The Friends of Music Society, non-profit legal entity under private law, was founded in 1953 by distinguished Greek citizens, on the initiative of lyrical singer Alexandra Trianti and the Lambros Eftaxias, who envisioned the creation of the Athens Concert Hall, Greece’s first centre for hosting high-level artistic events.
In 1955, the Society commissioned the plans for the Megaron to the architectural office of Constantinos A. Doxiadis who also chose the location of the plot, in order for it to be approved by the state. The concession was completed with the Law 3700/1957, while a further seven years elapsed / passed until the removal of the military units stationed there and the transfer of the plot.
The Society assumed the expenses for the fencing of the plot and the conduction / preparation of the first studies by German architects and sound professionals. In May 1976, the foundation stone was laid by the then Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis and in 1977 the construction of the building began.
The first President of the Society was Lambros Eftaxias, who financed by himself and through the Dekozi – Vourou Foundation, of which he was President, the studies and construction works, from the foundation of the building until the completion of the reinforced concrete frame.
In 1968, the presidency of the Society was passed to Alexandra Trianti, who also donated her estate to the Society, and then to Christos Lambrakis (1977 – 2009) who determined the course of the Society through the conception and implementation of numerous cultural and educational programmes.
In 1981, at the behest of Christos Lambrakis, the Friends of Music Society and the Greek State signed a partnership for the establishment of the Athens Concert Hall Organization (OMMA). Since then and with grants from all the Greek Governments, which recognised the national importance of the project, the completion of the building facilities was possible and its operation was ensured.
In the Board of Directors of OMMA participate, from its founding law, representatives of the Friends of Music Society, while until 2010, the Society participated in the preparation of Megaron’s artistic programme with the establishment of an Advisory Council, made up of personalities from Music and the Arts.
In 1991, with the inauguration of the Megaron, the Society founded the “Camerata – Orchestra of Friends of Music”, which has since been internationally distinguished and has won great distinctions for its artistic, educational and recording work.
In 1997, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Lilian Voudouri Foundation, the Society inaugurated the “Great Music Library of Greece Lilian Voudouri”, which is a model research centre internationally. It is housed, along with the Society’s services, in the specially designed area of the new premises of the Megaron with access to the atrium.
Throughout its existence from 1953 until today, the Society has concurrently carried out a number of activities, as defined in its Statute, with the aim of: granting scholarships to young artists, developing educational and research programmes, organising artistic events, supporting and promoting Greek musicians, drafting or supporting financially studies, researches and publication of cultural and educational content. In order to achieve its charitable objectives, the Society, a private entity, that does not receive any national funding, relies exclusively on resources derived by its founding members and the generosity of private sponsorships, without which it could not achieve its goals.
In December 2013, on the 60th anniversary since its founding, the Academy of Athens awarded the Society an award, as a sign of recognition “for the many years of outstanding contributions in the fields of Culture, the Arts, Education and especially Music”. After his passing in 2009, Christos Lambrakis was succeeded by Konstantinos Pilarinos. Since June 2011, the President of the Board of Directors of the Society is Mr. Panayiotis Dimaras. The Director of the Society since 2017 is Mr. Alexandros Charkiolakis and Director of the Music Library since 2005 is Mrs. Stephanie Merakos.