"Mikis Theodorakis" Popular Orchestra
BIOGRAPHY - ASSOCIATES
The “Mikis Theodorakis” Popular Orchestra was founded in May 1997, by musicians who had played with Mikis Theodorakis, and knew his work well. The orchestra made its debut in June 1997 at the Exoni Theatre of Glyfada.
Since then, the Orchestra has given many popular concerts in Athens and the Greek provinces appearing with distinguished performers as well as young promising artists including, in alphabetical order, the following:
Themis Adamantidis, Alexia, Gerasimos Andreatos, Dimitris Bassis, Memos Begnis, Yiannis Bezos, Alexandros Bourdoumis, Renos Charalambidis, Dora Chrysikou, George Dalaras, Maria Dimitriadi, Doros Dimosthenous, Doukissa, Manolis Famelos, Maria Farandouri, Yiannis Fertis, Eleni Filini, Anna Fonsou, Ioanna Forti, Petros Gaitanos, Vangelis Germanos, Glykeria, Lakis Halkias, Alexandros Hatzis, Iro, Alkinoos Ioannidis, Aliki Kagialoglou, Melina Kana, Panagiotis Karadimitris, Andreas Karakotas, Loukianos Kilaidonis, Kitrina Podilata, Antonis Kaloyiannis, Konstantinos Kazakos, Areti Ketime, Harry Klynn, Lakis Komninos, Alexis Kostalas, Eva Kotamanidou, Yiannis Kotsiras, Andreas Kouloumbis, Mariza Koh, Yakinthi Layiou, Lakis Lazopoulos, Vassilis Lekkas, Sotiria Leonardou, Mary Linda, Zülfü Livaneli, Kostas Makedonas, Nikos Makropoulos, Natasa Manisali, Afroditi Manou, Lavredis Maheritsas, Bessie Malfa, George Matthiakakis,Manolis Mitsias, Viki Moscholiou, Evangelia Moumouri, Petros Pandis, Poly Panou, Jimmy Panoussis, Mania Papadimitriou, Vassilis Papakonstantinou, Sofia Papazoglou, Katerina Papoutsaki, Yiannis Parios, Miltos Paschalidis, Orpheas Peridis, Panagiotis Petrakis, Yiannis Petrou, Petros Philipidis, Marianna Polychronidi, Natalie Rasouli, Manolis Rasoulis, Antonis Remos, Marieta Rialdi, Maria Roussea, Arja Saijonmaa, Akis Sakellariou, Yiannis Samsiaris, Dionisis Savvopoulos, Yiannis Sidiras, Gerasimos Skiadaresis, Maria Soultatou, Zachos Terzakis, Natasa Theodoridou, Sonia Theodoridou, Pantelis Theoharidis, Christos Thiveos, Kostas Thomaidis, Paschalis Tonios, Trifono, Dionissis Tsaknis, Eleni Tsaligopoulou, Grigoris Valtinos, Nena Venetsanou, Kalliopi Vetta, Lia Vissi, Maria Vlachos, Sofia Vossou, Stavros Zalmas, Dimitris Zervoudakis, Vasia Zilou, Maria Zoi and Yiannis Zouganelis, Zachos Terzakis (tenor), Julia Souglakou (soprano) and the vocal group Trifono.
The Song for the Dead Brother, Herod Atticus Theatre, 7/18/2001.
The orchestra has performed at several theatres (Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Ancient Olympia, Epidaurus, Athens concert Hall, Thessalonica concert Hall, Ancient Theatre of Ephesus, Roman Agora etc) in Athens and the provinces, music venues (Grammes, Vroutos, Ston Aera, Egli, Mylos, Tsai sti Sahara etc.) and stadiums (Palais Des Sports, Tae Kwon Do Stadium), and open-air venues (St. Achilios Prespon). It has given a number of concerts abroad (in Georgia - Tbilisi, Koutaisi, Batoumi, in South Africa - Pretoria, in France - Paris, in Cyprus and in Australia - Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sidney), in South America (Brazil - Sao Paolo, Argentina - Buenos Aires, Uruguay - Montevideo), in Germany (Frankfurt), in Egypt (Cairo, Alexandria) and in San Marino. They have organized and taken part in many concerts, collaborating with symphony orchestras (Contemporary Music Orchestra of the Greek National Radio and Television, The Philharmonia Symphony Orchestra, the Athens Municipal Symphony Orchestra, The National Greek Music Orchestra, the Intrarti Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra of the New Opera of Moscow) and a number of choirs (Choir of the Greek National Radio and Television, the Choir of Macedonia, the Male Chorus of the Commercial Bank, the Youth Choir of the Leontios High School of Nea Smirni, the Children’s Choir of the Public Conservatorium of Larissa, the Choir of the Greek Women’s Lyceum, the Mixed Public Choir of Athens, the Youth Choir of Nikaia, the Mixed Choir of the Arts Centre of the Municipality of Thebes, the Three-part Mixed Choir of the Kadmean Conservatorium, Choir of the New opera of Moscow), quite often under the direction of the composer.
