Myron Michailidis is a Greek conductor, since 2018 General Music Director of both the Erfurt Opera & the Philharmonic Orhestra of Erfurt in Germany. He is regarded today as one of the most important Greek conductors.
Previously, between 2011 and 2017, Michailidis held the position of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Greek National Opera (GNO) in, Greece. 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.
Myron Michailidis was born in Heraklion, on the island of Crete in Greece. He studied piano with Dimitri 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.
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, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, as well as of the operas of Verdi, Puccini, Gounod and Wagner.
Michailidis has conducted the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Erfurt, the Braunschweig State Orchestra, 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 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, Paul Badura-Skoda, Cyprien Katsaris, Ivo Pogorelić, Lars Vogt, Fazil Say, Barry Douglas, Martino Tirimo, Dimitris Sgouros, Salvatore Accardo, Vadim Repin, Shlomo Mintz, Mischa Maisky, Theodore Kerkezos, June Anderson, Cheryl Studer, Paata Burchuladze and several others.
Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra
During his tenure as Artistic Director of the TSSO between 2004 and 2011, Myron Michailidis radically renewed the orchestra's programming and penetrated the international discography (see below). He also conducted numerous concerts at the Orchestra's residence, the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, and took it to various venues in Greece and abroad (Smetana Hall and Rudolfinum in Prague (2009), Teatro Verdi in Florence (2009), 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
In 2011, Myron Michailidis was appointed Artistic Director of the Greek National Opera (GNO) in Athens. Over his 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.
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 famous TEDxAcademy 2014 talk), 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 (in the port of Piraeus for a «waltz of the ferry boats», in Athens International Airport, in metro stations, in the popular Varvakeio central market, in front of the Athens National Archaeological Museum or of the New Acropolis Museum, etc.). Other initiatives included the programs “Suitcase Opera” (operas in miniature form performed in Greek peripheral cities) and “Opera Bus”, the establishment of a GNO Children’s Chorus (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. 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. He also deepened and extended GNO's relations with other European theaters as a member of the European Forum of Lyrical Theaters, Opera Europa.
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.
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, who was engaged by Michailidis as composer in residence. He also conducted GNO Orchestra & Choir in two novel productions of Richard Wagner's Operas: Tristan und Isolde (2015, staged by Yiannis Kokkos) and Lohengrin (2017, staged by Anthony McDonald), which were both heard for the first time in Greek history, in their integral, original and scenic versions.
One of Michailidis most successful long-term achievement was 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 “danced” to the music of Gustav Holst's The Planets, with Renato Zanella's unique choreography.
Erfurt Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra
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 General Music Director ("Generalmusikdirektor").
For his 2018/19 season debut, Michailidis conducted a new production of Bizet'sCarmen 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 rest of the season, he will conduct Lehár's Die Lustige Witwe and Verdi's Aida, as well as a series of symphonic concerts, including Debussy's Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Dutilleux's Tout un monde lointain..., Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony («Pathétique»), Rachmaninoff's 2nd symphony, Rimsky-Korsakov's «Scheherazade», Mahler's 2nd Symphony («Resurrection»), a cycle Mozart, and works of Nielsen, Prokofiev and Casella. Michailidis conducts 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.
Michailidis has recorded for EMI Classics and repeatedly for Naxos, as well as for numerous Greek labels and for the Greek National Radio:
In 2007, his first recording for Naxos «Greek Classics - Impressions For Saxophone And Orchestra», featuring works by Greek composers such as Mikis Theodorakis, Nikos Skalkottas, Theodore Antoniou, Manos Hadjidakis, Minas Alexiadis and Vassilis Tenidis, and interpreted by the saxophone virtuoso Theodore Kerkezos and the TSSO orchestra conducted by Michailidis, received the Supersonic Award by the magazine «Pizzicato Classics» in Luxembourg and was recommended by Naxos for two Grammy awards
In 2009, his recording of works of the important Italian composer Ildebrando Pizzetti for Naxos (some of them being World Premiere Recordings) received several distinctions (HonorableAward from the Greek Critics Association for Music and Theater in December 2009) and many very positive reviews in the international press, including Five Diapasons from the French magazine «Diapason».
Notably, in 2012, his recording for EMI Classics of Beethoven's piano concertos Nos 3 & 4 with the TSSO and the legendary French pianist Aldo Ciccolini received international acclaim.
In 2015, Michailidis released the first DVD ever produced by the Greek National Opera, Gounod'sFaust, 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.
In 2009, Myron Michailidis received the Honorable Award from the Greek Critics Association for Music and Theater.
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.
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.