Lukas Karytinos, photo by Maria Grammatikou

Lukas Karytinos

Lukas Karytinos is the Artistic Director of the Athens State Orchestra since October 2020.

He was born in Athens and studied Music and Law at the Athens Conservatory and the University of Athens respectively. From 1976 to 1981, he continued his studies with a specialization in orchestral conducting at the University of the Arts in West Berlin under Herbert Allendorf, while simultaneously attending conducting seminars at the Mozarteum University Salzburg led by Otmar Suitner and Walter Weller.

From 1981 to 1985, he worked in Germany (Koblenz, Cologne, Berlin). During his time in Berlin, he served as artistic director of the "Piccolo Teatro Berolino". In 1985, he was appointed a regular conductor at the Greek National Opera (GNO), whose Music Director he became in 1992. From 1999 until 2005, he served as Artistic Director of the same institution.

The GNO's repertoire expanded significantly during his tenure. A total of 17 new operas and 4 operettas were added, covering repertoire from the Baroque, which he cultivated systematically (Orlando Furioso by Vivaldi, Alcina by Handel), through to the 20th century (Le Grand Macabre by Ligeti, Peter Grimes by Britten). He also continued and expanded the practice of co-productions/partnerships with theatres abroad, and started touring both in Greece and internationally. In parallel, in 2000/01, both the New Stage and the Children's Stage began staging productions at the Acropol Theatre, with a respective focus on Greek operettas and operas for children. Performances of opera for children were also introduced at the Herodeion in that same season. The Experimental Stage was inaugurated in 2003/4, and the Greek National Opera Higher Ballet School was founded in 2004/05. Throughout his tenure, he strove to convince the Greek State of the necessity of providing the Opera with new premises.

Lukas Karytinos has conducted every major orchestra in Greece on multiple occasions and performed at the festivals of Athens & Epidaurus, the Arena di Verona, the Caracalla in Rome, the Festival Puccini Torre del Lago, the Kulturforum Witten in Germany, Las Palmas, Antibes et al. He has collaborated as a conductor with symphony orchestras including the London Philharmonia, RSO-Berlin, Suisse Romande, WDR, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Philomusica Oxford, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice and the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as with opera houses including the German Opera of Berlin, the Gran Teatre del Lice in Barcelona, the Teatro Ariaga Bilbao, and the operas of Cologne, Monte Carlo, Detroit, Rome, Catania, Cagliari, Modena, Livorno, Pisa, Bern, Salzburg et al. 

He has worked with directors including P.L. Pizzi, G. Vick, G.C. del Monaco and H. De Ana, and collaborated with artists including G. Dimitrova, R. Bruson, M. Devia, J. Cura, D. Voigt, M. Guleghina, A.R. Antonacci, A. Rachvelishvili, L. Oropesa, K. Opolais, J. Starker and V. Tretjakov. Outside Greece, he has conducted in most of Europe as well as in Korea, the US, Australia, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere.

He has recorded for BMG, WEA, CBS, ETERNA and DYNAMIC. In addition to his vast symphonic repertoire, he also conducts over 70 operas. He has also conducted the world premières of three operas by Mikis Theodorakis: K. Karyotakis with the Greek National Opera directed by Sp. Evangelatou, Medea with the Bilbao opera, and Antigone an Athens Megaron Concert Hall production. He collaborated with M. Karydis on the Greek première of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito [The clemency of Titus), and conducted the Greek premières of Verdi's Il corsaro [The Corsair], Janáček's Jenůfa, and Massenet's Manon. The international critics count him among the finest interpreters of Italian opera.

The City of Athens awarded him its Gold Medal of Honour in 1989 for his "exceptional service" in the field of music. In 2001, he was awarded the "Dimitris Mitropoulos" prize by the Third Program of Greek state radio. In 2006, he was appointed by the P. Mascagni Foundation, which is based in Livorno, the composer's birthplace, to take charge of raising the profile of his oeuvre. His efforts culminated in a hugely successful grand tour with performances of Mascagni's opera Iris throughout Italy. The President of the Italian Republic bestowed on him the title of “Commendatore dell 'Ordine della Solidarieta' Italiana” for his contributions to promoting the work of P. Mascagni and to Italian opera in general around the world.

In 2008, the Union of Greek Theatre and Music Critics awarded him its Great Music Award for his performances of La Traviata with the Thessaloniki Opera and Turandot with the Greek National Opera at the Herodeion as part of the Greek Festival , as well as for his overall contributions to opera. In 2010, the Society of Friends of the Greek National Opera awarded him its Apollo prize for his contributions to the GNO. In 2016, the Academy of Athens awarded him the Spyros Motsenigos Prize (for Music). In May 27, 2024, Lukas Karytinos was nominated Doctor Honoris Causa by the Department of Music Studies of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Today, in addition to his musical activities, Lukas Karytinos is the Director of the Athens State Orchestra and teaches Conducting at the Athens Conservatory.