World Famous Composer Mikis Theodorakis Died

World famous composer Mikis Theodorakis passed away
World famous composer Mikis Theodorakis passed away

World-renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis has died at the age of 96. Theodorakis signed over a thousand works.

Mikis Theodorakis, a Greek songwriter, composer and politician, born on July 29, 1925 in Chios, had been receiving treatment for respiratory ailments for a while. Theodorakis died on September 2, 2021, at his home in the capital, Athens, at the age of 96. Three days of national mourning were declared in Greece upon his death. 

Who is Mikis Theodorakis?

Mikis Theodorakis (born July 29, 1925, Chios – Died September 2, 2021, Athens) is a lyricist, composer, activist, politician, who wrote more than 1000 songs. He is also known for his soundtracks for the films Zorba (1964), Z (1969) and Serpico (1973). The "Mauthausen Trilogy", also known as "Mauthausen's Ballad", which is described as "the most beautiful piece of music written about the Holocaust", is one of his most important works. Theodorakis is considered the best-known living composer in Greece.   Theodorakis is also the recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize.

Politically, he is known to be associated with the Communist Party of Greece. He also served as a member of parliament of the Communist Party of Greece between 1981 and 1990. However, in 1989 he worked for a time as an independent candidate within the centre-right New Democracy Party, helping to build a grand coalition between conservatives, socialists and leftists so that the country could emerge from the political crisis caused by the numerous scandals of Andreas Papandreou's government. He was re-elected to parliament in 1990, becoming government minister in the country under Konstandinos Mitsotakis. In this process, he worked to improve culture, education and relations between Turkey and Greece while carrying out anti-drug and anti-terrorism activities.

He was born on July 29, 1925, in Chios of the Second Hellenic Republic, to a Cretan lawyer father and a Greek mother from Çeşme, İzmir. Mikis, who was fascinated by music at a very young age, tried to write a song for himself at a young age without having received any musical education. He was only 17 years old when, after taking his first music lessons in Pirgos and Patra, he gave his first concerts with Byzantine religious music with a choir he founded. 

When Italy declared war on Greece, Theodorakis joined the resistance movement at the age of 17. Captured, Theodorakis was released after a while. However, with the occupation of Greece by the Axis Powers, he joined the ranks of the insurgents again. Mikis, who was captured again, was subjected to intense torture and then sentenced to death. Mikis, who was shot to be executed, did not die as a result of a great coincidence. During the Greek Civil War (1946-1952), which started after the end of the Second World War, he was imprisoned many times and was exiled from the country at the end of this period. Mikis went to Paris, where he continued his music education with a scholarship.

Theodorakis returned to Greece in 1961 and was elected president of the Lambrakis Youth Organization he founded. A short time later, he was elected as a deputy from Piraeus and entered the parliament. The day after the 1967 Colonels Military Coup, a serious repression campaign was launched against Theodorakis. The Colonels' Junta prohibited the playing and listening of Mikis Theodorakis' music with the army decree no. 13. Theodorakis, who retreated underground, continued his struggle against the junta regime by establishing the Patriotic Front. However, he was caught a short time later. He was first put in prison, then taken to the Oropos concentration camp. Thanks to a worldwide solidarity campaign, his sentence was commuted into exile, and he was exiled from the camp in 1970.

Mikis Theodorakis also fought against the Colonels' Junta in exile; He exposed the oppression regime in his country by giving about a thousand concerts on tours around the world. In these concerts, she appeared before the audience, especially with names such as Maria Faranduri. After the fall of the colonels, he returned to Greece victorious. In 1974, he was re-elected as a deputy and entered the parliament. He founded the Turkish-Greek Friendship Association in 1986 with Zülfü Livaneli and other friends; In the same period, the concerts he gave in Istanbul attracted great attention. He was re-elected as a deputy in the 1988 elections and entered the Greek Parliament. He served as a minister for two years in the government of Konstandinos Mitsotakis between 1990-1992. He was then appointed General Music Director of the Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Greek Radio and Television (ERT) for two years.

Theodorakis, who turned to traditional and national instruments, rhythms and melodies after his successful work in the field of classical music, started a great cultural revolution in Greece with his "Epitafios" Tombstone inscription composition series. Theodorakis wrote around 1000 songs and composed numerous symphonies, ballets, operas and oratorios. He also wrote the music for the tragedy and modern theater play and composed the music for 12 movies. Among the soundtracks he wrote, the music of the movie "Z" made a big impression, while the music he composed for the movie "Zorba" made the Sirtaki dance spread around the world. Theodorakis collected his political struggle and his views on art in two books he wrote. He has received many national and international awards for his work spanning more than sixty years.

His artistic activities were always accompanied by his political struggle. In particular, his struggle against the Colonels' Junta has made him a symbol of the worldwide anti-dictatorship resistance. Mikis Theodorakis has blended his artistic talents with his deep love for his country. In addition, he has always been involved in the struggle against human rights violations around the world, and has worked in many areas from environmental problems to reaching a universal peace. Despite his poor health, Mikis Theodorakis continued to write leaflets and campaigns in order to attract the attention of the world to the wars in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.

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