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Manos Hadjidakis

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Manos Hadjidakis (Μάνος Χατζιδάκις) (1925-1994) was a Greek composer.

Hadjidakis was born on 23rd October 1925 in Xanthi, a tobacco-growing town near the northern border of Greece. His father, Yorgos Hadjidakis, a lawyer, was from Myrthio, the prefecture of Rethymnon, Crete. His mother, Aliki (Vasiliki), nee Arvanitidou, from Adrianople.

At the age of four he began taking piano lessons with Madame Altounian, a teacher of Armenian descent, in Xanthi. He also learned to play the violin and the accordion. In 1932, the mother and her two children, Manos and Miranda, settled in Athens and the parents divorced. In 1938, his father was killed in an air accident, on his way to Milan. This, together with the outbreak of the Second World War, left the family financially destitute. During the hard years of German occupation and after the liberation, Hadjidakis worked as a stevedore in Piraeus, as an ice seller, a worker in the Fix Brewery, an employee in a photographic studio, and as an assistant male nurse in the 401 Military Hospital.

At the same time he took advanced courses in musical theory under Menelaos Pallandios, an important figure of the Greek National Music School. He also entered the University of Athens to read philosophy, without taking his diploma. At this time he was nurtured by artists and intellectuals of the generation between the two World Wars (George Seferis, Odysseas Elytis, Angelos Sikelianos, Yannis Tsarouhis, Nikos Gatsos), who contributed greatly to the way his orientations and thought took shape.

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