Christos Galileas
A citizen of the world, an artist of the world, Christos Galileas seeks to claim a place for the Thessaloniki Concert Hall on the global market

Christos Galileas

My violin is my voice

Text: Dimitra Kechagia | Photographs: Christos Galileas' Archive

He keeps his aspirations secret, “for good luck,” and always tries to see the bright side. The Artistic Director of the Thessaloniki Concert Hall was born in that same Greek city, in 1975. In the past few decades, he’s been splitting his time between Athens, New York and Atlanta — yet “I wouldn’t trade Thessaloniki for the world. It is my city. Family, friends, childhood, adolescence… My eyes glaze over every time I land in Thessaloniki. For an artist, New York is very special, filled with special moments and memories, while Atlanta played an important part in my education. I always associate Athens with major concerts that became landmarks in my path.”

He would have liked to live in Belle Époque Paris – late 19th-early 20th century, that is – or New York in the Interwar years, or even in the early ‘50s. Yet, that’s exactly where he found himself half a century later, an Alexandra Trianti Scholarship from the Athens Megaron in hand. He was accepted into the prominent Juilliard School of New York, landing in Dorothy DeLav and Naoko Tanaka’s class, where he received his Master’s in May 2001. Four years later, he’d earned his PhD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Today, Dr. Christos Galileas is an Associate Professor at the Music Department of Georgia State University in Atlanta, where he also serves as Head of Strings.

In a major career milestone, he collaborated with illustrious classical pianist Dimitris Sgouros, who he often shares the stage with, giving chamber music concerts across the world, to critical acclaim.

As a soloist, Christos Galileas has performed in over 30 countries – including Canada, Portugal, Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Latvia, Brazil, Argentina, Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Cyprus, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Uruguay, in some of the most renowned concert halls around the globe, such as Vienna’s Musikverein, Munich’s Gasteig, Prague’s Smetana Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Athens Megaron, the Thessaloniki Concert Hall and numerous others.

In summer 2002, he founded Hellenic Camerata, a chamber music orchestra with which he toured across the American continent – north, central and south – giving more than forty performances, which culminated in their concert at the iconic Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. – as well as releasing a CD album. From 2003, he has taken on the artistic direction of the Chamber Music Series at the Dimitria Festival of Thessaloniki.

You’ll often find him on the judging panels for international music competitions, while he’s taught seminars and masterclasses in various countries. Less than ideally, his stint at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall started in the midst of the pandemic but he’s jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of the extra downtime and better organize for the future, setting the foundations for a more extroverted way forward.

A citizen of the world, an artist of the world, he seeks to claim a place for the Thessaloniki Concert Hall on the global market. He plans to bring to his home city “important ensembles, great orchestras and major soloists, something we’ve been missing in recent years,” as well as open the institution up to fresh, alternative ideas and musicians.

Christos Galileas plays a Giuseppe Guarneri 1705 violin. “It’s my forever friend – my most loyal friend, who’s always there for me and understands me more than anyone. It’s my voice because it’s how I’ve learned to express myself.”