The Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra is one of the major cultural organizations in Greece and the most historic symphonic ensemble in Northern Greece. It was founded in 1959, by the Greek-Cypriot composer Solon Michaelides and it currently comprises 118 musicians.
The TSSO honors its role as a public organization by creating music at the highest caliber in an accessible way, and with a range of activities which include collaborations with highly acclaimed Greek and international artists, the dissemination of Greek musical works, the fostering of talented young Greek artists, as well as a variety of educational and social projects.
When it comes to international discographic prowess, the TSSO is the most notable symphonic ensemble in the country, as it records regularly under world leading recording labels, such as EMI, BIS, and NAXOS.
The TSSO΄s recordings have gained recognition through various international prizes and laudatory reviews, pronouncing the orchestra an ambassador of Greek culture and Greek musical heritage abroad. International musical collaborations of the TSSO abroad have included successful concerts in Berlin, Munich, Beijing, Prague, Valencia, Florence, Pistoia, Marseille, Strasbourg, Clermont-Ferrand, Nicosia et al., while the list of international artists that have collaborated with the Orchestra features names such as L. Pavarotti, P. Domingo, J. Carreras, A. Khatchaturian, M. Rostropovich, V. Ashkenazy, M. Shostakovich, A. Ciccolini, I. Pogorelich, L. Kogan, S. Accardo, G. Shaham, P. Badura-Skoda, N. Gutman, M. Maisky, I. Gillan, J. Anderson, T. Hampson, M. Alvarez, P. Gallois, Ο. Dimitriades, L. Kavakos, C. Katsaris, E. Karaindrou e.a.
Following TSSO’s founder and first Director, Solon Michaelides, a succession of eminent greek musicians have served as Directors: Giorgos Thymis, Alkis Baltas, Karolos Trikolidis, Kosmas Galileas, Konstantinos Patsalides, Leonidas Kavakos, Mikis Michaelides, Myron Michailidis, Alexandre Myrat, Giorgos Vranos, and Zoi Tsokanou. Τhe current director of the TSSO is Simos Papanas.