Mikis Theodorakis, the Greek composer best-known for his scores for the films “Zorba the Greek,” “Serpico” and “Z,” has died at 96.
In Greece, Theodorakis may have been as well-known for his political activism as for his music. An officer in partisan forces during the Nazi occupation in World War II, he was imprisoned by the British for activities in the leftist underground during the postwar Greek Civil War, and was jailed and then exiled by the military junta that ruled the country from 1967 to 1974. The regime also banned his music.
A onetime student of Olivier Messiaen, Theodorakis in the 1960s began to turn away from prevailing styles of modernist composition to incorporate traditional songs, dances and instruments, notably the bouzouki, into his works. In addition to his film scores, he was known for his songs and operas, a number of them set to classical Greek texts.
An obituary by Gail Holst-Warhaft for The Guardian: