Life and Works (in Greek)
Composer, pianist and conductor Nicolas Astrinidis was born in Akkerman (Bessarabia) in Romania on May 6, 1921. He began his musical studies (piano and theory) at a relatively young age, and in 1939 he enrolled in the Bucharest Conservatoire, simultaneously studying Chemistry at the city’s University.
The events of World War II forced his family to take refuge in the Middle East, where he enlisted in the Royal Greek Air Force as a volunteer and served on the Libyan front for two years. After been wounded and awarded a Medal for Outstanding Deeds, he was transferred in 1943 to Cairo, where he began his career giving 80 concerts for the Allied troops; he also won the First Prize, both as a composer and pianist of his Cypriot Rhapsody, in the Eisteddfod Festival in 1944, and he conducted his first major symphonic work, Oedipus Rex, at the Cairo Opera the following year.
In 1947, Astrinidis moved to Paris where he completed his formal musical studies at the Schola Cantorum, receiving Diplomas in Piano Virtuosity and Composition. From 1948 onwards he undertook numerous tours throughout the world, giving more than 2500 concerts either as a soloist, or in collaboration with other artists, such as the violinists Christian Ferras and Henryk Szeryng. He spent most of the period 1959-1962 in Martinique, in the French Antilles, where he co-directed and taught in the Conservatoire he and the violinist Colette Frantz had founded on a commission from the French Government; he also founded and conducted the Chamber Orchestra of the French Antilles.
In 1965 Astrinidis was appointed artistic and musical director of the Philharmonic and Mixed Choir of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, a position which he would hold until 1985. Since then, he made an outstanding contribution to the musical life of the city by presenting his major symphonic works in the Demetria festivals, by giving many first performances of important works (very often transcribed by himself), by inviting foreign artists of world repute for concerts concerts, and by playing a leading part in the efforts towards the creation of an Opera House in Thessaloniki. Beginning in 1970, he made many appearances in Romania and Bulgaria in his triple capacity. He was a member of the Artistic Board of the State Theatre of Northern Greece and he founded the Chamber Opera of Northern Greece. Since 1979 he conducts the Mandolinata of Thessaloniki and from 1980 he has been Director of the Macedonian Conservatoire. He was a member of the Union of Greek Composers (Athens), the Society of Authors, Composers, and Editors of Music (Paris), and the International Society of Contemporary Music (Paris), and he has been awarded the Golden Cross of the Order of George I.
Orchestra and chorus:
· Saint Demetrios (1962)
· Cyril and Methodios (1966)
· The Psalms (1968)
· “1821” Symphony (1971)
· To Christ in the Castle (1991)
· The Youth of Alexander the Great (1995)
Orchestra and solo instruments:
· Concert Variations (piano; 1955)
· Hellenic: Concerto-Rhapsody (violin; 1979)
· Oedipus Rex (1945)
· The Tower of Solitude (1950)
· The Masque of the Red Death (1951)
· Saint Demetrios (1953)
Chamber music (solo and piano):
· Caprice in Balkan Mode (violoncello; 1946)
· Two Pieces in Greek Style (violin; 1947)
· Hellenic: Concert-Rhapsody (violin; 1955)
· Sonata Concertante (violoncello; 1988)
Voice and piano:
· The Passion of Shiva (1948)
· Greek Nights (1983)
· Cypriot Rhapsody (1944)
· Greek Dance (1947)
· Two Preludes (1948)