Diana Tishchenko, Kirill Troussov, Mischa Maisky, Theodore Kerkezos, Paata Burchuladze, June Anderson, Cheryl Studer, and several others. About his close collaboration with Myron Michailidis and the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, the legendary pianist Aldo Ciccolini was declaring in May 2006:[11]

« I am impressed and happy to have collaborated with this orchestra, brilliantly conducted by Mr. Myron Michailidis, who knows what he is doing… a partnership that will remain in my memory for long... »

— Aldo Ciccolini

Also more recently, following a concert conducted by Michailidis in Erfurt in September 2018, Cyprien Katsaris, who played Shostakovich's piano concerto No. 2, declared:[12]

« The Erfurt Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the great Greek conductor Myron Michailidis, played wonderfully well [...] it was simply fantastic! Then I listened to Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 in the second part, and I could not believe what I witnessed: a miracle! »

— Cyprien Katsaris


Myron Michailidis was born in Heraklion, on the island of Crete in Greece. He studied piano with Dimitris Toufexis in Athens. He continued his musical studies at the Berlin University of the Arts (Hochschule/Universität der Künste, UdK) in Berlin, where he studied conducting with Hans-Martin Rabenstein. He also participated in Master Classes by Miltiades Caridis and Sir Simon Rattle. He holds as well a degree from the Faculty of Law (Department of Law and Economic Sciences) of the University of Athens.


Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (2004-2011)Edit

The Thessaloniki Concert Hall, residence of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra.

During his tenure as General Artistic Director of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (TSSO) between 2004 and 2011, Myron Michailidis radically renewed the orchestra's programming and penetrated the international discography. He also conducted numerous concerts at the Orchestra's residence, the Thessaloniki Concert Hall and took it to various venues in Greece and abroad, such as the Smetana Hall and Rudolfinum in Prague (2009), the Teatro Verdi in Florence (2009), the Konzerthaus in Berlin (2010) etc. In December 2007, during the celebration events of the Cultural Year of Greece in China, he took the Orchestra on tour in Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympic Games, and conducted a historical performance at the Forbidden City Concert Hall.

Greek National Opera (2011–2017)Edit

Entrance of the Greek National Opera House

In 2011, Myron Michailidis was appointed Artistic Director of the Greek National Opera (GNO) in Athens. Over his emblematic six-year tenure, and in the middle of the Greek economic debt crisis, Michailidis remarkably managed to increase both his profile and that of the Opera company, achievements which were both nationally and internationally acclaimed.[13][14][15][16][17]

Economically, Michailidis successfully restored a balanced budget for the institution, the accumulated debt of €17 million he inherited in 2011 being nearly fully recovered as soon as in 2014.[13][14][18][19] This notable result, achieved during the Greek economic crisis, has been obtained through specific spending cuts (but without dismissal of personnel) and by a substantial policy of public awareness, which significantly raised general and media interest for Lyric Art and increased both tickets sales and filling rates.

Michailidis indeed opened the doors of the Opera to a genuinely new audience and developed a large array of innovative artistic, cultural, societal and educational activities (which were all presented by the Maestro during his emblematic TEDxAcademy2014 talk),[20] such as open rehearsals, musical promenades in the streets of Athens, dance in city squares, open-air free concerts and opera galas in unconventional venues (such as the port of Piraeus for a "waltz of the ferry boats",[21] the Athens International Airport, the metro stations, the popular Varvakeio central market, or the esplanades of the Athens National Archaeological Museum or of the New Acropolis Museum, etc.).[13][18] Other initiatives included the programs "Suitcase Opera" (operas in miniature form performed in Greek peripheral cities) and "Opera Bus"[22] (double-decker bus on which the singers of the Opera company performed to passers-by in the streets of Athens), the establishment of a "GNO Children’s Chorus"[23] (of about 80 members, which sung for US president Barack Obama at the occasion of his official visit to Athens in 2016) and of a "Young Artists Program", and a participation to the EU outreach program "Interactive Opera for Primary Schools", which concerned 45,000 pupils in 147 schools in Greek regions.[18][24]

Myron Michailidis conducting the Orchestra of the Greek National Opera under the Acropolis, in an open rehearsal of Puccini's Madame Butterfly (Athens, July 2013).

