Difficult times for the great composer.
The great composer Yiannis Markopoulos was admitted today, Friday, May 5, to the Intensive Care Unit of the Athens General Hospital “Alexandra” after complications from the cancer treatment he had been suffering from for the past year.
There will be another announcement regarding his health path. These are the first details on the progress of the great composer’s health, with news causing concern around the world.
Who is Yannis Markopoulos?
He was born in 1939 in Heraklion, Crete. His father was Georgios Markopoulos, the former governor of Lasithi and his mother, Irini Iraki, was from Sitia. according to Wikipedia, he spent his childhood in Ierapetra, where at the conservatory he received his first music lessons in theory and violin. His early influences come from local music with its fast dances and short, repetitive patterns, from classical music, as well as from the music of the wider eastern Mediterranean – particularly neighboring Egypt.
In 1956 he continued his music studies at the Athens Conservatory with composer Georgios Sklavos and violin teacher Joseph Pustidui. At the same time, he was accepted into Pantheon University for Social and Philosophical Studies while simultaneously composing for theatre, film and dance. In 1963, he was awarded for his music in Mikres Aphrodites by Nikos Koundouros, at the Thessaloniki Film Festival, and in the same year his musicals Theseas (Dance Drama), Hiroshima (Ballet Suite) and Three Dance Sketches were staged by New Dance troupes. From October 1965 to April 1984 he provided the music for all plays staged by the Barba Mitosis Puppet Theatre. This puppet theater finally came to an end on April 15, 1984.
Run to London
In 1967, a dictatorship was imposed on Greece and Yiannis Markopoulos left for London. There he enriches his musical acquaintance with the English composer Elizabeth Lutyens. He also composed Helios’ first secular cantata in the poetry of Odysseus Aelitis (for which he was honored with the 1979 Nobel Prize), and the music for Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (for Art Theatre, directed by Karolus Kohn). At the same time, he completes the concert “Behold the Bridegroom”, a work which retains an anecdote, except for one section, of the famous Zafara-Katra-Nimea, which is among his most famous pieces. During the same period he met the composers Iannis Xenakis and Yiannis Christou and came into contact with the most innovative musical acts. In London he still composes choirs, for symphony orchestra, and the first Berrodian Dances A, B, C, (among the 24 he completed in 2001), which were performed in 1968 by the London Concert Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth II. Hall. Then he also wrote Shakespeare’s music The Tempest, staged by the National Theater of England, and directed by David Jones.
In 1969 he returned to Athens to contribute to his work on the restoration of democracy. It creates a new movement for art and its utility and seeks a deeper unity of man with his natural and social environment.
At the beginning of the 70s, he realized his musical vision: he presented musical works characterized as a whole by a new proposal and intersection of the Greek musical reality hitherto then; Works with the unity of the composer’s aesthetics and philosophical point of view in the basic terms of their principles, but each of them is different. He establishes a new and strange orchestral scheme, and establishes, with his compositions, the essence of musical coexistence and the coherence of expression between symphonic and domestic instruments, through his melodic and rhythmic horizon, his harmonic structures and his transparent orchestration scores. At the same time, he strongly suggests “returning to the roots”, which means “designing the future, with a reflection, study, and approach to the established sources of living art in the world and selected information on contemporary art.” This proposal of his takes on the dimensions of an artistic movement.
A little later he founded the Palintonos Harmonia Orchestra, which consisted of symphonic and Greek instruments. He performs in the Ledra studio and later in the “Kyttaro” store with young singers and musicians. He teaches the way to interpret his music and songs, in the aesthetic direction he has always sought. Besides theatrical moments and visual decoration, he prepares a multimedia musical show. Intellectuals and students fill his spaces every day, despite the obstacles of the authorities at the time. His songs such as Ochtroi, Loya ia chroni, A thousand thousand waves, Lengo (Greece), Gigantas, Kato sti sis Margaritas to alonaki, Kafeneion ei Hellas, Our place is closed, The words complain, I speak of my children and many others, have become symbols and legends. The same happens with his musicals Free Besieged, O Stratis o Thalassinos between Agapanthos, Helios o Protos, Chroniko, Citizenship, Plateau, Term and Emigrants – in verse and verses of Solomos, Seferis, Elytis, KX Myr, Michigan. Katsaros, Eleftherio, Skourtis, Theodorides and his King.
In 1976 he composed the music for the BBC TV series Who pays the Ferryman? The music’s success has been a topic at the top of the British Hit-Parade for months, while making the composer internationally known.
In the following years, this popularity is expressed by numerous invitations to concerts, and Markopoulos makes frequent trips around the world. He successively visited, and gave concerts with his works, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Naples, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Brussels and London as well as various cities in Russia and Australia.
In his artistic production, of course, his music for theater and cinema has an important place: music for the works of Euripides, Aristophanes, Menander, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Beckett as well as contemporary Greek playwrights, and for his films Koundourou, Dassin, Kosmatos, Manousakis, Scalenakis, Grigorios and others.
In January 1981, he joined singer and collaborator Vasiliki Lavina. Their daughter, Eleni, was born. For a period of time, the composer seeks a more private life with his family, while he begins his preparations for the opening of a new chapter in his music: in the body of his new compositions, melodic explosions appear based on an expanded polyhedral of his harmonic structure – the fruits of his imagination – reinforced by a passion of inexhaustible vitality.
Among the compositions of this period, we note works for chamber music, four quartets, two sonatas, five pieces for violin and piano. Among the works of instrumental music are Concerto-Rhapsody for Harp and Symphony Orchestra, Recordings for String Orchestra, Symphony of Iasis, as well as two steps and two cycles for Song. In 1994, he composed one of his most important works, the Liturgy of Orpheus – for voice, choir, and orchestra – which deals philosophically with redefining man’s relationship to nature. Next is Renaissance Crete between Venice and the City, Musical Journey in 4 Sections, Opera Erotokritos and Virtue, Figures in Motion, Piano Concerto Inspired by Pythagoras, Auspicious Landscape, Fantasy for Solo Flute, Law of Rest, Presentation of Oratorio Music for Voices, Chorus, and Brass Band , Ballet and Portraits, 16 Peruvian Dances 1980-2001, Trio for Flute and Harp Strings (2007).
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