25th March – Mikis Theodorakis
|Theodorakis (born 29th July 1925) is our composer for 25th March, to mark the National Holiday in Greece.|
|Lifespan: still alive|
|Genre: 20th century|
|Education: Athens Conservatoire|
|Fame Ranking: 5|
Theodorakis has led an adventurous life as a composer and left-wing politician in Greece. His most famous work is probably the soundtrack to the 1964 film “Zorba the Greek”, but he has written in many other genres such as symphonies, ballets, chamber music and hymns,
While studying at Athens Conservatoire, Theodorakis was arrested during the Greek Civil War, due to his political leanings. He was imprisoned on the island of Makronisos, where he was both tortured and buried alive – twice. He still managed to return to his studies, completing his exams in 1950. A few years later he travelled to Paris to soak up the French music scene, and continued his musical education at the Paris Conservatoire under Messiaen.
In 1960 he returned to Greece, where he immersed himself in the indigenous musical culture of his homeland, and also the politics. He found himself yet again an unpopular figure, as the “Regime of Colonels”, the right wing dictatorship ruling Greece in the late 1960’s, banned his music and imprisoned him for five months. An international pressure group including well-known figures including composers Shostakovich and Bernstein campaigned for his release, and in 1970 he was exiled to Paris, where he remained until 1974.
Theodorakis is an outspoken advocate for international peace, human rights and protection of the environment. He is Greece’s best-known living composer.
Here is Theodorakis’ famous Zorba the Greek Dance:
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Listen to more works by Theodorakis – click the box!