In parallel, Michailidis developed a framework for international co-productions with large lyrical theaters such as the Royal Opera House of Covent Garden in London, the Welsh National Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Arena di Verona Festival, the Teatro La Fenice in Venice[18][19]. He also deepened and extended GNO's relations with other European theaters as a member of the European Forum of Lyrical Theaters, Opera Europa.[18]

Artistically, Michailidis conducted many opera performances within the walls of GNO's historic building (Olympia Theater, 700 seats), in the open-air antic Herodes Atticus Theater (under the Acropolis, 5,000 seats) during the annual summer's Athens Festival and in the two halls of the Megaro Mousikis (Athens Concert Hall, 2,000 & 1,750 seats), with a majority of representations sold out. He conducted Les contes d'Hoffmann (2001), L'elisir d'amore (2002), Fedora (2002), Tosca (2004 & 2012), Il Trovatore (2005), L'italiana in Algeri (2006), La Traviata (2010), Die Zauberflöte (2010 & 2011), Faust (2012), I vespri siciliani (2013), Madama Butterfly (2013), Macbeth (2014), Otello (2014), La Bohème (2015), Tristan und Isolde (2015), Aida (2016) and Lohengrin (2017). GNO's repertoire was significantly increased and proposed 35 new opera and operetta titles, as well as 11 new ballets.

Myron Michailidis conducting the Orchestra of the Greek National Opera in Puccini's Tosca at the Theater of Herodes Atticus under the Acropolis (in 2012)

Michailidis also continued to champion the production of rare works and of contemporary music. Notably, he produced stage performances of contemporary works composed by 6 Greek modern composers, and in 2014, the creation in world's premiere of the contemporary Opera The Murderess (Η Φόνισσα, based on the famous novel by Alexandros Papadiamantis) written by Giorgos Koumendakis, GNO's "composer in residence".[25] Michailidis also conducted the GNO Orchestra & Choir in two novel productions of Richard Wagner's Operas: Tristan und Isolde (2015, staged by Yiannis Kokkos)[26] and Lohengrin (2017, staged by Anthony McDonald),[27] which were both heard for the first time in Greek history, in their integral, original and scenic versions.[18]

The Greek National Opera House in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) newly built by architect Renzo Piano (2017)

One of Michailidis most successful long-term achievement was certainly the relocation of the GNO in 2017 from its former venue, the historic Olympia Theater located in the center of Athens, to its newly built headquarters in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), a state-of-the-art performing arts center designed by famous architect Renzo Piano, which includes new facilities for the National Library of Greece (NLG) and for the Greek National Opera (GNO) (new 1,400-seat Opera Hall), located in a 210,000 m² park nearby Athens center, in Palaio Faliro, on the Athens riviera. Notably, in 2014, before the move, Michailidis conducted a strikingly poetic live performance of the GNO orchestra on the construction site of the SNFCC, during which 10 tower cranes literally “danced” to the music of Gustav Holst's The Planets, with Renato Zanella's unique choreography.[28]

Theater Erfurt & Erfurt Philharmonic Orchestra (2018-)Edit

New Opera House of the Theater Erfurt (Großes Haus)

After completing two mandates at the GNO, and a few months only before GNO's final installation in the SNFCC, the Greek Ministry of Culture announced to the general surprise in February 2017 that Michailidis contract will not be extend beyond that season, provoking a great shock in public opinion.[29] Following his invitation at the Opera House of Shanghai to conduct Donizetti's La Fille du régiment (for its first presentation on Chinese soil) and at the Theater Erfurt to conduct the rare Giulietta e Romeo of Riccardo Zandonai, it was announced, late 2017, that Michailidis was chosen by the direction of the Theater Erfurt and by the members the Erfurt Philharmonic Orchestra to become their new Generalmusikdirektor (GMD) for the next two seasons.[1]

