NEW YORK – On October 10, the Athens Philharmonic and its Artistic and Music Director Yiannis Hadjiloizou made their Carnegie Hall debut in a concert which included Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection on the same stage where Mahler himself conducted his final concert. Presented by Mrs. Katerina Panagopoulos, the concert was dedicated to her late husband Pericles Panagopoulos and proceeds from the concert are benefiting St. Nicholas Church and Shrine.
From sorrowful funeral rites to majestic fanfares, luscious orchestral melodies to divine choral prayers, offstage sound effects to an iconic alto solo, Mahler’s symphony is scored to extremes and offered the Philharmonic the opportunity to showcase the talents of its musicians along with the impressive skill of the New York Choral Society with Music Director David Hayes, as well as Greek-American mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas, and soprano Larisa Martinez.
The program opened with Michael Hadjiloizou's (father of the conductor) Interlude from the opera 9th of July 1821, followed by the conductor’s own Cyprus Dance No.1, Servikos.
Michael Hadjiloizou was among those present at the concert and received recognition from his son and the enthusiastic applause of the audience at the conclusion of the expressive opening piece which was beautifully played.
Yiannis Hadjiloizou’s Cyprus Dance is a delightful piece inspired by the composer’s roots in Cyprus and its rich musical tradition. The musicians displayed once again in this piece their gifts.
Mahler’s Resurrection is a challenging piece to say the least, offering dramatic as well as lyrical, evocative moments highlighting layers of meaning.
Maestro Hadjiloizou told The National Herald about how the pieces were chosen in a pre-concert interview, “Ambassador Katerina Nafplioti Panagopoulos plays a significant role in our journey, as a modern day benefactor. Her own life and personality have earned her the respect of the international community. Her charisma and sensitivity made her a patron of the Athens Philharmonic. Her love and dedication to her husband and his legacy, is what determined the nature of the repertoire of this special program. Pericles Panagopoulos considered the docking of his ‘Royal Odyssey’ in New York City to be the highest note in his journey throughout the seas. St. Nicholas - patron saint of seamen, Elpidophoros - the bringer of a new hope, and Ms. Panagopoulos - an ideal Greek citizen of the world, and my perception of Resurrection made Mahler’s work my only choice. Coming to Manhattan to discuss details with Carnegie Hall and my representatives, and as they learned more about me, I was advised to include works by father and myself in the program. My father’s opera/melodrama is the most widely performed work of lyrical repertoire in Cyprus, and the ballet from it imagined to be a great opener, both in terms of chronological order and suitability. My own Servikos is a traditional Cyprus dance, and an orchestral showpiece, in similar style of the dances of Brahms and Dvorak. It is also the most widely performed work of orchestral repertoire in Cyprus. These two works show the place of Cyprus in the history of Classical Music, and serve as a good opening for Mahler’s immortal work.”
Also present at the concert were His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios formerly of America, the Permanent Representatives of Greece and Cyprus to the UN, Ambassadors Maria Theofili and Andreas D. Mavroyiannis, respectively, Consul General of Cyprus in New York Alexis Phedonos-Vadet, Michael Psaros, the Hon. B. Theodore Bozonelis, Stefanos Cherpelis, Marios Frangoulis, Dr. Miranda Kofinas, Nektarios Antoniou, and President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies Cleanthis Meimaroglou, among many members of the community.
Joshua Bell, the renowned violinist and also husband of soprano Larisa Martinez, also attended the concert and the post-show private dinner which was held across the street from Carnegie Hall at Trattoria Dell’Arte.