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EXTRAORDINARY: Mikis Theodorakis died

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EXTRAORDINARY: Mikis Theodorakis died

The great composer, politician and writer passed away; one of the most important and most talked about personalities of modern Greece, Mikis Theodorakis at the age of 96.

Michael (Mikis) Theodorakis was born in Chios on July 29, 1925, to a Cretan father and a Asia Minor mother. Due to the professional capacity of his father (senior civil servant) he spent his childhood moving to various cities in Greece: Mytilene (1925-1928), Syros and Athens (1929), Ioannina (1930-1932) Argostoli (1933-1936) , Patras (1937-1938), Pyrgos (1938-1939) and Tripoli (1939-1943).

The first compositions and the first poems

Before World War II he had discovered his love for music and wrote his first compositions, while in 1942 he published his first poems, under the pseudonym Dinos May. In 1943 he settled permanently in Athens and continued his musical studies, with Philoktitis Economidis as his teacher. At the same time, it develops resistance action, through the ranks of EPON and the KKE. He will be arrested by the Italians and in prison will meet Marx's work.

During the Civil War (1946-1949) he was exiled first to Ikaria and then to Makronisos. His political persecutions do not stop his creative work. He composed works of “classical” music and on March 5, 1950, his first play, “Festival of Asi-Gonia” (1946), was presented at the “Orpheus” theater in Athens, by the Athens State Orchestra, conducted by the teacher Filoktitis Economidis.

In 1953 he married Dr. Myrto Altinoglou (the couple had two children, George and Margarita) and continued his music studies in Paris, under the tutelage of Olivier Messian and Ezen Bigot. He continues to compose and in 1959 he was awarded the “Copley” award for the best European composer of the year.

The composition of the “Epitaph” by Giannis Ritsos

One night in 1958, while waiting for his wife in the car, he read “Epitaph” by Giannis Ritsos and composed the first eight poems on the spot. In 1960 they will be recorded for the first time with the voice of Grigoris Bithikotsis. It is the time when Theodorakis enters the field of song and “marries” the folk rhythms, the folk instruments, the folk singers and the poetry of the leading representatives of the generation of the '30s (Seferis, Elytis, Ritsos etc.). Among his works of that period are: “Archipelagos”, “State A 'and B'”, “Surface”, “Mauthausen”, “Axion Esti”. He will also write music for Michalis Kakogiannis' film “Zorbas” (1964) and for two theatrical performances that marked the 60's, “Magic City” and “The Neighborhood of Angels”. In 1963, after the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis, the “Lambrakis Youth” was founded, of which he was elected President. At the same time he was elected a member of the ECHR.

With the imposition of the dictatorship of April 21, 1967, a new cycle of persecution and exile will begin for the composer, which will end in 1970 with the amnesty that will be granted to him, after international outcry and efforts of personalities such as Dmitry Shostakovich, Leonard M , Harry Belafonte, Arthur Miller and Hans Eisler. He will go abroad and give dozens of concerts against the colonels, which will make him known everywhere as a symbol of the anti-dictatorship struggle.

Symbol for fighters against totalitarian regimes

During the Metapolitism period, his music will be widely accepted, which will be heard freely again. It will become a point of reference for a new period for Greece and at the same time it will remain a symbol for the fighters of many countries against totalitarian regimes. Many of the works he wrote during the seven years will be published in the first years of the change of government (“The sun and time”, “The Laika”, “Andreas' songs”, “Lianotragouda”, “Kanto General”, “Epiphania” Averoff “and many more), while the recording and publishing of his symphonic works will gradually begin.

Mikis Theodorakis was actively involved in politics during the Metapolitism. He posed the famous dilemma “Karamanlis or tanks”, was elected MP (twice with the KKE and twice with the New Democracy) and became a minister in the Mitsotakis government. At the same time, an effort of rapprochement between the peoples of Greece and Turkey began with the Turkish musician Zulfi Livaneli.

In his sixty-year career, Mikis Theodorakis has written over 1,000 songs, many symphonic works, cantatas and oratorios, music for dozens of plays and tragedies, operas and music for the cinema.

Source: politis.com.cy

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