Athenian Mandolinata

chamber ensemble


The "Athenian Mandolinata" is a music association with an important place in the Athenian music scene of the early 20th century. It was under the direction of Nicolaos Lavdas (1879-1940), who was conductor, composer, pedagogue and Phd in Natural Sciences at Athens University. Nicolaos Lavdas studied music at Athens Conservatory and privately under the guidance of D. Lavragkas.

In 1900, he formed an orchestra of 20 performers and its first concert was given at "Parnassus" Hall, on May 26th of the same year. The success of that concert led Lavdas to establish the "Athenian Mandolinata" association, and by 1991 it had already evolved into a complete Conservatory. It gave a number of honorific performances for the Olympic Games (1906), for King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (1906) and for Kaiser Wilhelm II at "Achillion", Corfu (1910). Furthermore, it played tours abroad (Cairo and Alexandria in 1907, Smyrna in 1908, New York in 1912).

The Mandolinata Contest in Cremona, in 2010, had an important effect on the formation of the orchestra. There, the orchestra took the first place among 32 similarly renowned orchestras that participated in the contest, winning the first 3 prizes of premium category, the Grand Prize and Gold Medal of the Queen Mother, while N. Lavdas was awarded the First Prize for Orchestra Conducting.

From this point onwards, the course of the orchestra, the conservatory and N. Lavdas himself had been upward until Lavdas' death and Greece's involvement in Second World War, which led to the dissolution of the orchestra.

In November 2010 at Cremona, under the aegis of the town's municipality and the province of Lombardy, an event was held for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Mandolinata competition and there was a special reference to the Athenian Mandolinata and its conductor and director.

Responsible for the entire organization was the internationally renowned soloist and Solisti Veneti fellow music partner, Ugo Orlandi. Orchestras that took part in the 1910 contest and still exist gave performances, while the Greek side was represented by Athens Quintet "Dimitrios Dounis".

This ensemble's members, with the support of "Parnassus" Literary Society, decided to reconstitute Athenian Mandolinata "Nicolaos Lavdas", looking forward to a historical continuity with the, dissolved in 1940, old "Athenian Mandolinata", a continuity which is reassured through its archive and repertoire.

The orchestra's goal is both the dissemination of the historical heritage of original works of Greek and foreign composers and the encouragement and promotion of contemporary creation.

It organizes mandolin seminars in collaboration with Ugo Orlandi, in order to familiarize its members with a broader repertoire of the instrument. Thereby giving an incentive for a systematic and complete study.

It has participated in "Antanaclasis" Festival at Gryparion Cultural Center of Mykonos, in "Sinfonia Piraeus" Festival at Piraeus Municipal Theater, and frequently performs as a residence orchestra at Literary Society "Parnassus" Hall.

In a recent cultural exchange with Orchestra di mandolini e chitarre "Citta di Brescia", under Claudio Mandonico's conducting, they recorded together an album entitled "Greek Rhapsody" (to be released), which has been a tribute to the "Athenian Mandolinata" and its conductor N. Lavdas, as well as to selected works of foreign composers with Greek themes.

In August 2015, the Athenian Mandolinata organised the 1st edition of the International Mandolin courses and festival in Syros, Greece, with the participation of the world acclaimed Italian mandolinist Ugo Orlandi. The 2nd ed. of the International Mandolin courses will take place in August 2016 (22nd - 29th).

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