Music of Greece's greatest composer Mikis Theodorakis is coming to Sydney

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Mikis Theodorakis

Mikis Theodorakis is regarded as the greatest orchestral and choral composer in Greek history, having written over 1000 songs including epic orchestra masterpieces, and the internationally famed music for the Academy Award-winning film Zorba the Greek. 

And now the music of Mikis Theodorakis is coming to Sydney on Friday, May 24, 2019, at a concert titled MIKIS THEODORAKIS: ROMIOSINI AND BEYOND, which is a musical event celebrating his incredible body of work.

Bringing Theodorakis’ music to life in the grandeur of Sydney's City Recital Hall will be international vocal soloist Dimitris Basis and internationally acclaimed orchestra conductor, composer and arranger, and Musical Director and Conductor for the Athens Olympics, George Ellis who will lead the four-piece Greek band and 40-piece orchestra. The renowned Greek instrument the Bouzouki will also feature in the second half of the concert.

basis theodorakis

The first half of this two-part concert event features Theodorakis’ Romiosini, written in 1966. Incredibly moving, it is a Cycle of Songs based on the poetry of Yiannis Ritsos, winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1975, describing hard-fought struggle and summoning pride in Greek culture. This will be the first time thatRomiosiniwill have been played by a full symphony orchestra. The concert’s second half, will be a celebration of Theodorakis’ popular music including his world-famous score for Zorba the Greek and other much-celebrated work in cinema.

Maestro George Ellis explained, “Romiosiniis scored for full symphony orchestra and solo voice. The orchestra for Sydney will consist of the finest musicians along with Concertmaster Dimitris Calligeros, who trained in Holland and is of Greek-Australian background. The superb vocal soloist for this performance is Dimitris Basis from Athens, of major international standing.”

“Consisting of nine songs, Mikis Theodorakis set the poetry of Yiannis Ritsos to the music of power and supplication. Via our special personal relationship with Mikis Theodorakis, it is his request for us to present the masterpiece that is Romiosini.  This concert also presents popular songs written by the great maestro, it is a huge pleasure to present these songs with some of Australia’s best orchestral musicians, specially selected for this performance.”

The word romiosini or “Greekness” derives from the Byzantine idea that the Greeks are the true Romioi, the true heirs of the Roman Empire. For hundreds of years under the Turkish occupation the flame of romiosini was kept alive in codes of honor, loyalty, bravery, love of the land, religious devotion and patriotism.

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In May 2005, he took part in the celebrations in honour of the eightieth birthday of Mikis Theodorakis. Dimitris Basis is a Greek singer and musician from the village of Cherso near the city of Kilkis in Central Macedonia.  Born in Stuttgart, his parents lived in Germany for many years, he came to Greece for the first time at aged eight when his entire family returned to Herso, a small village near the Greek-Macedonian border. At age nine, he started chanting the liturgy in the local church and three years later he began to study Byzantine music. Gaining his diploma at the age of seventeen he used to sing at many cultural celebrations.  At twenty years old, just after his first steps in professional singing, he was discovered by Stamatis Kraounakis and Warmer Music Company who offered him a contract. When he released his first album it was a tremendous success with over 120,000 sales. Dimitris' voice started to be heard not only in Greece but abroad as well.  He has performed all over the world and previously in Australia at a series of concerts with Irini Haridou.

George Ellis Conducting at City Recital Hall


George Ellis is an internationally-acclaimed orchestral conductor, composer, and arranger in Sydney. He conducted the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and millennium Choir at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and was Musical Director and Conductor for the Athens Olympics. He has presented concerts internationally, conducting in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Athens and many more.


Friday 24 May at 7.30pm | City Recital Hall

Bookings: cityrecitalhall or +612 8256 2222