The Philharmonic Society of Corfu
The Philharmonic Society of Corfu, known among Corfiots as “The Old Philharmonic”, was established at September 1840 by some of the most prominent Corfiots of the time. Its establishment was in league with the general wave in establishing such kind of institutions which flourished in the middle of the 19th century in Europe, a fact which was well known among the Corfiots who have studied abroad.
The reason for creating such an establishment, was the react to the decision of the English administration (Corfu, as well as the other Ionian islands were under English occupation from 1812 until 1864) to prohibit the English militaty band to take part in the St. Spyridon’s processions. During the 163 years of its existence, the Philharmonic played an important role in the art and culture affairs of the island.
The institution was lucky enough to have in its dynamic a great Greek composer, Nicolaos Chalikiopoulos Mantzaros. He dedicated his life to the Philarmonic until his death in 1872, teaching the youth of Corfu the fine art of music for free. Also, the band played the greek national hymn, as well as the Olympic one at the first modern Summer Olympics which took place in Athens in 1896.
Today, the institution contains a 150-people band, a 90-people youth band, a jazz band and a small symphonic orchestra. The band itself have given concerts in many places around the world, such as New York, Moscow, Copenhagen, Belgrade, Cyprus, Italy, England and in many places in Greece, like the Athens and Salonica concert halls.