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Mikis Theodorakis is among the most popular and prolific composers of Greece. Without question, he is the best-known Greek composer internationally. He was born on the island of Chios, Greece, on 29 July 1925. He studied at the Athens Conservatory, and, subsequently, at the Paris Conservatoire (music analysis with Olivier Messiaen and conducting with Eugène Bigot). From 1954 to 1960 he worked in Paris and London, composing symphonic music, ballet and film music, Zorba the Greek being his most famous score. In 1960 he placed himself as a leader of the regenerative cultural-political movement in Greece centered on the union of poetry and music, composing dozens of song-cycles, oratorios, revues and music for Greek drama among other things. This movement was connected with the progressive political forces of that period, which aimed, beyond the establishment of democratic life in Greece, at a much deeper and broader rebirth of the Greek people. This was to bring him often at the centre of political life, reaching a climax with his active participation in the resistance movement against the military dictatorship (1967–74).

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