A Brief History

KOK Foto 1994

The Cyprus Symphony Orchestra was established in 1987 as Cyprus State Chamber Orchestra by decision of the Council of Ministers at the same time as the Cyprus State Youth Orchestra.

At the beginning, it consisted only of strings and functioned on a semi-professional basis, rehearsing a few times a week and giving concerts around four times a year. The number of concerts increased gradually. Since there was no permanent conductor or artistic director, the Cyprus State Chamber Orchestra performed under various different guest conductors, in their majority Cypriots, including importantly Marios Papadopoulos and Kypros Hadjimarkou. Ara Voskanian served as assistant conductor and conducted all the regular rehearsals before each guest conductor would take over.

From the end of 1989, the programming and direction of the Cyprus State Chamber Orchestra and Youth Orchestra was assigned to Ayis Ioannides, who visited Cyprus regularly, with the exception of the artistic season 1991-92, in which the direction of both Cyprus State Orchestras was assigned to the American conductor Wayne Bennett. From around 1990 onwards, winds were gradually added to the orchestra which reached 35-members by 1994. In 1999 the Cyprus State Orchestra was finally upgraded to a full-time professional orchestra, whilst since 2007 it is under the management of the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra Foundation and renamed to Cyprus Symphony Orchestra.

The first Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the CySO was Ayis Ioannides, followed by Roland Melia, Maciej Zoltowski, Spiros Pisinos and Peter Kovacs as General and Artistic Director.