Theodoros Karyotakis

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Theodoros Karyotakis ( Greek Θεόδωρος Καρυωτάκης , first name occasionally translated as Theodore ; * July 21, 1903 in Argos ; † June 14, 1978 in Athens ) was a Greek composer of classical music.


Karyotakis was a cousin of the poet Kostas Karyotakis . At the age of 14 he entered the Athens Conservatory as a violin student Galatia Balta-Ikonomidous. From 1925 he continued his studies privately with Dimitri Mitropoulos (harmony and composition) and Marios Varvoglis (instrumentation), but at the same time completed a law degree at the University of Athens . From 1937 he worked for the Bank of Greece for a few years , which he was able to leave a few years later to work exclusively as a musician.

In 1936 some works were performed for the first time in Athens, and soon afterwards his works were also performed in European and American music centers, especially the Small Symphony and the First Violin Sonata. Karyotakis was active from 1957 to 1978 as general secretary of the Greek composers' association and for the country's national music council.


In addition to some theatrical and symphonic works, a focus is on Karyotakis' songwriting. He composed vocal compositions with piano and various chamber ensembles, including the setting of five texts by his cousin. Stylistically, he began in the sense of the late Romantic Greek National School and gradually developed a more modern tonal language analogous to composers like Bartók or Stravinsky, until he finally  turned to serial techniques in the last years of his life .

Selection of works

Stage works

  • Music for Euripides ' Ion (1937)
  • Prometheus. Ballet (1943)
  • Fairytale drama Tou fengariou louloudi ('The flower of the moon', 1953-55)

Orchestral works

  • Ballad for piano, strings and percussion (1939)
  • Rhapsody for violin and orchestra (1940 or 1942)
  • Small symphony for string orchestra (1942)
  • Serenade for small orchestra (1955)
  • Three pieces for orchestra (1965)
  • Concerto for orchestra (1968),
  • Symphony in One Movement (1972)

Chamber music

  • Sonatina for piano (1935)
  • Prelude, chorale and canon for piano (1935)
  • Partita in Modo Antico for violin and violoncello (1936/1959)
  • Two sonatas for violin and piano (1945, 1955)
  • Old Style Suite for Flute and Piano (1946)
  • String Quartet (1949)
  • Fantasy for violin, viola and piano
  • Sonatina for violoncello solo (1963)
  • Trio for clarinet, viola and piano (1969)

Vocal music

  • Three songs for choir a cappella (1929–1948)
  • Four songs for voice and piano (1943–46)
  • Ta erotika (Τα ερωτικά, six songs based on texts by K. Ourani for mezzo-soprano, flute and harp, 1948)
  • Ta Thia Dora (Z. Panandoniou, 1954)
  • Three songs ( Giorgos Seferis , 1954)
  • The cycle of quatrains, eight songs after Kostis Palamas for soprano, mezzo-soprano and harp (1955)
  • Asma asmaton, oratorio (1956)
  • Ethries for vocals, clarinet, celesta, strings and percussion ( Odysseas Elytis , 1962)
  • The Death of Hector after Homer's Iliad for two storytellers, soprano, mezzo-soprano, mixed choir and 17 instruments (1964)
  • Adagio for voice and strings (Odysseas Elytis, 1968)
  • Orion for voice and violin (Odysseas Elytis, 1968)
  • Seven nocturnal quatrains for voice, flute, viola, xylophone, guitar and drums (Odysseas Elytis, 1969)


  • Takis Kalogeropoulos: Teodoros Karyotakis, in: Lexiko tis Ellinikis mousikis , Athens 1998–99 ( online at