In Memoriam: Mikis Theodorakis

On September 2, 2021, the Greek composer, writer and politician Mikis Theodorakis died in Athens at the age of 96.


Mikis Theodorakis was born on July 29, 1925 on the island of Chios. He studied music in Athens and Paris, among others with Olivier Messiaen. During the Second World War he was politically active in the resistance movement and was imprisoned several times. In the 1950s he mainly composed chamber music, ballet music, some symphonic works and his first film scores. He became known worldwide in 1964 for his film music for “Zorba the Greek”.
Mikis Theodorakis was a member of the Greek Parliament from 1964 to 1967 and was arrested again after the 1967 military coup. In 1970 he managed to escape into exile in Paris, from where he went on numerous concert tours. After his return to Greece in 1974 he worked primarily as a composer and conductor. His extensive compositional oeuvre includes more than 1000 works, including symphonies, cantatas, church music, oratorios, operas, film music and numerous songs.

For his services to music he received the Sibelius Prize (1963), the Gold Medal for Film Music (London 1970) and the Socrates Prize (Stockholm 1974). For his commitment to peace and international understanding, Mikes Theodorakis was awarded the IMC UNESCO Music Prize in 2005.

The video shows Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates in the famous dance scene from the film “Zorba the Greek” by Michael Cacoyannis with “Sirtaki” composed by Mikis Theodoraki.