© Haris Bilios

Without a doubt, Mikis Theodorakis, who became world-famous mainly for his music for films such as Alexis Sorbas and Z, is the most important Greek composer alive today. And the range of the composer, who was born on the island of Chios in 1925, goes far beyond film music. Having been a student of Olivier Messiaen in Paris in the 1950s, Theodorakis has written a multitude of symphonic works, cantatas, oratorios and chamber music. Among his five operas, Antigone (1997) and Lysistrata (2002) stand out. The composer’s oeuvre, which is so vast it is difficult to catalogue, also includes about 1000 songs, for which Theodorakis was inspired by the most important Greek poets and world literature by Pablo Neruda, Nazim Hikmet and Federico García Lorca. Since his active resistance against the Greek military dictatorship (1967-74), the staunch socialist has often taken an active role in the politics of his homeland, but has also taken a stand in international conflicts.