INTERKULTUR mourns the passing of its Honorary Artistic President, and one of the most important contemporary artists, the renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. He passed away on September 2, 2021 at the age of 96 in Athens, his homeland in Greece.
Mikis Theodorakis composed more than 1000 pieces of music combining the tradition of Greek folklore with modern poetry, as well as a large number of works for orchestra, including seven symphonies. In addition to his songs, he became most famous for his groundbreaking choral symphonic works Canto General (1982) (text: Pablo Neruda) and the oratorio “Axion Esti” (1960) (text: Nobel Prize winner Odysseas Elytis), which ingeniously combined incomparable Greek folklore with the modern musical styles of the time. The music for the Oscar-winning film “Alexis Zorbas” (1964) brought him international fame and marked a masterpiece that moved generations. Politically anchored in the progressive Greek movements and struggles of the post-war years, he served as his country’s Minister of State in the 1990s and was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize at the time.
In 2007, after a personal meeting at his residence in Athens with INTERKULTUR President Günter Titsch and First Vice President Wang Qin, a closer cooperation with INTERKULTUR was established: immediately following this personal exchange, Mikis Theodorakis offered to support the artistic and peacemaking work of the Choir Olympic Movement and was consequently appointed one of the Honorary Artistic Presidents of INTERKULTUR, the World Choir Games and the World Choir Council.
He was delighted to receive this distinction and has been supporting the organization ever since:
“I accept with enthusiasm and a sense of responsibility, aware of the scope and importance of this great international organization and the resonance of its activities. It has put its commitment at the service of one of the most meritorious acts in the field of musical practice and human existence: It provides for the dissemination of music in its highest, most ideal form, it unites people and peoples, and it brings euphoria to our inner world like few other things.”
Over the years, there have been frequent joint meetings and discussions between INTERKULTUR and Theodorakis. Most recently, he played a decisive role in the founding of the International Choir Competition & Festival in Kalamata, Greece. His piece “Sto perijiali to krifo” was enthusiastically sung together by all participating choirs there. In Mikis Theodorakis, Greece and world culture lose one of its greatest contemporary artists and national folk heroes. The INTERKULTUR team and President Günter Titsch are with his family and loved ones in their thoughts and remain eternally grateful to him for his great support of the Choir Olympic Movement. They are proud to have such a personality, who had dedicated his life to the struggle for freedom and peace, in their ranks.