For his 2018/19 season debut, Michailidis conducted a new production of Bizet's Carmen at the 2018 Erfurt summer's open-air festival, DomStufen-Festspiele (which takes place on the Cathedral Square, seating up to 2,000 spectators). For the following seasons, he will conduct Lehár's Die Lustige Witwe (2019), Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan (2019), Verdi's Aida (2019), Nabucco (2020, 2022) and Luisa Miller (2022), Wagner's Lohengrin (2020) and Puccini's Manon Lescaut (2021), as well as a series of symphonic works of Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Kabalevsky, Berlioz, Massenet, Debussy, Dutilleux, Skalkottas and Theodorakis.[30][31] Michailidis is conducting the Philharmonisches Orchester Erfurt either in the new Opera House of the Erfurt Theater (Großes Haus, 840 seats) or in several other Thuringian venues, such as the historic "Festsaal" of the Wartburg castle.

Cultural and Conference Center of Crete (2019-)Edit

Main Hall of the new Cultural and Conference Center of Crete, in Heraklion (2019).

In February 2019, Myron Michailidis has been appointed as the first Artistic Director of the newly built Cultural and Conference Center of Crete (CCCC), in Heraklion, Greece,[2][3] a position he holds in parallel to his current position of Generalmusikdirektor (GMD) at the Theater Erfurt. For its historical inaugural concert,[32] Michailidis has conducted the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra ERT in works of Markopoulos, Theodorakis, Rossini, Massenet and Tchaikovsky, all inspired by the Cretan or Mediterranean tradition.[33] Michailidis pursues in Crete his collaborations with internationally renowned musicians, inviting soloists such as Cyprien Katsaris or Diana Tishchenko.[34] In November 2021, he produced in collaboration with the Teatro Grattacielo of New York and conducted Mozart's Idomeneo, the first opera performance in full stage and music form ever given in Crete.[35] It was also the first time since its creation that Mozart's Opera, whose libretto sets the action in Crete, was given on the island.


Michailidis has recorded for EMI Classics and repeatedly for Naxos, as well as for numerous Greek labels and for the Greek National Radio:

  • In 2009, his recording of works of the important Italian composer Ildebrando Pizzetti for Naxos[37] (some of them being World Premiere Recordings) received several distinctions (Honorable Award from the Greek Critics Association for Music and Theater in December 2009)[38] and many very positive reviews in the international press (including Five Diapasons attributed by the French magazine Diapason).
  • In 2015, Michailidis released the first DVD ever produced by the Greek National Opera, Gounod's Faust, featuring Eric Cutler (Faust), Alexia Voulgaridou (Marguerite), Paata Burchuladze (Méphistophélès), Dimitri Platanias (Valentin), Renato Zanella (Director - Choreographer), Myron Michailidis (Conductor) – GNO Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet. Recorded and filmed on January 20, 2012 at the Athens Concert Hall, under the direction of Michalis Dais.[42]


  • In 2009, Myron Michailidis received the Honorable Award from the Greek Critics Association for Music and Theater.[38]
  •   In 2016, he was made Chevalier de l'Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the National Order the Arts and Letters) of the French Republic.[16]
  • In 2017, he received the prestigious Award Apollo from the Society of Friends of the Greek National Opera (GNO) for his entire contribution to the successes and achievements of the institution.[43]


