One of the most talanted young conductors in Europe

From Thessaloniki to Vienna as the artistic director of the Orpheus Kammerorchester Wien. Please, share this journey experience with us.

It’s been a long, yet fantastic journey. I took my first steps in music at the Conservatory in Thessaloniki, studying piano and advanced music theory. Later, I was accepted by the University of Macedonia and received my piano degree from the Department of Music Science and Art (class D. Evnouhidou). Since my early age, I wished to become an orchestra conductor. I was given the opportunity by Giorgos Vayianos, conductor at the State Opera of Thessaloniki, next to whom I took my first steps. At the same time, I received a scholarship by the Academy of Athens to follow orchestral conducting classes abroad and I relocated to Vienna as a student of Uros Lajovic (student of H. Swarovsky) and graduated in 2012, conducting the ORF Orchestra in Musikverein. I had already decided to create my own chamber orchestra, to bring together Greek musicianis living in Vienna. This orchestra has been growing ever since (we currently have 30 members) having performed in important halls in Vienna (Musikverein, Stephansdom, Ehrbarsaal) and I hope that it will continue growing. Apart from my activities with Orpheus, I also make appearances as guest conductor with several orchestras in the world (Poland, England, France, Croatia, USA, Taiwan) and my journey continues as beautifully as it started.

You have studied next to major conductors. Who was the most influential?

It would be really unfair to make distinctions. I have learned so far to hold on to the positive experiences I had with everyone and each of them. A teacher can influence your theory about the world only with a saying or gesture. I believe that no conductor is a perfect copy of his teacher. One adopts several things and at the end he builds his own musical personality, his technique and general entity. This process takes several years to be complete. The conductor is like a good red wine maturing over time.

Except from classical works, your repertoire also includes works of the Greek music tradition. What’s the reaction of the public abroad?

The reaction is always positive. I select works that escape the model of Greek music familiar to the listener outside of Greece, and I mainly promote composers of our National School and awarded Greek poets. The difference of metre and tonal-modal frame of this music is always pleasantly accepted pleasantly by the European listener.

Why Greeks in your field choose to follow a career abroad? Do you believe that the Greek public does not engage with classical music or that the infrastructure is not efficient?

To sound realistic, neither the Greek public does engage with classical music nor does the efficient infrastructure exist. Both facts have created a black hole of interaction during the latest years.

Do you keep in touch with your peers in Greece? How do they cope with the crisis difficulties?

Of course I keep in touch with them. Sadly, the circumstances are quite difficult. As you may well know, several orchestras do no longer exist due to the lack of financing. Actually all my fellow musicians are looking for work opportunities abroad, as domestic productions are few.

Our country has a rich musical heritage. How easy is it to include it in your programme?

It’s very easy when it’s done properly. The setup of a concert programme defines the success.

How do they see an orchestra of Greek musicians in Vienna and in the countries you have made appearances? Was there any negative attitude towards you?

No, there was never any negative attitude. On the contrary, the attitude has always been positive. We are a newly founded orchestra and we make an effort to be established among the demanding audience of Vienna. It takes time and consistency. I want to believe that we are on the right track.

Which is your career’s top moment?

The moment that has not yet come. For the time being, I enjoy the journey and I hope that it will always be as magical as it is now.

In 2012, the London Symphonic Orchesta listed you among the 20 most talented conductors in Europe (Donatella Flick Competition). What does this honour mean to you?

This honour was really a very important distinction. I had the opportunity to come closer and introduce myself to young conductors from all over Europe and being evaluated by renowned professionals in my field. Undoubtedly, it was a life changing experience, offering me the momentum I needed to start my dream career after having finished my studies.

As a rising conductor in an extensively competitive environment, what is your personal ambition?

My greatest ambition is to stay healthy and make great music.

Please share your thoughts about our country’s crisis with us. Do you see any way out?

I left Greece in 2007, when the crisis had not yet affected our country, but it had shown warning signals. I experienced the daily Austrian tabloids referring to Greeks with disdain, doubt and criticism.
I don’t know whether there is any clear way out from the crisis that the Greek people are currently experiencing. But I’m afraid that a whole generation has been led as another Ifigeneia to the sacrifice altar, for the sake of others to be able to live with dignity. Greeks have undergone a lot of pain and suffering and that’s the only truth. The facts of our youth have started to collapse. The target is the future. Unfortunately, I realize that few things have changed. The methods and practices of the past that led us to the current situation are still implemented today. This has got to stop. I really want to believe that the new generations will lead the way to a better future, free from prejudice.

What does Greece mean to you?

Greece is the feeling I get when the plane is descending and turns to the direction of Thessaloniki and I look towards the endless blue of the Aegean Sea.


One of the most talanted young conductors in Europe

Konstantinos Diminakis was chosen by the London Symphony Orchestra as one of the most talented young conductors of Europe for 2012.

He attended master classes with international conductors including Zubin Mehta, Sir Simon Rattle, Collin Metters, Daniel Harding, Bertrand de Billy, Ralf Weikert, Mark Stringer and Peter Gulke. In July 2014 he is assistant conductor in Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’ in Klosterneuburg Opera in Austria and in August 2014 he is conducting a brand new production of ‘The marriage of Figaro’ in Opera de Baugé, in France. In November 2013 he had his Greek debut conducting Rossini’s ‚La Cenerentola’ in the National Opera of Greece..

As assistant of Dejan Savic, George Vagianos and Ingomar Rainer, he had the opportunity to work at the State Opera of Thessaloniki and the Palace Theater Schönbrunn in Vienna.

In September 2009 Konstantinos Diminakis won the second prize in the «2nd International Competition of Orchestra Conducting» in Weiz, Austria. In November 2010, he was accepted in the «Dimitris Mitropoulos» competition (among the 16 finalists). In  January 2013 he reached the 4th place for the Junior Fellowship for Conductors in the Royal Northern College of Music of Manchester. In September 2013 he won (after orchestra’s musicians voting) the first prize in M.Economou’s masterclass with the City of Athens Orchestra.

The Greek conductor Konstantinos Diminakis was born in 1984 in Thessaloniki-Macedonia, and studied music theory and piano at the Conservatory in Thessaloniki and at the University of Macedonia – Department of Music Science and Art (class D. Evnouhidou). In June 2007 he moved to Vienna as a student of Uros Lajovic (orchestral conducting), Erwin Ortner (choral conducting) and Konrand Leitner (piano accompaniment) at the Vienna University for Music and Performing Arts with the help of a four-year scholarship from the Academy of Athens. In 2012 he received his Master’s Degree conducting the ORF Orchestra in Musikverein, B.Bartok’s ‘The miraculous Mandarin’.

He has conducted among others the RSO ORF Vienna, the Rzeszow Orchestra – Poland, the Greek National Opera Orchestra, the RNCM Orchestra of Manchester, the Guildhall School of Music Orchestra, the «Vienna Chamber Orchestra», the «Chamber Orchestra Graz,» the orchestra of Ploesti-Romania, the» Orchestra of Colors» and City Orchestra of Athens and the City Orchestra of Thessaloniki.

Since 2011 he is the artistic director of the «Orpheus Chamber Orchestra» in Vienna.