“Orfeia Armonia“, a worldwide unique music community, which is composed of 20 members and includes some of the most characteristic pieces played by musical instruments from different periods of the ancient Greek history.
“Orfeia Armonia“ is inextricably linked to the KAITH PAPAPOSTOLOU Charitable Love Foundation, as though the musical instruments’ collection is an integral part of the Papapostolou family, as well as of the foundation itself. The musical instruments are the exact copies of the original ancient instruments and are at the musicians’ disposal.
“Orfeia Armonia“ is supported by the KAITH PAPAPOSTOLOU Charitable Love Foundation.
Ancient Greek melodies, which travelled throughout centuries and came down to us unchanged, were presented to us today thanks to “Orfeia Armonia“. For the first time in the history of music, a music community plays some of the most characteristic pieces using respresentatives musical instruments from different periods of the ancient Greek history.
Lyres, guitars, pandoures, varvitoi, multi-stringed instruments, flutes, trumpets, percussions, recapture all the ancient sounds that time managed to preserve, are on display once more in collaboration with choristers, the entire ancient canticle.
The initial idea was to suggested by the emeritus late Professor of oncology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Mr. Vritsiou Aristoteles, who was also the President of the Institute of “Aristoteles”, as well as the musician of the State Opera of Thessaloniki, Mr. Dimitris Delfinopoulos. “Orfeia Armonia“first performed in the auditorium of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki at the beginning of the 1st International Conference of Engineering, bowling everyone over. Since then there have been dozens of concerts in different places, including archaeological sites all around Greece such as Dion at Macedonia (considered the most sacred city of the Macedonians), in Leivithra, which is situated at eastern Olympus, in the Ancient Agora of Thessaloniki and in many other places.
“Orfeia Armonia“ a globally unique music community is composed of musicians each of whom is specialized in different ancient musical instruments, imparting their special ancient tones and timbres. Each instrument is an exact replica of the original ancient instrument, either as preserved intact or as depicted in representations. Techniques on playing the musical instruments were learnt by the study of obscure writings, artistic visual depictions and the knowledge we draw from our Greek Tradition.
The pieces of music that are performed in concerts, have been preserved in the form of symbols based on the Greek Alphabet.After thorough research, many experts’ and music theorists’ transcriptions, they finally became decipherable and accessible to the current music notation, so that it enables us to present them to the general public by playing instruments from that time.
Today, all of these aspirations of a once thriving world, which flourished in all forms of art and music, a vision of all these wonderful pieces of music came to life through the eyes and mind of Aristotle Vritsios, president of the Aristotle Institute and a professor of oncology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and Dimitrios Delphinopoulos, a musician and renowned violinist of the State Orchestra of Thessaloniki, Greece.
The result of this vision was the inspiration to create from scratch, replicas of ancient Greek instruments which were to be comprised from various periods of ancient Greece. Musical instruments such as the Lyra, Guitar, Pandouris, Varvitos, Polychords, Avlos, Trumpet, Percussions were carefully reconstructed by musical instrument designers and manufacturers who had to make sure that the ensemble was to recreate the harmonious sounds which ancient Greek instruments once made when they were played, reviving a archaic sounds that time managed to save and highlighting with its chorus the ancient chant.
The musical ensemble first appeared at the ceremony hall of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki at the opening of the 1st World Congress of Engineering on May 1, 2007, leaving great impressions. Since then it has performed dozens of concerts and appearances in various halls and archaeological sites in Greece, such as Dion in Macedonia and Leithithra in the Eastern Olympus, the Ancient Market of Thessaloniki, Rotunda in Thessaloniki, as well as in museums such as the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum and the Benaki Museum of Athens. Concerts of the ensemble took place in music venues such as Thessaloniki Concert Hall, State Conservatory, Vafopouleio Cultural Center, “Alexandros” Hall and others..).
Significant are the collaborations of “ORPHEIA ARMONIA” with actors under their auspices, such as the Athens State Orchestra, the State Theater of Northern Greece, the State Orchestra of Thessaloniki, the Central Macedonia Region, the Municipality of Thessaloniki etc. The musical ensemble participated in the opening and during the circles of musical events (Greek Music Festivals, Underground Thessaloniki State Orchestra Festival etc) and World Congresses (ISME, medical conventions etc.)
ORPHEIA ARMONIA” participated in the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Thessaloniki (1912- 2012), as well as in concerts and appearances in music seminars and events of old and traditional music. In 2013 its fourth consecutive participation in the Festival of the Association of Permanent Employees of the State Orchestra of Thessaloniki
(“Underground”) the musical ensemble presented for the first time material from the tragedy “PERSAI” of Aeschylus, in a proposal to accompany ancient instruments in ancient drama. Remarkable and successful concerts of “ORPHEIA ARMONIA” were held in Rotunda of Thessaloniki in 2017 and at the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola in Naples, Italy, in the during the festivities of the LAMPADOFORIA 2018 events.
