HISTORY OF THE INTERNATIONAL PORTOHELI FESTIVAL
A) 1978: The first Masterclasses begin at the Manessis Estate. Young and talented musicians meet prestigious teachers from all over the world. Students and teachers organise musical evenings every day. The first guests are attending.
B) 1988: The gates of the Estate open to the public. The municipality contributes to the effort by providing wooden benches (!) and the concerts start! In the beginning there only a few concerts but as time goes by they steadily multiply.
C) 1990: A first series of cultural events are organised (concerts, conferences, seminars, Masterclasses) with the benediction of the local community. Thus the first edition of an International Cultural Festival materialises with Greeks Swiss French and Bulgarian people at its core.
D) 2010: Assessment of the Festivals’ 22 Year of Activity.
The Festival has contributed:
a) to the young talented musicians who were taught by great artists, and were provided with countless opportunities to perform in public.
b) to the residents of the city of Portoheli and to the numerous tourists have had the opportunity to enjoy all those events for free in a warm atmosphere of simplicity without “etiquette”.
c) Many concerts have been organised in the wider region especially in Kranidi and Hermione.
- · Artists of more than 20 nationalities have participated in the Festival as of today. They have mainly been from Europe but also from the U.S. Canada, South America and Asia.
- · More than 500 concerts , conferences , exhibitions and classes.
- · 75 different pianists
- · 25 violinists (soloists – not counting orchestras)
- · 12 violoncellists ( soloists )
- · 30 wind instrumentalists (soloists)
- · 40 singers ( soloists)
- · 20 guitarists
- · more than a 100 conference speakers
- · Orchestras, choirs, different musical ensembles, modern and folklore danses, classical chant, rembetiko nights, photography and painting exhibitions etc…
- · 8 different conductors from Greece, Russia and the United States.
In its 2010 edition the Festival hosted its first three theater plays!
As far as Greek participants go, the festival, the list of performers over the years is almost a who’s who of almost all important Greek musicians, conductors and personalities many of whom enjoy considerable success worldwide.
The foreign (non-Greek) participants include artists and ensembles of international pedigree such as:
- The composer, pianist and Dean of the Faculty of Instruments at National Academy of Bulgaria, Atanas Atanasov.
- The Belgian Pianist Evelyne Brancart, Professor at the University of Indiana at Bloomington who also enjoys a great career as a soloist.
- The Buccina Ensemble from Germany , a quintet of worldwide renown with four wind instruments and one percussionist.
- The Bulgarian Professor Dr Dimiter Christoff of the Sofia Academy and the New Bulgarian University, a genius conference speakers that has given lectures at more than a 100 Universities worldwide.
- The French violoncellist Alain Courmon recipient of the First Prize of the Paris Conservatory.
- The guitar player David Grimes, President of the American Guitar Foundation and Professor at Fullerton , University of California.
- The Band and Choir of the University of Indianapolis with its conductors Dr John Graulty and Dr Paul Krasnovsky
- Pianist and Professor Ivelina Ivantcheva, of the Musical Academy of Sofia.
- Pianist Dubravka Jovicic, Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of Belgrade.
- The late Austrian Conductor Miltiades Karidis
- Austrian flutist Michael Koffler, Professor at the Mozarteum Academy in duet with flutist Brigitte Koffler.
- Russian violinist Dmitri Kogan.
- Russian pianist Vladimir Korolev.
- Bulgarian violoncellist Anatoli Krassev Vice - Rector of the Bulgarian National Academy of Music.
- Swiss Violist Matthias Maurer , Professor at the University of Graz.
- Isabelle Petrosjan violinist, Professor at the University of Hamburg
- The Duo Ribarsky with Kiril Ribarski trombonist and pianist Milica Sperovic Ribarski both Professors at the Musical University of Skopje.
- The Professor and Vice-Rector of the Bulgarian National Academy of Music Dr Penzo Stoyanov.
- Dr Alexander Vorontsov, Conductor of the Togliatti Orchestra in Russia.
- Juri Vorontsov, saxophonist, Director of the Russian Ministry of Culture , who came twice to the festival with a Symphonic Orchestra.
- Israeli Professor Ouriel Zohar theatrologist of the University of Haiffa.
Among all the students that have come to the Festival over the years some are pursuing very successful careers outside of Greece. Three names especially stand out:
Tassis Christoyannis, baryton, who received in 2005 the Prize of “Lyrical Artist of the Year” in Germany and is constantly appearing in Europes’ most important Operas.
Loukia Spanaki , soprano, has won several international competitions (Sicily, Milan), and has appeared in Operas in Greece, Germany, Italy and Beijing.
Pianist and Professor Gregory Zambaras is a brilliant and renowned soloist who also teaches at the University of Tampa in the United States.