Legendary Greek composer, Mikis Theodorakis, dies aged 96

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Legendary Greek composer, politician and writer, Mikis Theodorakis, has passed away at the age of 96.

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

Theodorakis was born in Chios on July 29, 1925, to a Cretan father and an Asia Minor mother. 

Due to the professional capacity of his father (senior civil servant) he spent his childhood moving to various cities in Greece, including Mytilene, Syros, Athens, Ioannina, Argostoli, Patras, Pyrgosand Tripoli.

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, he worked with the resistance, working through the ranks of EPON and the KKE. He was arrested by the Italians and sent to prison.

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 theatre in Athens, by the Athens State Orchestra.

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. 

The composer went abroad and gave dozens of concerts against the colonels, which will make him known everywhere as a symbol of the anti-dictatorship struggle.

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