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Blue Work

Olympiad XXVIII

for full orchestra

Year:  2008   ·  Duration:  15m

Year:  2008
Duration:  15m

Composer:   John Psathas


This music was created for the opening ceremony of the 28th Olympaid, held in Athens, Greece during August of 2004. All of the scores were developed under the close supervision of George Koumendakis - musical director of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of these Games.

Aerial Ballet was originally a short fanfare composed by Claude Debussy, as incidental music for a production of Shakespeare's King Lear. This arrangement, nearly twice the length of the original, was used during the buildup to the entrance of the flame.

The Flag was music intended for the arrival (more often referred to as "the return") of the Olympic Flag. Ultimately this music by Psathas was not used for the entrance the flag - a work by Mikis Theodorakis was used for the sequence - but a large section of Psathas' original Flag music was extracted and used as the arrival music for Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, president of the Athens Olympic Committee. It is here in its original form as part of the extended Flag cue.

Light the Cauldron is an adaptation of a short segment of film music by Dmitri Shostakovich. It was used in a film called Pirogov. For the Entrance of the Flame and the procession to the cauldron, this music had to be adapted, morphed into multiple possible timelines (no predicting exactly how fast the athletes will run when holding the torch!), and arranged in such a way that it would peak at exactly the moment the flame reached its final destination (the biggest kept secret of all).

Fireworks is the music Psathas composed for the final Fireworks of the Opening Ceremony. It was also intended as a coda to the music used in Light the Cauldron.

This suite was commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Olympiad XXVIII is dedicated to George Koumendakis.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Dedication note

Dedicated to George Koumendakis

Contents note

Aerial Ballet
The Flag
Light the Cauldron

Performance history

29 Aug 2008: Performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pietari Inkinen as part of the Olympic Cultural Festival of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games at the Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing, China

26 Mar 2009: NZSO: OLYMPIAD 1

28 Mar 2009: Open Rehearsal - performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra as part of the Education Programme 2009 in Auckland Town Hall, Auckland

28 Mar 2009: NZSO: OLYMPIAD 2

04 Apr 2009: NZSO: OLYMPIAD 3

31 Oct 2009: Performed by Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Keith Crellin at Elder Hall in Adelaide, Australia

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