ATHENS – Perhaps Greece’s greatest composer, Mikis Theodorakis, who scored Zorba the Greek, Axion Esti, the score for the film Serpico and other renowned works, has been celebrated by the Athens Academy for his lifetime of work.
Theodorakis, who was imprisoned by the military junta of far right-wing Colonels who ruled Greece from 1967-74, stands as one of the world’s prominent composers even into his late years. He is now 88.
The Academy’s President Spyros Evangelatos opened the ceremony, recalling how Theodorakis was distinguished amongst his peers at the start of his career in the 1950s, To Vima reported.
The Academy’s General Secretary Vasilios Petrakos spoke of Theodorakis’ life and body of work in relation to music, freedom and Greece, while welcoming him to the Academy’s ranks.
Theodorakis, an outspoken critic of the Greek government and its acquiescence to austerity demanded by international lenders in return for bailiouts, then took the stand and explained that the “only solution” for Greece is to take the Swiss example, just like Greece’s first Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias, and create a neutral country.
He elaborated on the great role and importance of Greece in western culture, sport and civilization and said Greece has not been truly free since it claimed its independence in 1821, blaming foreign interventions.
He said he believes that this foreign interest in Greece can paradoxically encourage Greek neutrality and lead the country into a new era of cultural and material growth, by overcoming the “middle ages” of the post-war era.