  1. ^ a b The Greek conductor Myron Michailidis will be the new General Music Director at the Theater Erfurt from season 2018/19, on the site of the Theater Erfurt: Archived 14 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b A "Concert Hall" ("Megaro Mousikis") has been built in Crete, by Sakis Ioannidis, Kathimerini, 28 February 2019 (in Greek):
  3. ^ a b Myron Michailidis Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of Heraklion ("Ο Μ. Μιχαηλίδης καλλιτεχνικός διευθυντής του Πολιτιστικού Κέντρου Ηρακλείου") in, 20 February 2019 (in Greek):
  4. ^ Listen to his Recording for EMI Classics of Beethoven's Concertos Nos 3 & 4, with Aldo Ciccolini & the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (TSSO) (Thessaloniki Concert Hall, 26-31 May 2018).
  5. ^ YouTube video of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, with the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra ERT (Athens Concert Hall, 25 April 2018). (Εθνική Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα Μύρων Μιχαηλίδης 25 Απριλίου 2018 MMA, uploaded by kobot8 on 15 July 2018)
  6. ^ YouTube Video of his rehearsal of Verdi's Luisa Miller, (Teatro Verdi Trieste, March 2018). (Luisa Miller - prova d'orchestra col M° Myron Michailidis, uploaded by TeatroVerdiTrieste on 22 February 2016)
  7. ^ YouTube video of Puccini's Tosca (aria Vissi d'arte sung by Cellia Costea), with the Greek National Opera (GNO) (Herodes Atticus Theater, July 2012). (Cellia Costea: Vissi d'arte /Puccini's TOSCA by Greek National Opera / Odeon Of Herodes Atticus, uploaded by greek national opera on 6 June 2015).
  8. ^ Watch his DVD of Gounod's Faust, with the Greek National Opera (GNO) Orchestra, Chorus & Ballet (Athens Concert Hall, 20 January 2012).
  9. ^ Watch the announcement Videos on YouTube of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde & Lohengrin new productions of the Greek National Opera (GNO) (Athens Concert Hall, January 2015 & 2017, respectively) (ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΛΥΡΙΚΗ ΣΚΗΝΗ - ΛΟΕΝΓΚΡΙΝ - RICHARD WAGNER's LOHENGRIN - 27/01-05/02 - ΜΕΓΑΡΟ ΜΟΥΣΙΚΗΣ ΑΘΗΝΩΝ, uploaded by greek national opera on 23 December 2016 and ΕΛΣ Τριστάνος & Ιζόλδη - R. Wagner - Tristan und Isolde / Greek National Opera 2014-15, uploaded by greek national opera on 30 December 2014).
  10. ^ a b filmed interview of Aldo Ciccolini (1925–2015) on YouTube, in which the legendary pianist evokes his relation with Myron Michailidis & Greece, and the recording of Beethoven's concerti for EMI Classics: Aldo Ciccolini, Beethoven: Concertos pour piano n°3 & 4 (uploaded by Warner Classics on 29 March 2012).
  11. ^ Within the disc of Beethoven's concerti for EMI Classics: Aldo Ciccolini - Myron Michailidis, « Beethoven: Piano Concertos n°3 & 4 »
  12. ^ On 24 September 2018 in a public statement of Cyprien Katsaris on his official page in the social media:
  13. ^ a b c High notes in Athens as Greece's National Opera defies financial crisis in Euronews (04 November 2013). Article in English: Video in English:
  14. ^ a b Greek National Opera: A Story of Real Success by Ilena Kritikou (29 December 2016). ("Εθνική Λυρική Σκηνή: Μια ιστορία πραγματικής επιτυχίας", in Greek):
  15. ^ The Operatic Forum Opera Lively proposed GNO’s nomination as Opera Company of the Year for the 2014 International Opera Awards. In The exclusive Opera Lively Interview with Maestro Myron Michailidis from the Greek National Opera by Luiz Gazzola, Opera Lively, 11 January 2014:
  16. ^ a b Christophe Chantepy, ambassadeur de France en Grèce, a remis les insignes de Chevalier de l'Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres à M. Myron Michaïlidis, directeur artistique de l’Opéra national et chef d’orchestre ("Christophe Chantepy, Ambassador of France in Greece, presented the Knight's insignia of the National Order of the Arts and Letters to Mr. Myron Michaïlidis, artistic director of the National Opera and conductor") May 24, 2016. Read the speech of Christophe Chantepy and see the photos of the ceremony on the website of the French Embassy in Greece (in French & Greek):
