Michalis Economou, Director
Michalis Economou is one of the most promising conductors and composers of his generation, a significant figure of the Greek musical scene. He is former Music Director of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of the Orchestra of Colours, Chief Conductor of the Athens Municipality Symphony Orchestra, and has just signed a contract for the annual Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition winner’s gala in various countries. He is also the Chairman of the Music Department at Athens Technical University since 2004.
Maestro Economou possesses the natural talent of being equally well-versed and equally refined in various musical genres and repertoire from baroque to contemporary, classical symphonic, choral, opera, symphonic pop and film music with a special emphasis on new compositions. A regular conductor of all major Greek orchestras he has worked with many other symphony orchestras and ensembles in Europe, the United States and Asia, including the Athens State Orchestra, Athens Symphony Orchestra, Thessaloniki State Orchestra, Orchestra of Colors, Greek National Radio Sympony Orchestra, National Radio Orchestra of Contemporary Music, Camerata Orchestra of Megaron, Hellenic Contemporary Ensemble, Orchestra of Patras, Athens Municipality New Music Ensemble, Alea III Contemporary Ensemble of Boston, Boston University Symphony Orchestra, Boston University New Music Ensemble, Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, Festival Orchestra di Sofia, Batumi/Georgia Festival Orchestra, Radio Orchestra of Albania, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Győr Philharmonic Orchestra and the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.
As a composer, he is winner of eleven national and international competitions, including the ALEA III International Composition Competition and the Dimitris Mitropoulos International Composition Competition. His works have been performed all over the world and he has been commissioned to compose music for Carnegie Hall and among other venues for the Athens Megaron Hall.
Born in Greece in 1973, Michalis Economou’s extreme musical talent was discovered at an early age when he began studying music theory, composition and violin performance. His first public performance as a conductor was at the age of 15, performing his own composition for chamber orchestra and mixed choir. After graduating from the National Conservatory of Athens he broadened his studies in Musicology at the Athens University and moved to the United States in 1997. He received five prestigeous scholarships at the Boston University where he studied orchestral conducting and composition with Lukas Foss, Theodore Antoniou and David Hoose. Maestro Economou earned his Master of Music degree in conducting in 1999 and became Doctor of Musical Arts in composition in 2001. In the same year he was offered a position at the Athens Municipality Symhony Orchestra in Greece where today he holds the position of the Chief Conductor. He also attended conducting masterclasses at the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena with Maestro Gianluigi Gelmetti, and in Amsterdam with Maestro Jorma Panula.
He won the Music Directorship at the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011 for the maximum possible term (limited by local regulations) with the full support of the orchestra following a secret vote of the musicians. Michalis Economou has taken the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra to remarkable places since becoming Music Director. He conducted the orchestra in the United Nations General Assembly in New York, as well as at the 20th World Petroleum Congress. He led the first Day at the Philharmonic all-day festival, in which he conducted five programmes himself. During his tenure, the orchestra presented more than a dozen world premieres. Moreover, Maestro Economou conducted the Philharmonic’s first performances in the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) Theatre. In all, he has conducted the orchestra in more than 40 different programmes of music. Alongside the public performances, he has recorded with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, Khalife’s Return Symphony and several other works under the Naxos label.
Maestro Economou teaches orchestral conducting in Athens and has trained at least 50 young conductors since 2003. He is the founder and professor of the annual National Conducting Masterclass with the Athens Symphony Orchestra that attracts at least eighty young conductors per season. In May 2004 he became Chairman and Artistic Director of the Music Department at the National Technical University of Athens, a position that he holds to this day.
Maestro Economou has established himself as an outstanding figure of the musical scene wherever he was active, both in Athens, in Boston and in Doha (Qatar) by inspiring musicians and members of the local community to actively participate in the musical life of the city. In addition to the orchestral concerts he has launched different ensembles and choirs, organized free outdoor performances for general public, conducted family and kids’ concerts and held masterclasses in local music institutions.
He is also an active Artist of the recently founded organization EMMA for Peace (Euro Mediterranean Music Academy) under the honorary presidency of Riccardo Muti, founded by cultural entrepreneur Paolo Petrocelli.
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