The Greeks considered him an immortal, given how narrowly he survived imprisonments and ill-treatments and how active he was in the artistic and political life of his country.
Mikis Theodorakis walked alongside his homeland for nearly a century: as part of resistance during the Nazi occupation (1941-44); imprisoned during the Greek civil war (1946-49); part of the opposition during the colonels’ dictatorship (1967-74); then imprisoned again before going into exile in France until 1974. For the former pupil of Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory, several decades of participation in Greek public life followed: as deputy and even minister (in the government of Konstantinos Mitsotakis, father of the current prime minister) he was an ardent defender of culture and bringing peoples together (Greeks and Turks, among others). For a few years he was the conductor of the choirs and orchestras of the ERT, the Hellenic National Radio and Television.
In 2018, at almost 93 years old and in a wheelchair, he forcefully demanded a referendum on the Macedonian question, speaking to the hundreds of thousands of Athenians gathered in front of Parliament. But the choral world knew Mikis Theodorakis above all thanks to his music: from the masterful work of Canto General, in which he sets the words of Pablo Neruda to music, to his many melodies, based mainly on the texts of Greek or Spanish-speaking authors, through to unforgettable film scores (yes, Zorba the Greek, but also many others!). And operas. And symphony music. And chamber music...
Theodorakis often raised his voice. However, on September 2 he fell silent and his soul flew into the Athenian sky to find his friends Melina Mercouri, Pablo Neruda and many other of the main players of the 20th century. Dear readers, I will tell you a secret: I absolutely wanted to interview Mikis Theodorakis for the ICB. Unfortunately, it is not to be, so let’s give the floor to some of those who worked with him...
Isabelle Métrope, ICB Managing Editor
Official magazine of the International Federation for Choral Music, the International Choral Bulletin is published quarterly in the four official languages of IFCM: English, French, German and Spanish. It is distributed in more than 80 countries on the five continents and is the official voice of choral music around the world.Read more
Our focus at the moment is to unite the choral calendars of international choral organisations. Meanwhile please consult the calendar of choral events published by the European Choral Association - Europa Cantat here.Read more