  17. ^ Die nützliche Oper ("The useful Opera") by Theodora Mavropoulos, 03 May 2014, Der Tagesspiegel (in German):
  18. ^ a b c d e f Η ζωή μου είναι και θα είναι η μουσική by Myron Michailidis, Kathimerini, 23 January 2017 (in Greek):
  19. ^ a b Εθνική Λυρική Σκηνή, όλη η αλήθεια by Myron Michailidis, Kathimerini, 05 March 2017 (in Greek):
  20. ^ See Michailidis's TEDxAcademy2014 Talk on YouTube (in Greek, with subtitles in English): TEDxAcademy 2014_Myron Michailidis - Artistic Director Greek National Opera_English Subtitles (uploaded by greek national opera on 15 October 2014).
  21. ^ See the Video on YouTube: Το βαλς των καραβιών /Waltz of the Boats /Greek National Opera Piraeus Port event / ΕΛΣ Λιμάνι (uploaded by greek national opera on 27 September 2013).
  22. ^ Greek National Opera - The Opera Bus travels the streets of Athens - European Music Day:
  23. ^ Greek National Opera - Children's Chorus:
  24. ^ Greek National Opera - Opera goes to school:
  25. ^ Greek National Opera - Season 2014/15:
  26. ^ Greek National Opera - Season 2014/15:
  27. ^ Greek National Opera - Season 2016/17:
  28. ^ Watch the Video on YouTube: Dance of the Cranes at the SNFCC site - Ο Χορός των Γερανών (uploaded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation)
  29. ^ Τι συμβαίνει στη Λυρική Σκηνή; (“What’s happening at the GNO?”) by Manolis G. Drettakis, Εφημερίδα των Συντακτών (, 06 February 2017 (in Greek):
  30. ^ On Theater Erfurt’s website:
  31. ^ Myron Michailidis, conductor – Operabase:
  32. ^ Presentation of the inaugural concert on the website of the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra ERT (in Greek):
  33. ^ YouTube video of the inaugural concert with Massenet's Le Cid (Suite de ballet) and Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien, with the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra ERT (CCCC, March 2019): «Εθνική Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα της ΕΡΤ στο Πολιτιστικό και Συνεδριακό Κέντρο Ηρακλείου Β ΜΕΡΟΣ», uploaded by kobot8 on 19 May 2019
  34. ^ NEWSROOM (9 December 2021). "Κυπριανός Κατσαρής: Εχθρός της μουσικής και του έρωτα η ρουτίνα (Kyprianos Katsaris: Routine is the enemy of music and love)". Neakriti.
  35. ^ NEWSROOM IEFIMERIDA.GR (19 November 2021). "Στην Κρήτη η πρεμιέρα του «Ιδομενέα» -Παγκόσμια «πρώτη» για τον Μύρωνα Μιχαηλίδη, η συνεργασία με το Grattacielo της Νέας Υόρκης". iefimerida.
  36. ^ "Reviews for Naxos recording of "Greek Classics" featuring works by 20th-Century Greek composers". More appealing is Minas Alexiadis's Phrygian Litany, a processional whose take on so-called "Holy Minimalism" is informed by no mean tonal and textural subtlety. Ably accompanied by the Thessaloniki orchestra and Myron Michailidis, this vividly recorded and well documented disc is Kerkezos's most intriguing yet.
  37. ^ "Reviews for Naxos recording of works by Ildebrando Pizzetti". Ildebrando Pizzetti was a refined, conservative composer who, besides operas, wrote much instrumental music as well. His Concerto dell’estate (1928), Three Symphonic Preludes to Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex (1904), the Prelude to Clitennestra (1964), Three Pieces for Orchestra: La Festa delle Panatenee (1936), all music worth hearing, are competently played by the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra under Myron Michailidis.
  38. ^ a b "Greek Music and Theater Critics Association Awards" (in Greek). "Avgi" Newspaper. 8 December 2009. Archived from the original on 13 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  39. ^ Review by the French National Radio (FIP, Radio France) (in French):
  40. ^ Review in Opera Lively by Luiz Gazzola, 5 December 2013:
  41. ^ Review in Piano Bleu by Agnès Jourdain (in French):
  42. ^ The GNO has finally released its first DVD: Faust by Charles Gounod :
  43. ^ On the site of the Society of Friends of the Greek National Opera (in Greek):βραβεία/vraveio-apollon-2016/

External linksEdit