GOALS - CHARACTER - ACTIVITIES
The “Mikis Theodorakis” Popular Orchestra, which has the goal of highlighting the work of Mikis Theodorakis, since May 1997 has given many popular concerts in Athens, the Greek provinces and abroad, appearing with distinguished performers as well as young promising artists, thus promoting Greek culture.
The orchestra’s aim is the performance of Mikis Theodorakis' work in concerts, on television programs, CD recordings etc. The orchestra has recorded the following CDs:
The Song of the Dead Brother (2001), with Nena Venetsanou, Dimitris Bassis and Yiannis Bezos under the direction of the composer.
Love is Fire (2001), with Dimitris Bassis.
Yiannis Parios live at Lycabettus - The Erotic Theodorakis (2001), from the concert organized in July 2001 by the magazine Diphono.
Axion Esti - March of the Spirit (2002), with Yiannis Kotsiras, Andreas Kouloumbis, Ioanna Forti and Yiannis Fertis, from the concert that took place at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus on May 21st, 2001.
Zorba the Greek (2003), Music from the soundtrack for the film.
Like Pinocchio (2003), a story based on “Songs for toddlers and young children” of Mikis Theodorakis. A book published by Romanos Music Publishing House and contains a CD.
If You Remember My Dream (2004), with Antonis Remos, music that was used for the opening titles of the homonymous TV show, written by Kakia Igerinou.
Ta themelia mou sta Vouna (2008), with Glykeria (featuring Paschalis Terzis and Dimitris Bassis).
The orchestra’s musicians are deeply committed to playing a leading role in new initiatives including concerts for peace, against racism and drugs, for prisoners and others, with the aim of making people aware of sensitive social issues.
"Mikis Theodorakis" Popular Orchestra 2012
Of special interest is the participation of the members of the orchestra in events organized for the benefit of the organization “Doctors Without Borders,” the profits of which were given to Palestinian children. Specifically, singers George Dalaras, Glykeria, Dimitris Bassis and Gerasimos Andreatos interpreted song-cycles in the Katrakis Theatre of Nikaia (14 June 2002). March of the Spirit, a setting of poetry by Angelos Sikelianos, and Axion Esti, to poetry by Odysseus Elitis, were presented in the Ietonio Tower of Drapetsona, (30 May 2003) and at the Thessaloniki Earth Theatre (2 June 2003). The Contemporary Music Orchestra and the Choir of the National Radio and Television and the Popular Orchestra “Mikis Theodorakis” took part in these events, under the direction of Andreas Pilarinos, with singers Yiannis Kotsiras, Maria Soultatou, George Mattheakakis and Yiannis Fertis.
In the summer of 2003 the orchestra went on tour all over Greece, as a tribute to the great poet Yiannis Ritsos with Eleni Tsaligopoulou, Dimitris Bassis, Yiannis Bezos, Yiannis Fertis, Kakia Igerinou, Maria Soultatou and Pantelis Theoharidis. The most touching were the performances on the island of Makronissos (29, 30, 31 August 2003), a place of exile of all freedom fighters of ELAS (the popular army) after the civil war where Mikis Theodorakis returned after forty five years.
The next year (summer 2004), the Orchestra prepared a tribute to Mikis Theodorakis music from the Theatre and the Cinema with Antonis Remos, Petros Philipidis, Natasa Manisali, Yiannis Samsiaris and Pantelis Theoharidis, a performance which took place in Athens (Odeon of Herodes Atticus, on the framework of the Athens Festival), in Thessalonica, Lesvos, Rhodes, Korinthia and Kiparissia.
