This exhibition coincides with the centenary of his birth and presents original material (photographs, documents, manuscripts, awards, etc.) on his life and his milieu, material that illuminates his personality and allows us to better approach his work. The material is arranged chronologically and thematically and makes reference to his biography, his involvement with public music life, his collaborations with musical institutions, the reception of his music by critics and the public and, finally, to the recognition of his important contribution.
Yorgos Sicilianos attended theoretical music courses at the Hellenic Conservatory and at the Athens Conservatory. He continued his studies on composition at the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome under the composer Ildebrando Pizzetti, receiving a diploma in composition (1953). He used the dodecaphonic system for the first time with his Concerto for Orchestra, opus 12 (1954), whereas, after leaving Italy, he attended courses in composition as a listener at the Conservatoire National in Paris and in the USA (having obtained a Fulbright Program scholarship), at Harvard University, at the Tanglewood Institute Summer School and at the Juilliard School of New York. While in New York, Sicilianos was acquainted with Dimitri Mitropoulos, who premiered Sicilianos’ First Symphony, opus 14, at Carnegie Hall. His rise continued in later years.
His work, ranging from chamber music (sonatas, quartets, quintets, etc) to symphonic orchestra music (symphonies, concerts, etc) was recognised not only in Greece but also worldwide. He was awarded significant prizes in France, Italy, Austria and Belgium.
In parallel with his main work –composition – Sicilianos was passionately dedicated to raising the standards of music in this country. From his position as member of various institutions, he tried to improve musical education at conservatories, but also at schools; he fought to improve the conditions under which orchestras are operating; and most importantly he made an effort to establish a Music Academy, which still remains a desideratum.
The Yorgos Sisilianos Archive was granted to the Benaki Museum Historical Archives in 2013.