Mikis Theodorakis is one of the most important Greek music composers. His origins are from Crete, his father comes from the region of Chania and his mother from Asia Minor. He was born in Chios in 1925. He studied in Athens and then in Paris during the period 1954-1959, with intense artistic creation.
Besides a great music composer, he was a politician, a former minister, a four-time elected Member of the Greek Parliament with the CCP and ND, and an activist honored with the Irene Lenin Award in 1983.
In 1957 he won the Golden Prize at the Moscow Musical Festival. He returned to Greece and created his musical works, such as Epitaph, Epifania, and Small Cyclades, Axion Esti, Romiosini, works that have their roots deeply in Greek music.
In the same period, he is involved in the political affairs of the country after the murder of MP Gregory Lambrakis in 1963. He founded the Democratic Youth Lambrakis, where he became chairman and in 1964 elected a member of the parliament of the Single Democratic Left. His left beliefs led him to forbid his songs to be heard on the radio.
In 1963 he wrote the music for the Zorba the Greek. Through the film, the Syrtaki dance was recognized and established everywhere as the Greek dance with its roots in traditional Cretan music. His compositions have been performed by world-famous artists, such as the Beatles, Shirley Bassey, Joan Baez, and Edith Piaf.
In 1967, during the junta in Greece, his songs were forbidden. He is arrested in August 1967. It is followed by his imprisonment, isolation, Averof Prison, the great hunger strike, the hospital, the release and home confinement, the displacement with his family in the area of Zarouna in Arcadia, and finally the camp Oropos. Many of his new works are managed in various ways to pass them abroad, where they are sung by Maria Farantouri and Melina Merkouri.
For four years, he struggles to overthrow the Junta, giving concerts around the world. He meets prominent personalities such as Pablo Nemda, Nasser, Tito, Arafat, Mitterrand, and Palme. For millions of people, Theodorakis becomes a symbol of resistance in the dictatorship.
In 1974, with the restoration of democracy, he returned to Greece and continued his work with concerts throughout the country and abroad. He is elected again as a member of the parliament with the Left Party and in 1990 he becomes Minister in the Mitsotaki government.
Beyond his artistic talent, Mikis Theodorakis has been distinguished for his love of the country, human rights, peace, internationalism, and a warm ecologist.