In 2005 Mikis Theodorakis reached the 80th year of his life and creation, an event that was celebrated all over Greece in a multitude of performances with the participation of the Orchestra (either as the organising party or as a member). These performances include: Songs of Passion and Love with the participation of Nena Venetsanou, Dimitris Bassis, Sonia Theodoridou, Zachos Terzakis (Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Ancient Roman Agora), Canto General in its world premiere as a ballet, presented in the Greek National Opera, Zorbas – ballet with the Hungarian State Ballet (Odeon of Herodes Atticus), Fromthe Years of Fireto theLyrical Existence with Nena Venetsanou and George Theodorakis (in Athens Atrium Concert Hall,) The Symphonics (Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Nicosia, Cyprus). The performance of Mikis Theodorakis’ Music for the Theatre and Cinema was repeated in The Athens Concert Hall, The Olympic Stadium, Anavissos, Agios Ioannis Rentis and in Piraeus Public Square, and many popular concerts took place in Ancient Olympia, Hania, Soufli, Giannena, Prespes, Giannitsa, Veria, Chios and Cesmè – Turkey.
In 2006 the Popular Orchestra gave concerts in 28 municipalities throughout Greece (Paleon Faliron, Patras, Oropos, Volos, Anavissos, Chios, Delphi, Argos, Examilia, Ancient Olympia, Nafplion, Prespes, Hortiatis, Drama, Galatsis, Piraeus, Kallithea, Edessa, Zafiri, Rentis, Korydallos, Elefsina, Trikala, Peristeri, Zatouna) while its presence abroad is very important, performing in Latin America with the support of immigrant Greeks, and in Beijing in the framework of the International Tourism Exhibition ‘BITE 2006’ with the support of the Greek Ministry of Tourism and Development and EOT.
In 2007, the Orchestra gave 23 concerts in several cities, while it participated in an event organised by the Prefecture of Athens at the Athens Concert Hall in the context of announcing the Ambassadors of Hellenism for 2007. Its foreign activities continued, as an official guest of the Republic of San Marino where it gave a public concert in the context of the honorary awarding of Mikis Theodorakis by the President of the Democracy; it presented the “Axion Esti” in Frankfurt, while within the context of the 21st International Izmir Festival it gave a concert in the Ancient Theatre of Ephesus.
In 2008, the Orchestra had intense artistic presence, as it gave 28 concerts throughout Greece. The milestones of this activity were the major concerts given in Athens (Odeon of Herodes Atticus), Thessalonica (Palais des sports), Kalamata (Tenta Closed Gymnasium) and Pirgos (Municipal Closed Gymnasium of Pirgos) for the support of the fire-stricken areas and assistance to their residents. With the voluntary participation of several artists and Lakis Lazopoulos, the Orchestra contributed towards alleviating this humanitarian disaster, underlining that culture and society are inseparable. The Orchestra travelled twice the same year to Cyprus, once participating in AKEL’s election campaign and another as a guest of the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus for the National Liberation Day of Cyprus, and gave two concerts in Egypt in cooperation with the Greek Embassy, one in Cairo at the Sound and Light Theatre at the Pyramids, and one at the Sayed Darwish Opera Theatre in Alexandria.
"Mikis Theodorakis" Popular Orchestra 2006
In 2009, the ‘Mikis Theodorakis’ Popular Orchestra honoured the memory of Yiannis Ritsos and the 100 years from his birth by performing a 26-concert tour throughout Greece.The final concert was performed at Odeon of Herodes Atticus in the context of the Athens Festival. Once again this year, Cyprus was not left out of the Orchestra’s schedule, where a concert was held in Larnaca. A landmark to the Orchestra’s tour for 2009 was its concert in August at the forgotten border island of Ai-Stratis Furthermore, on October 15th 2009 the Orchestra participated in the launch of the new airline, Olympic Air.The year ended with the Orchestra’s participation in the New Year’s Eve festivities held by the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, in the presence of Mikis Theodorakis, the Minister of National Defence Evangellos Venizelos, and the chiefs of the Armed Forces.
In 2010, the ‘Mikis Theodorakis’ Orchestra celebrates the 85th birthday of Mikis Theodorakis with a multi-concert tour culminating with the concert held on his birthday (July 29th ) at Lykabettus Theatre.
