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Thanos Mikroutsikos

With over 40 albums and countless hit songs over his 25-year career, Thanos Mikroutsikos became one from the most important and critically acclaimed composers of the last decades in Greece.

Mikroutsikos was born in Patra on 1947. From a young age he started studying music (piano, music theory, and harmony) in the Philharmonic Company of Patra and the Greek Conservatory. He continued his classical music studies while he studied mathematics in Athens, with harmony, polyphony, fugue, and composition. He appeared in the music scene in the late '60s.

His first album release was the politically themed Politika Tragoudia in 1975, which was released during a politically intense period for Greece. The album's songs were based on poetry by Nazm Hikmet and Wolf Biermann. The composer himself sang two of the songs while the rest were performed by Maria Dimitriadi. The next years he released many politically themed discs. Cantata Gia Tin Makroniso, based on Giannis Ritsos poems, combined with Spoudi Se Poihmata Tou Vladimir Mayakovsky, was released in 1976. The songs were performed again by Maria Dimitriadi, featuring Sakis Boulas, Afroditi Manou, Giannis Zouganelis, and Giorgos Mixailidis. The next year he released Fuente Ovejuna Tou Lope De Vega which was written for the theatrical play of the same name, and Troparia Gia Foniades, based on poetry by Manos Elutheriou. On both records sang Maria Dimitriadi and Giorgos Merantzas. In 1978 he released Mousiki Praxi Ston Brecht, based on poetry by Bertolt Brecht, featuring singer Giannis Koutras, and Tragoudia Tis Leuterias, based on poetry by Alkis Alkaios, Bertolt Brecht, Manolis Anagnostakis, Giannis Ritsos, and lyrics by Fontas Ladis. Once again Maria Dimitriadi performed all the songs on the later disc.

In 1979 Mikroutsikos released Stauros Tou Notou. The album, based on poetry by Nikos Kavvadias, became one of biggest-selling albums in Greek music and his best-known work. Giannis Koutras, Aimilia Sarri, and Vasilis Papakonstantinou performed the songs on the album, which featured the hits "Ena Maxairi" and "Enas Negros Thermastis Apo To Djibouti." Next year he released Euripides IV, based on texts by Euripides Works. Misa Ikeoutsi, Marielli Sfakianaki, Konstantinos Paliatsaras, and Antonis Kontogeorgiou sang in the album, while Eirini Igglesi narrated. His success continued with the 1982 album Embargo, which featured the hits "Erotiko," with Manolis Mitsias, and "Kakoithes Melanoma," sung by the composer himself. Maria Dimitriadi, Kostas Karalis, and Vlasis Mponatsos also participated in the album. The album was based in lyrics by newcomer Alkis Alkaios and combined successful rock ballads, electronic rhythms, and Greek folk music. Alkaios and Mikroutsikos would become frequent partners the following years. The next years he released O Geros Ths Alexandreias and Arapia Gia Ligo Papse Na Xtypas Me To Spathi in 1983 and Victor Victoria in 1985 for the Greek version of the play of the same name.

In 1986 his new album H Agaph Einai Zali, his first collaboration with singer Xaroula Alexiou, targeted a wider audience and brought fame and success along with new hits like the title track and "Eleni." Lyrics were provided by Nikos Kavvadias, Alkis Alkaios, Mpampis Tsikliropoulos, and the composer's brother Andreas Mikroutsikos. These albums signalled a turn to a wider audience throughout the '80s and '90s. Next year he released Ston Mano Loizo, an album dedicated to Manos Loizos, with lyrics by the Nobel Prize-winning poet Giorgos Seferis. Fragiskos Voutsinos sang the four songs of the album. Ola Apo Xeri Kamena was released in 1988 with lyrics by Kostas Tripolitis and featuring Vassilis Papakonstantinou. In 1989, he released three albums: Ellas Katopin Aortis, for the play of the same name; Oso Krataei Enas Kafes, again with lyrics by Alkis Alkaios, Kostas Tripolitis, and Giorgos Paurianos; and Krataei Xronia Auth H Kolwnia, his new collaboration with Xaroula Alexiou and lyricist Lina Nikolakopoulou that featured such hits as the title track and "Tilefonitis."

In the '90s he continued releasing albums very frequently. In 1991 he released Oi Grammes Ton Orizonton, an album based again on poetry by Nikos Kavvadias. The album contained the songs from Stavros Tou Notou in new versions with different orchestration and six new songs. Giorgos Ntalaras, Vassilis Papakonstantinou, Xaris and Panos Katsimixas, and Mikroutsikos performed the songs. The album was criticized for containing mostly new versions of old songs, but was again a big success for Mikroutsikos. His success continued with the release of Syggnomi Gia Thn Amyna in 1992, a collaboration with Giorgos Ntalaras and Kostas Tripolitis, Volpe d'Amore in 1994, featuring Italian singer Milva with new implementations of older hits in Italian, and Stou Aiona Thn Paraga in 1996, a collaboration with Dimitris Mitropanos and lyricists Alkis Alkaios, Giorgos Kakoulidis, Kostas Lahas, and Lina Nikolakopoulou. Stou Aiona Thn Paraga featured hits like "Mia Palia Fotografia," "San Planwdio Tsirko," "Panta Gelastoi," and "Roza," one of both Mikroutsikos' and Mitropanos' most well-known songs.

Once again in 1997 he released Poihsi Me Mousiki, an album based on poetry by Konstantinos Kavafis, this time featuring singer Kostas Thomaidis. The same year he released H Istoria Tis Loulou, with music for the play of the same name, and Psaxe Sto Oneiro Mas, with lyrics by actor Lakis Lazopoulos. The album featured Dimitris Mitropanos, Eleutheria Arvanitaki, Kostas Thomaidis, Katerina Kouka, Kostas Makedonas, Laurentis Maxairitsas, actor Giannis Mpezos, Dionysis Tsaknis, and both the lyricist and the composer. The album featured hits like the title track and "To Mhden." In 1998 he released O Thanos Mikroutsikos Tragouda Thano Mikroutsiko, an album featuring Mikroutsikos singing many of his old hits with his unique singing style. Next year he collaborated again with Vassilis Papakonstantinou and lyricist Odysseas Ioannou on the album Thalassa Stin Skala.

In 2001 he released Ston Topo Mou Eimai Teleia Xenos, based on poems by Francois Villon, featuring Giannis Xristopoulos, followed by O Amlet Tis Selinis the next year. The album featured Xristos Thivaios and lyrics by Manos Eleutheriou, Kostas Tripolitis, Odysseas Ioannou, Giorgos Kakoulidis, Kostas Lahas, and Tzeni Mastoraki. The title track became a hit, just like "O Amlet Tis Vroxis," "Den Eimai Allos," and "Control." In 2004 he released O Sxoinovatis, another album based on poetry, by Giannis Ritsos this time. Kostas Thomaidis and Georgia Syllaiou sang on the album. His last album release was Yperoxa Monaxoi in 2007. He once again worked with Alkis Alkaios, Manolis Mitsias, and Xristos Thivaios.

Besides all the albums he released over these years, he also composed many operas and symphonies, chamber music, and music for the cinema. Also he was artistic director of Patra's Festival and of the Musical Stand at Megaron Mousikis until he was appointed as Alternate Minister of Culture. In 1994, with the death of the Minister Melina Mercouri, he was appointed as the new Minister of Culture until 1996. ~ Panagiotis Mantzaridis

    Patras, Greece
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