Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis passed away at the age of 96. He was best known as the composer of the Dance of Zorba, the music of the 1964 film Zorba the Greek.
Theodorakis composed at an early age. He studied at the Conservatory in Athens and then in Paris. In his long career, he wrote numerous pieces, ranging from opera and ballet, to cantatas and film music.
Internationally he became famous for the Dance of Zorba, which nowadays counts as the traditional music on which the sirtaki is dancing. The single, released in the Netherlands as Zorba the Greek, is one of the biggest top-40 hits of all time. A dance version made the charts in the 90s.
Theodorakis was also a political activist and had good ties with the Communist Party in Greece. In World War II, he joined the Greek resistance and was also active during the Greek Civil War between the Communists and the Greek Government supported by the United Kingdom and the United States.
After the coup d‘état in Greece by colonels in 1967, Theodorakis was banned from listening to his music. After the fall of the regime, he returned and went into politics. He was a member of the Greek Parliament several times and from 1990 to 1992 he was a secretary without a portfolio in Prime Minister Mitsotakis’s government.