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Born July 29, 1925, on the island of Khios. Greek composer and prominent social and political figure. Member of Greece’s Resistance Movement.
In 1948 and 1949, Theodorakis was imprisoned in a concentration camp on the island of Makronesos. In 1950 he graduated from the Athens Conservatory, where he had studied composition under P. Economidis. From 1953 to 1959 he attended the Paris Conservatory, studying musical analysis with O. Messiaen and conducting with E. Bigot. In 1959 he returned to Greece. Between 1964 and 1967, Theodorakis served in parliament as a member of the Union of the Democratic Left. Imprisoned shortly after the military coup in 1967, he was released in 1968 in response to world public opinion. In 1969, however, he was arrested again and sent to the concentration camp at Oropos, near Athens. In 1970 he was permitted to go to France, where he resumed his musical activities. He returned to Greece in 1974.
Theodorakis has composed symphonies, chamber works, songs, and dances, including several syrtaki dances. Among his works are the musical revue and song cycle The Angels’ Quarter; the ballet scores Orpheus and Eurydice, Antigone, and Les Amants de Teruel; the musical tragedy and song cycle The Ballad of the Dead Brother; and a musical score for Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus Tyrannus. He has also written music for several films. His vocal compositions include the song cycles Epitaphios, written in memory of those who were killed during the antifascist demonstrations, and Romiossini, as well as the oratorio Axion Esti, a work about the Greek struggle for liberation from fascist occupation. Theodorakis has performed on tour in the USSR.