At the same time, other activities such as presentations in schools, recordings and the creation of television tributes and broadcasts are being developed. The musical ensemble’s program includes musical interpretations of known and unknown surviving musical extracts adapted to its orchestration and maintaining the rules and types of ancient Greek music.
At the same time, the ensemble frames with musical timbres/sounds recitations of ancient texts that are interpreted by actors, who are members of the ensemble. “ORPHEIA ARMONIA” consists of distinguished musicians, with special training in the techniques of ancient instruments, mainly the strings, and in the interpretation of the musical pieces. The orchestrations, the research, the musical compositions in the accompaniment of the recitations and the basic elements of music education were made by Dimitris Delphinopoulos. The valuable information of the late professor of the Department of Music Studies of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Dimitris Themelis, helped to find solutions to the expected difficulties and to open the way for further research, while the literary philosophy of philologist Elias Kourtesidis, founding member of the Aristotle Institute, defines the editing, translation and rendering of the ancient texts that are heard.
However, the contribution of Mr. Nikos Papapostolos, also a founding member of the Aristotle Institute and President of the Katie Papapostolou Public Benefit Foundation, who moves in the commercial and artistic field and to whom is due to the acquisition of the ancient musical instruments that belong to his personal collection.
Significant personalities of the artistic field have accepted this innovative effort, which is not limited to a simple revival of Ancient Music, but extends the artistic horizons for the creation of New Dimensional Music, with perspectives for new compositions and listenings from a new pole of musical thought, creation and philosophy. Indicatively, the late composer and Emeritus Professor of Musicology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Themelis Dimitris, states: “The Orchestra of Ancient Musical Instruments “Orfeia Armonia” has since its foundation to date a successful track with impressive performances and original interpretations of ancient Greek music, making known the few musical samples that survived in ancient Greek music notation. Its coefficients are worthy of congratulations.” At the same time, the composer, conductor and professor of Boston University, Mr. Antoniou Theodoros, points out: “I admire Dimitris Delfinopoulos and the Orchestra of Ancient Greek Instruments, of which he is the main animator along with a group of serious performers and researchers in the revival and performance of the ancient Greek instruments and excerpts of ancient Greek music. Their performances are distinguished by serious preparation and show the result of a serious research. I wish to continue this activity, which I consider very important for music and especially for Greek culture. The aim of all the people that constitute this musical ensemble is the original projection of such a limited, cognitive, huge chapter of the Greek Culture.”
One of the most important achievements of the Hellenic Civilization was its development of research in all fields of human activity, such as philosophy, the Arts and sciences. Research is one of the fundamental features of creating culture and is a result of will and perseverance. Under these conditions, a common connection between nature and research has been acknowledged, resulting in the creation of Music. In unifying all the above, the ancient Greeks ultimately managed to take their music to the highest scientific levels of that time and we, as their descendants, have all but to project it in to our modern lives and pass it on to next generations.
Orphea Harmonia music ensemble consists of musicians who each specialize in a specific ancient musical instrument, interpreting the existing musical excerpt. The instruments’ playing techniques derive from the study of ancient texts, artistic depictions and knowledge that the entire Greek tradition gives us. After thoroughly examining all the above and according to our opinion, we are led to the conclusions that illuminate sufficiently this very important cultural achievement that is called Ancient Greek Music.
Each instrument is a true reproduction of the original ancient one, whether it is from a saved or depicted one. The use of instruments immediately eliminates all theoretical boundaries, due to each theory on paper being applied musically, while at the same time giving way for new research and new proposals to develop. This also leads us in finding ways of vocal interpretation as well as taking us one step beyond the instrumental one.
The musical excerpts being played have survived in the form of symbols which derive from the Greek alphabet. The various studies and transcripts of expert scientists and music-theorists made them accessible to the current music notation so that we are able to present them with the instruments of that era. This ensemble, with the peculiar coexistence of so many different musical instruments from various eras and styles, requires the corresponding arrangement and orchestration. Observing the rules of ancient harmony, we proceed in this matter in new auditory suggestions.
The archaic-like compositions, along with some adapted salvaged ancient sounds, accompany the recitations of the actors. The timbre of the ensemble expresses the descriptions of texts recited and it helps solidify the right mood and atmosphere of the texts.
Ancient Greek Music played today never vanished to be found under ruins, on the contrary it remained in the lives of the people then and after. It continued to be played, gradually evolving within the Greek tradition. By presenting the saved musical passages and the proposals of the Orphea Harmonia and implementing instrumentation and the interpretation of the musical excerpts, unfolds another parameter: a philosophical view of the world and the people. The challenges humanity faces are not unachievable as long as a common belief is established and implemented amongst all that we can return to ideals defined by nature and virtue. Personal struggle, collaboration and cooperation, ethnic and cultural diversity and aesthetics for the environment are some examples of the new world that opens up through the artistic offering of an ensemble, with substantial information implicating action as a way of life.