Pia Hadjinikou-Angelini’s agency had one goal: to bring world class performers to Greece to familiarize people with the finest cultural experiences. In much the same way her aim in the beautiful seaside village Horto, on a more modest scale, was to introduce the people of South Pelion, in particular its younger generations, to artistic and cultural performances they might not otherwise experience.
She specifically wanted to present these performances in a natural setting in the Greek landscape, much as it has been done in Greece since antiquity. A plot of family land was used to create an open-air amphitheatre seating an audience of approximately 400, and a former olive oil storage was converted into a hall seating an audience of more than 100, which is used for recitals, masterclasses, lectures, exhibitions and workshops. These are the two principal performance venues used for the Festival’s events.
The success of the Foundation in meeting its founders’ goals has been the organisation and delivery of an artistic and educational Summer Festival every year since its formation in 1984.
Each year the cultural and artistic program is selected with great care, taking into account the inter-disciplinary relationships between music, theater, dance and the visual arts, as well as creating opportunities for active participation and performance of young people from Greece, the rest of Europe, and around the world.
The Horto Festival typically spans an eight-week period each summer between mid July and early September, coinciding with the main summer holiday season. The Festival therefore attracts many tourists and visitors, both Greek and from abroad, as well as the residents of South Pelion and the surrounding areas.
The inspiration behind the Non-Profit Cultural Foundation Angelinis – Hadjinikou and the leading figure throughout most of its history is Pia Hadjinikou-Angelini.
She had an immensely successful career as an impresario in Athens, bringing the finest international artists to Greece, including classical musicians, orchestras, ballets, theatres, operas, chamber ensembles, and many folk and dance groups.
She founded her agency in 1959 and over the years introduced the people of Greece to renowned artistic groups ranging from the Ballet Rambert to the Virtuosi di Roma, from the Japanese State Theatre Noh Kanzekai to the Royal Opera House of Covent Garden, as well as individual world-famous artists including Mstislav Rostropovich, Claudio Arrau, Marcel Marceau, and Benjamin Britten.
In 1984 she decided on the strength of her success, experience and organisational skills to create a summer festival in her family's native birthplace, the village of Horto.
In this she was ably assisted and complemented by her brother, George Hadjinikos, who throughout most of its 32 years has been an active participant and performer, as well as the Festival's artistic director.
George Hadjinikos, who passed away in November 2015, was a distinguished pianist, conductor, teacher, philosopher of music and author.
His musical studies took him from Volos to the Athens Conservatoire, and from there to the Mozarteum in Salzburg, and later on to Munich, Hamburg, France and Switzerland before taking up a position at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he remained throughout his professional career.