George Petrou turned to conducting after following a successful career as a concert pianist. His conducting activities encompass a very wide repertoire, with emphasis at the historically informed interpretations and the opera.
Highlights of his coming engagements include a tour of Handel's "Alessandro" in venues such as the Conzertgebouw Amsterdam, Theater an der Wien, Salle Pleyel, Athens Megaron, a new production of Rossini's "Cenerentola" at the Greek National Opera, a new production of Handel's "Semele" in Opera Nice, a co-production of La Monnaie and B' Rock orchestra of Purcell's "King Arthur", Mayr's "Ginevra" with the Muenchner Runfunkorchester in Ingolstadt and theatro Donizetti (Bergamo), a concert tour with Max Emanuel Cencic and Armonia Atenea in venues including Arsenal (Metz), Theatre Monte-Carlo, Theatre Aix-en-provence, Tonhalle Zurich, opera National Bordeaux and various concert appearences with Armonia Atenea, Muenchner Runfunkorchester, Symphonie Orchester Bern, Athens State Orchestra.
Recent highlights include a new production of Vivaldi’s Farnace at the Opera National du Rhin, Verdi's Nabucco with the Athens State Orchestra, Handel's "Alessandro" in Staatstheater Wiesbaden, opera Royal Versailles and Opera Vichy, Gluck's Alceste at Oper Leipzig, Lully’s Phaeton and A. Scarlatti’s Il Tigrane at the Saarlaendisches Staatstheater, the first world revival of Gluck’s Il trionfo di Clelia at the Megaron of Athens, first world revival of Mayr’s La Lodoiska with the Muenchner Runfunkorchester, Rossini’s Barbiere Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" and Gluck's "Orphee" at the Greek National opera, Handel’s Semele at Staatstheater Bern, Gluck’s Iphigenie en Aulide at the new hall of the Onassis foundation in Athens, Gluck’s Alceste with Anna Caterina Antonacci in the title role and Handel’s Theodora in a staged production of the Megaron of Athens, Handel’s Giulio Cesare at the Megaron of Thessaloniki as well as many concert appearances in venues including Tchaikowski Hall in Moscow, Opera Royal Versailles, Athens Megaron.
He has conducted works such as Handel’s Oreste, Arianna in Creta, Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, Haydn’s Isola Disabitata and Handel’s Tamerlano, Vivaldi’s Giustino and Juditha Triumphans, Monteverdi’s Ulisse and Poppea, Paisielo’s L’Olimpiade (in his own critical edition from the manuscript).
In concert he is equally at home with romantic and modern repertoire working successfully either with period instrument ensembles, or symphony orchestras. He is the Artistic Director of the Athens based Armonia Atenea orchestra, an interntionally acclaimed group with a very wide scope of activities, both on period and modern instruments and a strong international touring and recording presence (DECCA, SONY Classical MDG).
He has collaborated as soloist with renowned orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Orchestre National du Capitolle de Toulouse, the Tchaikovsky Orchestra of the Moscow Radio, collaborating with famous conductors such as Michelle Plasson and Vladimir Fedoseyef.
His recent recording of Handel's "Alessandro" for Decca was honored with some of the world's most prestigious awards including "Opera recording of the year 2012" from the International Opera Awards (London), Diapason d'Or, Choc (Classica), BBC-Recording of the month, IRR-Outstanding.
His recordings of the operas Oreste, Arianna in Creta, Alessandro Severo, Tamerlano and Giulio Cesare by Handel, with the German label MDG, were received with the highest critical acclaim from the international press (Choc-Monde de la Musique, Gramophone-Editor’s Choice, Diapason 5, CD of the week-Sunday Times, Recording of the month in Musicweb, Crescendo Bestenliste Platz 1, etc.). Tamerlano received the prestigious ECHO KLASSIC 2008 as opera recording of the year. His live recording Mayr’s Lodoiska with the Muenchner Runfunkorchester was released by OEHMS CLASSICS in June 2011.
Future recording projects include the release of Beethoven's "The creatures of Prometheus", "Rococo" with M. E. Cencic and "Gluck tenor arias" with Daniel Behle, all with DECCA.
George Petrou studied piano at the Athens Conservatoire from where he graduated with First Prize Distinction. He continued his studies at the Royal College and the Royal Academy of Music in London under scholarships from the RAM and the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, graduating with the ARCM and MMus.
He has been prizewinner in international competitions in England, Italy, the Czech Republic and Japan. He has received the Artist of the Year 1998 award and also the Best recording of the Year 2006 award for Arianna in Creta by the Union of the Greek Critics of Music and Drama and the Sebetia Ter prize (2006) in Napoli.