Mikis Theodorakis has died in Athens, aged 96. The Greek composer was best known for his film scores, including Zorba the Greekand Serpico, but he is credited with over 1,000 works including multiple symphonies, operas, ballets, chamber music and choral works.

Celebrating Mikis Theodorakis credit Heinrich Klaffs 700x530.jpg

Born on the Aegean island of Chios on July 29, 1925, his life was greatly shaped by two competing forces: his desire to compose music, and his left-wing and fiercely pro-Greek politics. As a 18 year-old he moved to Athens to pursue studies at the Athens Conservatoire, but at the same time joined the Greek People’s Liberation Army. In his autobiography The Ways of the Archangel,Theodorakis wrote about being arrested, sent into exile on the island of Icaria and then deported to the island of Makronisos, where he was tortured and twice buried alive.

Happily he survived, graduated from the conservatoire, and went on to a great musical career. He pursued further studies at the Paris Conservatoire under Olivier Messiaen, won the Gold Medal in the...