RETURNMichalis Vourtsis

Michalis Vourtsis

Conductor, Composer
He was born in Nafplio on 11/12/1908. He learned to play the trumpet at the Nafplio Philharmonic Society and the guitar at the Mandolinata and was a member of the Nafplio choir. At sixteen he was appointed assistant conductor at the Philharmonic. In 1926 he voluntarily joined the Athens Garrison Military Band so as to continue his music studies. At the National Conservatory he studied music theory under Leonidas Zoras and Manolis Kalomiris and did voice training with Eleni Vlachopoulou. In 1933 he was appointed professor at the National Conservatory, at the same time taking on the directorship of the Orchestra and Chorus of the Manolis Kalomiris National Opera Club (part of the National Conservatory of Athens). In 1936 he directed the orchestra and chorus of the Elvira de Hidalgo opera company. In 1937 he founded the 35-member men’s National Choir of Greece, with which he performed numerous Greek and foreign works. In 1942 he was appointed orchestra and chorus director at the short-lived singing troupe of the Athens Theater (1942-43) of Kostis Bastias. As a chorus director he was a permanent collaborator of the Greek National Opera during the 35-year period of 1944-1979. He was the instructor of the Greek National Opera Chorus in about 100 operas and operettas performed in more than 400 productions and revivals. He contributed in many opera performances around Greece (Olympia Theater, Herodeion, Epidaurus). He also directed the GNO chorus in musical tributes and national anniversaries (1946, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1973) as well as in works of religious music: Saint Paul by Petridis (Athens Festival, 1975), Verdi’s Requiem (1950, 1967-68, 1968-69). In 1962 he was appointed director of the New Choir of Classical Music and honored with the Phoenix medal. As a composer he belongs to the Greek National School. His compositions include orchestral, vocal and choral works, including numerous harmonizations of Greek folk (demotic) songs.