Greek composer and political activist Mikis Theodorakis dies aged 96

Mikis Theodorakis, the beloved Greek composer whose rousing new music and life of political defiance won acclaim abroad and influenced tens of millions at home, has died Thursday at the age of 96.

is death at his household in central Athens was declared on condition television and followed several clinic admissions in modern a long time, mostly for coronary heart procedure.

His prolific vocation that started out at the age of 17 produced a hugely varied human body of get the job done that ranged from sombre symphonies to common television and the movie scores for Serpico and Zorba The Greek.

But the towering guy with his hoarse voice and wavy hair is also remembered by Greeks for his stubborn opposition to post-war regimes that persecuted him and outlawed his songs.


Mikis Theodorakis is hugged by his small children (AP)

“He lived with enthusiasm, a everyday living devoted to tunes, the arts, our nation and its people today, dedicated to the thoughts of freedom, justice, equality, social solidarity,” President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said in a statement.

“He wrote new music that grew to become intertwined with the historic and social developments in Greece in the put up-war yrs, music that delivered encouragement, consolation, protest and help in the darker periods of our the latest heritage.”

Born Michail Theodorakis on the eastern Aegean island of Chios on July 29 1925, he was uncovered to music and politics from a young age.

He commenced writing songs and poetry in his teens, just as Greece entered the 2nd World War. He was arrested by the country’s Italian and German occupiers for his involvement in left-wing resistance groups.

Some of these teams bitterly opposed the authorities and monarchy that led promptly Greece right after the war, top to a 1946-49 civil war in which the communist-backed rebels inevitably dropped.

Theodorakis was jailed and sent to distant Greek islands, which include the notorious “re-education” camp on the compact island of Makronissos close to Athens. As a result of intense beatings and torture, he suffered broken limbs, respiratory troubles and other injuries that plagued his health for the rest of his existence.

He endured tuberculosis, was thrown into a psychiatric clinic, and was subjected to mock executions.


Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis (Petros Giannakouris/AP)

Despite the hardships, he proven himself as a respected musician. He graduated from Athens Music University in 1950 and continued his scientific studies in Paris on a scholarship in 1954.

A prolific occupation as a composer began in earnest, as he labored in a enormous assortment of genres from movie scores and ballet audio to operas, as perfectly as chamber songs, historical Greek tragedies and Greek folk, collaborating with leading poets which include Spain’s Federico Garcia Lorca and the Greek Nobel laureate Odysseas Elytis.

A tunes collection based mostly on poems penned by Nazi focus camp survivor Iakovos Kambanellis, The Ballad Of Mauthausen, described the horrors of camp lifetime and the Holocaust.

But it was the Oscar-successful movie adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ Zorba The Greek in 1964, and the title score by Theodorakis that produced him a house identify.

The movie starring Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates and Irene Pappas picked up a few Academy Awards.

As Theodorakis’ fame grew, political turmoil in Greece continued, and his compositions have been banned by a armed forces dictatorship that ruled the nation between 1967 and 1974 — turning his tunes into a soundtrack of resistance that would be played at protest rallies for many years.

Tireless in afterwards daily life, Theodorakis continued to work with emerging artists and compositions that incorporated music for the opening ceremony of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and maintained an active fascination in politics.

He was a member of parliament for the Greek Communist Occasion for most of the 1980s but later served the cabinet of the conservative federal government. He spoke at rallies supporting Palestinian statehood, versus the war in Iraq and much more recently in opposition to an settlement to conclusion a name dispute between Greece and North Macedonia.