Eleni Papakyriakou comes from Thessaloniki, Greece. Her main studies of orchestra conducting were completed in 2015 at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (Mag. art.). Immediately after graduation she took up the chorus master’s post at Landestheater Niederbayern in Passau, Germany, where she conducts opera performances. She is also the chief conductor and artistic director of the Passau University Orchestra (from October 2016 until July 2019 and also since April 2022). In 2023 she is founding her own symphony orchestra, “Sinfonietta Passau”, which will celebrate its first concerts in March/April 2023.
In September 2020 she held an invitation - among 220 applications - for the international conducting competition La Maestra Paris, which took place in Philharmonie de Paris, with Paris Mozart Orchestra, and was live broadcasted on arte.tv. This led to a concert with Orchestre Pasdeloup in Philharmonie de Paris (Grande Salle Pierre Boulez) in December 2021. Other guest conducting commitments brought her to Vienna (Akademischer Orchesterverein Wien 2019-2020), Kassel (Orchestra of the Music Academy "Louis Spohr", lectureship summer semester 2022 and symphony concert in October 2022) and Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, school and family concerts in November-December 2022).
The work of the new conductor was highly acclaimed from the outset through numerous praiseworthy reviews, due to the outstanding performance of both ensembles in Passau, the opera chorus at the theatre and the university orchestra. From the beginning of her employment, the opera chorus has presented itself as a homogenous, flexible and powerful sounding ensemble in opera, musical and operetta. Likewise, the voluminous sound body of the Passau University Orchestra has been developed into a functioning, sovereign and ambitious unity that sets high targets with demanding programs. After Eleni Papakyriakou stood in at short notice for the conductor in March 2016, playing Mahler 1st Symphony, she took up some rehearsals and finally the chief conductor´s post. In always sold-out concerts, the orchestra performed great symphonic works, like, among others, P. I. Tchaikovsky 1st and 4th symphonies, N. Rimsky-Korsakov "Scheherazade", A. Bruckner "Nullte" symphony and H. Berlioz "Symphonie Fantastique". Renowned soloists played in the instrumental concerts, like, among others, Fil Liotis (F. Liszt 1st Piano Concerto) and Hanna Asieieva (J. Sibelius Violin Concerto). In July 2018 a world premiere took place.
Eleni Papakyriakou began the orchestral studies in 2007 in Greece with Myron Michailidis (GMD Theatre Erfurt) and Karolos Trikolidis (former chief conductor of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra). In 2010 she continued her studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna with the eminent professors Uroš Lajovic and Johannes Wildner, successors of the teaching tradition of Hans Swarowsky. In 2012/13 she took active part in regular courses with the famous conductors Bertrand de Billy and Fabio Luisi. As part of her Diploma Examination (June 2015), Eleni Papakyriakou debuted with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra in the Great Broadcasting Hall of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation. She wrote her own article in the program booklet about some historical, interpretative and insightful aspects of the "Unfinished" Symphony by F. Schubert.
While studying, Eleni Papakyriakou already took up the assistant conductor’s post at the Vienna International Opera Academy. She assisted in W. A. Mozart's "Così fan tutte" in 2014 and conducted some performances of J. Haydn's "La fedeltà premiata" in September 2015, for which she received enthusiastic reviews. On account of her high study performance, she was many times a scholarship holder, among others by the SYLFF Program of the Tokyo Foundation. Within the framework of the "SYLFF Chamber Music Seminars - Concert Excellence" she took over at short notice the conducting of an ensemble with students from New York, Paris and Vienna. The final concert was live broadcasted.
The Greek conductor was selected, after auditions, as active participant in important international master classes, among others in the "53. Weimar Master Classes" with Prof. Nicolás Pasquet. In many cases, the orchestra members chose her as one of the best participants, while she also conducted in the final concerts, for example in the "Young Conductors' Festival" in 2011 with The City of Thessaloniki Symphony Orchestra.
Before her conducting studies, Eleni Papakyriakou also graduated musicology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Dipl.). She achieved the 1st place in overall grade rating among thousands of candidates in the National Examination for University Entrance and received the scholarship for highest achievement from the State Scholarship Foundation of Greece. In the same time, she studied composition and holds Diplomas of piano, harmony, counterpoint, fugue and byzantine music. As an active member of the Thessaloniki Choir for many years, she performed in numerous opera productions, oratorios, choral and orchestral works. At the same time she led several choirs and conducted regular choir concerts, while she was also teaching in the music schools.
Eleni Papakyriakou is also very familiar with contemporary music; she has conducted several premieres of contemporary works. Her musicological interest led her to research on compositions by J. Brahms, F. Schubert and A. Bruckner.