Biography

I was born and raised in Athens, Greece. My mother, Lela, was a pianist and transmitted to me her love for music from an early age. The music I was exposed to was mostly classical. My father, Stefanos, was quite expressive in his writing and transmitted to me his love for the right use as well as the richness of the Greek language. His brother, my uncle Ceasar, was a scholar and poet, who had been known in the 1920s through 1950s. I believe that these three persons played an important role in my artistic development.

After graduating from high school, I went to a secretarial college in London and then worked as an administrative assistant in England and Switzerland, before returning to Greece in 1972. For the first 12 years, I worked for a business service (Executive Services Ltd) and subsequently for The American College of Greece, for a period of almost 23 years, until my retirement in 2009. During that time, I explored various interests, such as foreign languages, graphology, psychology and spirituality, and had the opportunity to travel to various countries of the world.

I took piano lessons both as a child and later in life, without making much progress, despite my teachers’ hopes. I decided to fulfil my dream for higher studies by attending classes at Deree College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music in 2004. I also took harmony lessons with Vassiliki Kourbeti and Spyros Mazis.

My first artistic activity was writing poetry in adolescence. In my mid thirties, I began writing short stories and one-act plays, visualizing myself as a writer. These phases alternated with periods of song-writing, which came more as a surprise than a direction. Nevertheless, in 2007 I decided to assemble the Greek songs I had written over a period of twenty years, to create my first CD (“Chyssothemis”). The collection turned into a musical, which was presented live at Pierce College Theatre in 2008.

Taking courage from the positive response this received, I decided to complete and produce a second CD, a Christmas musical I had written in 1999 (“Saviour”), which proved a Herculean task. The CD was presented in December 2009, with selected excerpts, interviews, speeches and a narrator.

My third CD (“With Eyes to See”) was released in 2010. It is a song cycle on the inspiring poetry of my friend, Jim Young. The CD was presented in May 2011, during a special evening devoted to him.

Over the past thirty years, I have:

  • written and/or composed and presented various songs;
  • written ten books (only one of which has been published), including short story, poetry and fairytale collections, either in Greek or English, as well translations and non-fiction books;
  • participated in amateur theatre or music performances as an actress – whether in works written by me or others; and
  • seen some of my works performed, for which I have written the script, the lyrics, the music or all combined.

My activities extend to writing lyrics for “Blood Stone”, a Greek heavy metal band.

I am a regular member of the “Athens Singers” choral group (1993-1995 and 2010- ) and was a devoted member of the Deree College Choir (1995-2009).

My future plans include a children’s musical on a fairytale by Leo Buscaglia and a modern opera based on Hermann Hesse’s book “Siddhartha”.

Olga Emmanuel
2012

P.S. If you come across the name “Olga Constantina Emmanouil”, please rest assured that it is still me. ‘Emmanouil’ is the Greek version of my name.

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