top of page

PelionFestival's History

Since 2000, the "Pelion Music Festival" has been the heart of the cultural life in East Pelion, Central Greece. East Mount Pelion itself is indeed a beauty spot, steeped in history, surrounded by ancient forests overlooking  the blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Organised by the non-profit organisation, Polyrhythmia, with its artistic director Zoe Samsarelou (pianist), the festival has become well-known in Greece and abroad over the years. Since 2015 the cellist Dimitris Karagiannakidis has been serving as artistic codirector as well.

Originally the Festival was known as Musical Encounters, back in 2000 when it first started out in the small town of Zagora. Since 2008, the newly-named “International PelionFestival” with the sub-heading, “Arts and Discourse” has expanded its activities not only to the whole area of East Pelion but also to various cultural locations in Athens and the Mediterranean. Participants in the Festival come from various countries from all over the world such as Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Bulgaria, Poland, Russia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Brazil.

Main activities of the Festival:

1. Summer courses in classical music, concerts, performances, contemporary music, happenings, workshops in alternative methods of  body relaxation and breathing

Eminent musicians, from Greece and abroad teach on the courses as well as perform in solo concerts and in the various ensembles. Simultaneously, lectures, workshops, and concerts are organised. Contemporary music is really important in the festival and as a result musical pieces in a first world performance are presented. What is more, there are various happenings and performances in many villages that involve the participation of local children who perform through body movement to the accompaniment of masterpieces such as "Swan Lake" by P.I. Tchaikovsky, "Carnaval of the Animals" by C. Saint-Saens, and "Four seasons" by A. Vivaldi, to name but a few. Workshops in physical relaxation and breathing techniques such as Chi Gong, Alexander method and yoga practices are also offered to the participants on the courses.

Through the courses the festival seeks to promote:

  1. the collaboration of musicians around the world where there will be the opportunity for communication through music, an exchange of ideas and an exploration of new perspectives in interpretation and music education.

  2. the interpretative skills of young musicians and the musical works of young composers who, each year, present their compositions in a first world performance.

  3. cultural decentralisation over various neighbouring villages, (Zagora, Tsagarada, Kissos) in the whole area of mount Pelion in open-air theatre, village squares, church and school yards and which attract a great audience.

  4. the Ensembles in residence of Pelion Festival: because of the great enthusiasm and collaboration of the musicians generated by the festival, many ensembles have been created over the years by various musicians, some of which are:

  • String ensemble of PelionFestival under the artistic direction of Dimitris Semsis, first violin in the State Orchestra of Athens (2008-2013)

  • Chamber music ensembles under the artistic direction of Dimitris Gouzios, first violoncello in the State Orchestra of Athens (2008-2013)

  • Violoncello ensemble under the artistic direction of Ulrich Voss, Professor at the University of Music in Saarbrücken (2011-  )

  • Violoncello ensemble under the artistic direction of Matias de Oliveira Pinto, Professor at the University of Music in Münster and Berlin (2010, 2011)

  • String ensemble “Rotonda” under the artistic direction of Irina Dragneva, violin Professor at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki (2001-2007, 2015)

2. Lectures, workshops, documentary screenings  on the  history  of mount Pelion

Lectures on music such as: "Ancient Greek Music" by Dr Nikos Xanthoulis, "Expression in music" by Zoe Samsarelou, "Alexander Technique" by Andreas Kreymeier, etc.

Apart from the music and theatre events, the festival also aims to promote the local history of Mount Pelion by organising a series of lectures and discussion groups on subjects such as, "Pelion, a century prior to the Greek revolution-History", "Society and the Arts and Kitsos Makris - the man, the folklorist, the selector".

3. Exhibitions

Invited professors:

  • Ulrich Voss, (Germany), violoncello Professor at the University of Music Saarbrücken (2011- )

  • Matias de Oliveira Pinto (Germany- Brazil), violoncello Professor at the University of Music Münster (2010, 2011)

  • Helge Slaatto (Germany-Norway), violin Professor at the University of Music Münster (2011)

  • Daniel Gauthier (Canada-Germany), saxophone Professor at the University of Cologne (2016)

  • Ana Domančić Krstulović (Croatia), flute and chamber music Professor at the University of Split (2016-)

  • Roussi Dragnev, (Bulgaria) violoncello professor, (2001-2007)

  • Irina Dragneva,(Bulgaria) violin professor at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki (2001- 2007)

  • Bettina Marquardt,(Germany), viola player (2000)

  • Paris Anastasiadis, first viola player at the State Orchestra of Athens (2008, 2009)

  • Kostas Avgerinos, first trombone player at the State Orchestra of Athens (2008-2012)

  • Dimitris Gouzios, first violoncello player at the State Orchestra of Athens (2008-2013)

  • Sophia Kyanidou, (Greece, Austria), lyric singer (2013- )

  • Spyros Lambouras, first percussion player at the State Orchestra of Athens (2009)

  • Giorgos Mastrogiannopoulos, guitarist (2010)

  • Spyros Mourikis, first clarinet player at the State Orchestra of Athens (2008-2012)

  • Nikos Xanthoulis, trumpet professor at the Athens Conservatory (2009)

  • Dimitris Semsis, first violin player at the State Orchestra of Athens (2008-2012)

  • Vangelis Skouras, first horn player at the State Orchestra of Athens (2008-2011)

  • Dimitris Karakantas, violinist (2015)

  • Angelos Liakakis, cellist (2014-)

  • Vassilis Saitis, first violoncello player at the State Orchestra of Thessaloniki (2014-)

  • Themistoklis Vagenas, cello professor at the Conservatory of the Municipality of Volos (2011-)

  • Apollon Grammatikopoulos, first violinist of the second violins at the Athens State Orchestra (2014-)

  • Efi Papathomaidi, pianist (2008-2011)

  • Theofilos Sotiriadis, saxophonist, professor at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki (2010)

  • Giorgos Lygeridis, saxophonist, professor at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki (2016)

  • Eftychia Veniota, pianist (2016)


And for the piano accompaniment:

  • Anna Fedorova (Russia)

  • Risa Adachi, (Japan)

  • Henrike von Heimburg, (Germany)

  • Victoria Kiazimi

  • Apostolia Anastasiou

  • Evaggelia Argyropoulou

  • Niki Papageroudi



Regarded as an event of special importance for Mount Pelion, the Festival is attended every year by an enthusiastic crowd   along with a great deal of musicians and artists who come together to produce a quality of music that is both highly professional and inspirational. It is indeed a celebration of Art and Music.


Pelion Festival has developed a wide range of cooperations with many Cultural Institutions in Greece and abroad such as:

  • the Municipality of Zagora-Mouresi

  • the Public Library of Zagora

  • the Church of Agia Marina in Kissos

  • the Conservatory of Music in Athens

  • the Michalis Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens

  • the Archaeological Museum in Thessaloniki

  • the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki

  • the Conservatory of Music in Volos

  • the University of Thessalia, Department of Architecture

  • the Kitsos Makris folkloric center

  • the Association “Echanges Culturels en Méditerranée”, Marseille

  • the Festival “Figures Sonores” in Alger

  • the Festival «La via dei concerti» in Italy,

  • the Horton Cultural Foundation etc.

  • the Xotaris Art Forum (Archanes, Crete)

bottom of page