The inspiration behind the creation of a major cultural centre was the great singer Alexandra Trianti, the founder of the Friends of Music Association. The Association commissioned designs for the Concert Hall from top Greek and foreign architects, and specialists in acoustics. The first help to finance construction of the building came from Dimitris Mitropoulos, who offered the proceeds of concerts by the New York Philharmonic, which he conducted in Athens.
In the 1970’s the plans were completed and work went ahead on the basic frame of the building. Mr. Lambros Eftaxias, President of the Dekozi-Vourou Foundation, provided the necessary financial support to fund the project.
In 1981, after a hiatus in the construction work, a new management agency was set up, in association this time with the Greek state, which provided generous subsidies to help complete the project. The new agency was to be known as the Athens Concert Hall Organization and since 1981 it has been run by representatives of the Friends of Music and of the Greek state.
In 1991 the Athens Concert Hall was officially opened by the then President of the Republic, Mr. K. Karamanlis. In the same year the Kamerata – the orchestra of the Friends of Music – was founded, and on 20 March the Friends of Music Hall was inaugurated with a concert featuring the violist Yuri Bashmet.
In 2003, in the presence of Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, the Concert Hall inaugurated its International Conference Centre. Together with the facilities already existing, this meant the Concert Hall now offered one of the most sophisticated multi-cultural centres of its kind anywhere in the world.
In 2004 the state-of-the-art Alexandra Trianti Hall was opened with a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, featuring soloist Leonidas Kavakos, while in the same year the first concert was held in the Nikos Skalkotas Hall – a recital by the renowned pianist Paul Badoura-Skoda. Also opened in the same year was the Atrium of the Muses, which forms a natural extension of the Concert Hall’s interior into its grounds.
Over the next few years new facilities were constructed to house the Lilian Voudouri Music Library, as well as new conference and multi-purpose venues, reception rooms, rehearsal rooms, exhibition spaces and a state-of-the-art three-level parking facility.
The grounds around and behind the Concert Hall were landscaped to provide a valuable green space in the heart of the city, a venue for a variety of educational, cultural and environmental activities. In 2010 the garden was the setting for a wonderful concert by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Riccardo Muti, for an audience of local people and visitors to Athens.
The Athens Concert Hall offers a comprehensive range of facilities for all sorts of cultural activities, designed to the very highest specifications and one of the most impressive venues of its kind anywhere in the world. It offers a forum for all sorts of cultural activities – both artistic and educational.