Eleni Papakyriakou*

University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna


Received Sylff fellowship in 2012
Current affiliation: Recipient of the SYLFF Leadership Initiatives (SLI) Award 2024

Academic Achievements, Social Engagement Initiatives:
- Graduate Orchestra Conducting (2015, Mag. art.), University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna
- Founder, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of Sinfonietta Passau (symphony orchestra), President of the non-profit association "Sinfonietta Passau e.V." (since 2022)

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.). She is the chief conductor of the Passau University Orchestra (2016-2019 and since 2022) and worked at the Landestheater Niederbayern for 7 years, conducting opera performances. In 2023 she founded her own symphony orchestra, Sinfonietta Passau, which celebrated its first concerts in spring 2023 with great success.

Eleni Papakyriakou collaborated as a guest conductor with the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra in November-December 2022. She also held a lectureship at the Music Academy "Louis Spohr" Kassel in 2022, which was successfully completed with a symphony concert in October. In 2019-2020, she appeared as a guest conductor with the Akademischer Orchesterverein Wien.

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 This led to a concert with Orchestre Pasdeloup in Philharmonie de Paris (Grande Salle Pierre Boulez) in December 2021.

Eleni Papakyriakou began the orchestral studies in 2007 in Greece (Myron Michailidis, Karolos Trikolidis) and in 2010 she continued at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna (Uroš Lajovic, Johannes Wildner). In 2012/13 she took active part in regular courses with 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. After audition, she actively participated in the "53. Weimar Master Classes" (Nicolás Pasquet), while conducting The City of Thessaloniki Symphony Orchestra in the final concert of the "Young Conductors´ Festival".

While studying, Eleni Papakyriakou already took up the assistant conductor’s post at the Vienna International Opera Academy. She has premiered contemporary works with the ProArte Orchestra and has been a scholarship holder several times, among others from 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.

Before her conducting studies, Eleni Papakyriakou graduated musicology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Dipl.). In the same time, she studied composition and holds Diplomas of piano, harmony, counterpoint, fugue and byzantine music. Her musicological interest led her to research on compositions by J. Brahms, F. Schubert and A. Bruckner.

Summary of Support Program Activities:
Name of project: "Gender equality for orchestra conductors in leadership positions: Sinfonietta Passau - a symphony orchestra founded by Eleni Papakyriakou. Concerts "Tree of Life - Bruckner200" in April 2024".

Female conductors still face gender inequality and discrimination. Currently only 8% of conductors in leadership positions in Germany are female (study by the German Cultural Council 2021). The same number applies worldwide (study commissioned by the conducting competition La Maestra Paris” 2022). This is the most important issue that I wish to address with this project.

The concerts of Sinfonietta Passau in April 2024 took place with enormous success. The press reviews and the responses of the public are very enthusiastic and praise this initiative, not only for its importance in the cultural life of the region, but also as a clear message by a young female conductor to the music world.

I am very thankful to the Tokyo Foundation for supporting this initiative through the SLI Program (Sylff Leadership Initiative).


To contact this fellow, email the Sylff Association at sylff[a] (replace [a] with @).