In 2011 and 2012, the ‘Mikis Theodorakis’ Orchestra was hit by both the financial crisis and the IMF, and as a result, the concerts it performed were reduced to a minimum.
In 2011, the Orchestra performed 4 concerts in Vrahati Corinth, in Sirna Arcadia, in Iraklio Crete and in Elliniko.
In 2012, the orchestra performed one concert at Makrisia in Ancient Olympia, and one concert at the ‘Dora Stratou’ Dance Theatre, in collaboration with the Municipality of Athens and KYADA (City of Athens Reception and Solidarity Centre), in order to support the collection of food for our fellow homeless and deprived citizens.
TRIBUTES - ARTISTIC COLLABORATIONS
The performances essentially represented a high level of Greek culture. As evidence of this we refer to the fact that in all these towns, the concerts were associated with the following:
- Tributes to Odysseus Elitis on the tenth anniversary of his death, with the presentation of the oratorio Axion Esti, and of the song-cycles Little Cyclades and Romancero Gitano.
- Tributes to Yiannis Ritsos with the presentation of the song-cycles Epitafios, Romiossini, Eighteen Little Songs of the Bitter Homeland.
- Music and songs of Mikis Theodorakis for theatre and cinema with the presentation of a program of the best-loved themes from his theatrical music and film scores. Some examples of these include Phaedra (1961, Jules Dassin), Elektra (1961-2, Michael Cacoyannis), Zorba the Greek (1964, Michael Cacoyannis), Z (1969, Costa Gavras), Serpico (1973, Sydney Lumet) and the works for theatre included A Hostage (1962, Brendan Behan), Beautiful City (1962, Michael Cacoyannis), The Song of the Dead Brother (1962, Pelos Katselis).
- Tributes to Yiannis Theodorakis, poet and brother of Mikis Theodorakis
- Popular Concerts with the presentation of a program dedicated to the well known popular and lyrical songs of Mikis Theodorakis.
The concert that took place in Beijing entitled The Songs of Passion and Love was an attempt to demonstrate the whole personality of Mikis Theodorakis, as the composer’s songs are linked to his symphonic music.
The joint participation of the Popular Orchestra with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra and the Choir of the National Symphony Orchestra of China unravelled the secret thread that links excerpts from popular works such as Epitafios, The Song of the Dead Brother, Archipelagos, The Deserters, and Radar, lyrical works such as Ballads and Mauthausen, oratoria like State of Siege, symphonic works like the 3rd Symphony, Symphonieta, Adagio and Helikon, works like Zorba, and even arias from his opera, such as Antigone.
Finally, on the tour of Latin America (Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires, Montevideo), the orchestra presented the best-known popular and lyrical songs of Mikis Theodorakis, as well as excerpts from Canto General, Theodorakis’s poetry by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
Unfortunately, in order to attain this goal, the orchestra has no longer the support of the Greek state, so only individuals, recognising the importance of the composer’s work, contribute to the Orchestra’s survival. Among these, Peter Kyriakidis is the main supporter making it possible for the orchestra to continue its hard work, highlighting the importance of Greek music and poetry.
“Mikis Theodorakis” Popular Orchestra
Yiannis Belonis, piano biography
Thanasis Vassilas, bouzouki biography
Yiannis Matsoukas, bouzouki biography
Xenofon Simvoulidis, oboe- flutes - english horn biography
Vangelis Kontaratos, guitar biography
Artemis Samaras, violin, viola biography
Lefteris Grivas, accordion biography
Stavros Kavalieratos, contrabass biography
Nikos Skomopoulos, drums biography
Stefanos Theodorakis-Papangelidis, percussion biography
General manager: Margarita-Aspasia Theodorakis
Coordination: Sophie Hayes
Planning & production manager: Maria Vlachos
Support: Alexandra Sgouropoulou
Public relations: Mary Vidiadou, Dimitris Argiroulis
Sound: Michalis Alexakis, Sakis Karasarinis
Projector engineer: Vassilis Azisis
Image processing: Michalis Galanakiskis
Address: 10-12 Dikaiou Street, 117 41 Athens
Telephone: (+30) 210 9200260 - Fax (+30) 210 9241362