Mikis Theodorakis' Biography

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Mikis Theodorakis of Cretan descent was born in Chios Greece, 29 July 1925. He lived in many cities in Greece before setting in Athens, where he now lives.

From 1954 to 1960 he worked in Paris and London composing symphonic music, ballet and film music. In 1960 he places himself as leader of the regenerative cultural-political movement in Greece centered on the union of poetry and music, composing dozens of song-cycles, oratorios, revues, music for the ancient Greek drama and other. This movement was connected with the progressive political forces of that period, which aimed, beyond the establishment of democratic life in Greece, to a much deeper and broader rebirth of the Greek people. This brings him often at the center of political life, climaxing with his active participation in the resistance movement against the military dictatorship (1967-74).

Theodorakis wrote for all musical forms. His work, rich and versatile, transcends the limits of music and covers areas such as poetry, prose, philosophy, musicology, even political essays.
The first period of his musical creation (1940-53) includes songs, oratorios, chamber music, ballets and symphonic works, the First Symphony being his most significant work.
The second period, the Paris period (1954-59), includes chamber music, ballets and symphonic works, the major work being the ballet Antigone commissioned by Covent Garden in 1959.
The third period, 1960-1980, is devoted to the popular music. Outstanding works produced are the oratorios Axion Esti and Canto General.
There follows the fourth period, 1981 to 1988, during which, while composing song-cycles, he returns to the symphonic music. Most significant works written are the Third Symphony, the Seventh Symphony, his first opera Kostas Kariotakis (The Metamorphoses of Dionysus) and the Zorbas ballet.
Finally, during the fifth period (1989 to date), he composes three operas (lyric tragedies) Medea, Electra and Antigone. This trilogy is complemented by his new Opera Lysistrata. With these works Theodorakis ushers in the period of the Lyrical Life, that is, his complete turn to lyricism and perfection of the lyrical musical expression within the total range of his musical achievement.

 

PRINCIPAL WORKS OF MIKIS THEODORAKIS

1. Song Cycles
Songs for children, Epitaph, Epiphany, Politia A, B, C and D, Deserters, Little Cyclades, Mauthausen, Romancero Gitano, Sea Moons, Sun and Time, Twelve popular songs, Night of Death, Arcadias, The Songs of struggle, The songs of Andreas, Eighteen small songs for the bitter fatherland, Ballads, In the Levant, The lyrical songs, Salutations, Voyager, Radar, Dionysos, Phaedra, Karyotakis, The faces of the Sun, Recollection of the stone, Like an ancient wind, Perhaps we live in another country, A sea filled with music, Beatrice at Zero street, Asikiko Poulaki, The more lyrical songs, The most lyrical songs, Serenades, Solitude, Odyssey.

2. Music for the Theatre
The song of the dead brother, A Hostage, Enemy people, Betrayed people, Kapodistrias, Christopher Columbus, Pericles, The name of this tree was not patience, The wild beast of the Bull, Macbeth.

3. Music for the ancient Greek Drama
Oresteia (Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides), Antigone, The Knights, Lysistrata, Prometheus Bound, King Oedipus, Hecuba, The Suppliant Women, The Trojan Women, The Phoenician Women, Ajax.

4. Music for the Cinema
Zorba the Greek, Z, Serpico, Iphigeneia, Electra, When the fish came out, The Fifth Offensive (Tito), Biribi, Phaedra, State of Siege, Actas de Marucia.

5. Oratorios
Axion Esti, Margarita, Epiphany Averoff, State of Siege, March of the Spirit, Requiem, Canto General, Divine Liturgy, Liturgy for the children killed in the war.

6. Symphonic works and Chamber music
Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7. Sadducee Passion, Canto Olympico, Trio, Sextett, The Assi-Gonia Fete, Greek Carnaval, The Circle, Sonatina for piano, Suites Nos. 1, 2 and 3, Sonatinas Nos. 1 and 2 for violin and piano, King Oedipus, Concerto for piano, Phapsody for cello and orchestra, Rhapsody for guitar and orchestra, Sinfonietta, Adagio.

7. Ballets
Les Amants de Teruel., Antigone, Zorbas.

8. Operas
Karyotakis (The Metamorphoses of Dionysos), Medea, Electra, Antigone, Lysistrata.

 

 

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