Spring Festival 2024

Apr 08, 2024 — Apr 20, 2024 • Category: Events

For the third consecutive year,  the Athens Concert Hall welcomes spring with its Spring Festival, which has been warmly embraced by the public. This year, it is to take place between April 8 and April 20, comprising a series of concerts and dance performances by acclaimed international artists.

The Festival opens on April 8 with a chamber music concert by the renowned Teatro alla Scala string quartet, in collaboration with the versatile Scottish pianist Alasdair Beatson. The audience will have a unique chance to enjoy César Franck’s stirring Piano Quintet in F Minor, one of the most romantic piano quintets ever to be written, as well as Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 4. Italian music could not fail to be represented through such pieces as Puccini’s soulful Chrysanthemums.

On the very next day, the program goes on with an organ recital by the celebrated Wilfried Bönig, professor at the Cologne Conservatory of Music since 1998 and organist of the city’s Cathedral since 2001. The German artist will present an inspired assortment of original works and transcriptions of compositions for the organ, including pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, Samuel Barber, Louis Vierne and Franz Liszt. The recital will culminate with an impressive improvization by Bönig himself.

After that, on April 12, 13 and 14, the Festival hosts the Last Work, a contemporary dance show by the influential Batsheva Ensemble. Choreographed by Ohad Naharin, this masterpiece talks about a dreamy past, a chaotic present and the desperation caused by an inscrutable future. It is set in an indefinite time in which beauty and tenderness are struggling to survive against power games, stressing compassion and consolation as the dancers’ bodies trace escape routes from a reality that becomes increasingly violent and meaningless. Features of particular interest are a dancer running on a treadmill from the beginning to the end, highlighting the Sisyphean nature of existence, as well as the quick profusion of brief solos and duets — individual moments that ratify the greater power of the group from which the dancers emerge and into which they are absorbed. Ultimately, the Last Work hovers between the hope of rebirth and abandonment to an abyss of oblivion, in a highly intense performance.

The next event takes place on April 16, when violinist Janine Jansen and pianist Dennis Kozhukhin, two gifted artists overflowing with vitality and musicality, will return to the Athens Concert Hall for a unique recital. In this highly anticipated appearance, they will focus on popular 19th-century works of German Romanticism written by three eminent composers: Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

The Spring Festival closes on April 20 with the distinguished Greek conductor Constantinos Carydis at the head of the renowned Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Made up of awarded musicians, it will interpret works by such composers as Beethoven, Shostakovich and Schnittke, taking the audience on a musical journey through time. Carydis has also included works by great Greek composers like Nikos Skalkottas, Iannis Xenakis and Periklis Koukos, whom the audience will have the pleasure of enjoying from the conductor’s own unique interpretive perspective. Other notable artists that collaborate for this unique performance include the virtuoso pianist Jan Lisiecki, the soloist violinists Steven Copes and Lucy Gould, and the cellist Will Conway.