To: Mr Dimitris Papadimitriou
(former?) General Manager of ERT Radio

Attention: Mrs Eleni Papoutsaki
(former?) Director of the ERT Musical Ensembles

To the Musicians, Choristers and all other employees of the ERT Musical Ensembles department

 Dear friends,

It is with great sadness that I witness the events regarding ERT and primarily, those affecting the Musical Ensembles, a department I had the honour of serving as a General Director in the past.

During my long career as a composer as well as a conductor, and mainly, as General Director of the ERT Musical Ensembles, I know from first-hand experience that the contribution of these ensembles to the cultural and music life of this country is truly priceless.

 

The Symphony Orchestra of ERT has been operating since 1938, and has undertaken the task of familiarising the Greek public with the everlasting works of Music, composed by Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Bach and so many others, as well as with modern symphonic music, both foreign and Greek.

The Contemporary Music Orchestra of ERT has been operating since 1954 and covers the entire range of Music, not just symphonic, from jazz to movie soundtracks, from modern ‘contemporary’ music to setting the works of great Greek poets to music.

The Choir of ERT, sometimes supporting tirelessly the two Orchestras during concerts and at other times on its own, performing orchestral Greek and foreign works, has proudly been ERT’s third Musical Ensemble.

Only a few days ago was the 19th anniversary of Manos Hatzidakis’s death. And instead of honouring his memory, we are shutting down the choir that he founded in 1977!

I can’t help but remember the countless concerts held by the ERT Musical Ensembles abroad for Greek expatriates as well as foreign audiences, who through the ERT Orchestras and Choir became acquainted with modern Greek creativity, coming to understand that Greece it not just ancient Greece; that its presence is continuous everywhere, especially when it comes to Culture. So, how can one fit the work of so many people, people who gave and continue to give their lives and souls for so many decades, in just a few lines?

And how can I even imagine that at the age of 88, I would have to voice my support and try to explain something that is self-evident; namely the reason why Art, and especially Music, are so important for the existence of a Nation… The black on our televisions, which threatens to cover Musicians, Choristers and all Employees of the Musical Ensembles of ERT –who are now facing the risk of being thrown out onto the street, just like damaged goods– reveals the magnitude of our intellectual and national darkness. My only hope is the fact that this case is now in the hands of Greek Justice, which I have no doubt that will come to a JUST decision. You have all my support and all my prayers.

Athens, 20 June 2013

Mikis Theodorakis