One of the most important guests of Pera Palace Hotel, which is one of the most magnificent historical buildings of Istanbul, was Greek singer Mikis Theodorakis. The beloved artist preferred Pera Palace Hotel to stay in Istanbul.
In addition to being a singer, Mikis Theodorakis was also a songwriter, composer, activist and politician. He was born on the 29th of July 1925 on the Greek island of Chios. He loved music so much that at an early age, he had tried to write songs by himself without any education. He took his first music lessons at a young age in Pyrgos and Patra; At the age of 17, he started to give his first concerts of Byzantine religious music with a choir he founded.
Mikis Theodorakis joined the resistance movement at the age of 17 as a result of Italy’s war with Greece. He was taken prisoner for a while, tortured and then sentenced to death. He was shot for execution, but he didn’t die by chance and survived. During the Greek civil war that broke out after the end of World War II, he was imprisoned and released many times, then exiled from the country. Theodorakis came to Paris after his exile and continued his musical education there.
In 1961, he returned to his home country, Greece, and was elected president of a youth organization he established. He was then elected to parliament, but his music was banned as a result of a relentless campaign of repression against Theodorakis. Despite the fact that the artist continues his political struggle, he is sent to prison once again and even to a concentration camp, and finally, through the worldwide solidarity campaign, his sentence was turned into exile.
During his time in exile, Theodorakis continued his political struggle and gave concerts around the world, exposing his country’s oppression regime. After the end of the Colonel junta power in Greece, he returned to his country. He actively participated in politics and founded the Turkish-Greek Friendship Association with Zülfü Livaneli. At that time, the artist’s Istanbul concerts had attracted considerable interest.
Mikis Theodorakis wrote almost a thousand songs during his art life; he composed numerous symphonies, ballets and operas; He wrote twelve soundtracks. Especially the soundtracks he composed for the “Z” and “Zorba” movies, his music has made a sound. He also brought together his political struggle and his views on art by writing two books. He has won many international awards with all these works.
The esteemed artist is now in his 90s and continues to work to attract the attention of the world in the face of tragedies in different parts of the world as his health permits.