Mikis Theodorakis, Greece's Greatest Ever Composer And Political Activist, Has Died Aged 96

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Mikis Theodorakis, Greece's Greatest Ever Composer And Political Activist, Has Died Aged 96

Photo: Mikis Theodorakis performing at the Karaiskaki Stadium in Athens in 1974, following the fall of the military dictatorship.


Mikis Theodorakis, who is widely regarded as the greatest Greek musical composer to ever live, has died in Athens at the age of 96.


Theodorakis was well known for his music and is known internationally for creating the music used in such films as Z, Serpico, and Zorba the Greek. He was also known as an activist and campaigner, his links to the far-left political scene, and his fight against the 1967-74 Greek military dictatorship.


Mikis Theodorakis was born on the Greek island of Chios in 1925 and from an early age expressed a deep interest in music, giving his first concert at age 17.


In 1943 he moved to Athens, during which time the city was occupied by Nazi German forces. He quickly joined the Greek resistance group ELAS which fought against the occupying Germans. However, once the Germans had been defeated and Athens taken by the British, fighting broke out between both ELAS, which mostly favoured a communist style government, and the British, who wished to see Greece incorporated into the Western sphere of influence.


A civil war between the pro-Western Greeks, aligned and supported by the British and Americans, and the communist resistance, with whom Theodorakis sided erupted. The future music superstar was eventually arrested and tortured, on two occasions being buried alive.


From the 1950s to the late 1960s, Theodorakis moved between Greece and France and became internationally famous for his musical works, including the Zorba the Greek track used in the film of the same name.



After the Greek military installed a dictatorship in 1967 Theodorakis, who remained closely aligned to the banned Greek Communist party and the Greek-left, was once again exiled and imprisoned. His music was banned in the country.


He became a notable figurehead, opposing the dictatorship, and in exile spoke out against the regime on his world tour. Upon its collapse of the junta in 1974 Theodorakis returned to Athens to play a huge concert in front of tens of thousands of spectators.




In 1980 he was elected as a Member of Parliament, where he remained for 13 years. While he was a communist, he was also an MP for the center-right New Democracy party for 2 years, in what was an attempt to break a political stalemate.


Theodorakis remained politically active, speaking out against the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the bombing of Serbia in 1999.


Greece has declared 3 days of mourning on the news of his death.


[h/t: Greek Reporter]


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Thinking Humanity: Mikis Theodorakis, Greece's Greatest Ever Composer And Political Activist, Has Died Aged 96
Mikis Theodorakis, Greece's Greatest Ever Composer And Political Activist, Has Died Aged 96
Mikis Theodorakis, who is widely regarded as the greatest Greek musical composer to ever live, has died in Athens at the age of 96. Theodorakis was w
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