Louly-Maria Psichouli was born in Athens in May 1943 and into a very musical family.
She studied piano with Maria Cherogiorgou, harmony, counterpoint and fugue at the National Conservatory of Athens and graduated in 1962. After obtaining a scholarship granted by the French State, she continued her postgraduate studies at the Paris Conservatoire (1962-1965), where her teachers were Marguerite Long and Jacques Février. Afterwards, as a scholar of the Austrian State, she received her Composition Diploma from the Vienna State Conservatory and the Conductor Diploma from the Vienna Academy of Music (1973), with professors Hans Swarovsky, Gustav Koslik and Franz Burkhart.
She soon started her career as a piano accompanist in several opera houses in Austria as well as a guest conductor in many concert halls all over Europe. She has also numerous appearances in Greece with the Athens State Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra of the Greek Radio. In 1981 she appeared for the first time at the Athens’ Festival conducting the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra.
As soon as she returned to Athens in 1974, as the first woman conductor of Greece, she founded the non-profit organization ATHENAEUM International Cultural Centre and the ATHENAEUM Conservatory, together with the pianist Anna Koukouraki. She was the President and Artistic Director respectively until her death on October 29, 2015.
In ATHENAEUM I.C.C. she succeeded in gathering the most prominent representatives of music, politics, and social life of the country, in the common quest of offering the best education in music as well as promote cultural development.
In this framework, she founded and established, together with Anna Koukouraki, the International Music Competitions for Piano, Opera and Oratorio-Lied, which since 1977 have been dedicated to Maria Callas’ memory. In 1994 the Competitions gained the unique in the world title “International Maria Callas Grand Prix” in Opera, Oratorio-Lied and Piano, in the frame of UNESCO.
In 1978, the ATHENAEUM I.C.C. inaugurated an annual concert dedicated to Maria Callas on the date of her death (September 16th) at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and in the Athens Concert Hall, with the participation of prominent artists from Greece and abroad.
Louly Psichouli has directed many orchestras in her career, amongst many the Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow, the Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus George Enesku of Bucharest (Odeon of Herodes Atticus, 1982), the Baroque Orchestra of ATHENAEUM with the participation of various musicians from Philharmonic Orchestras of Europe and the Chorus of the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra of Cluj (1997), the Philharmonic Chorus of Prague, the Symphonic Orchestra of the Balkan Countries (2002), in works of W.A. Mozart, G. Verdi, J.S. Bach, G. Mahler, R. Strauss, F. Händel e.t.c.
Likewise the ATHENAEUM Conservatory was immediately distinguished for the vigorous spirit that imparted in the music education of Greece, as it took a leading part in the creation of symphonic and vocal ensembles such as the Baroque Ensemble, the Workshop of Melodrama Education, a Four-Part Choir, a Children Choir, a Choir of Byzantine Music and the Symphonic Orchestra of the Balkan Countries.
In addition to the above, many seminars and masterclasses took place in ATHENAEUM, led by internationally acclaimed artists and teachers, such as Luigi Alva, Irina Arkhipova, Ileana Cotrubaș, Kostas Paskalis, Cheryl Studer, Dmitri Bashkirov, Lev Vlassenko e.t.c.
Louly Psichouli was honoured with the ‘Maria Callas Award’ by the 3rd Programme of the Greek National Radio (1998), with the ‘Maria Callas Prize’ in Los Angeles (1998), with the ‘Apollo Award’ by the Society of the Friends of the National Opera of Greece and was awarded by the Soroptimist Organization of Greece (2010) for her contribution to music and to Greece.