Composer Yannis Markopoulos.

In Tuesday’s (6/14) Musical America (subscription required), Sarah Shay writes, “Greek composer Yannis Markopoulos, known for incorporating traditional Greek instruments into the classical orchestra—’return to the roots,’ as he called it—has died in Athens at the age of 84. He had been suffering from cancer during the last year. Credited with refashioning the landscape of contemporary Greek music, Markopoulos wrote for voice, orchestra, and opera, and scored for film, theater, dance, and TV. Born on March 18, 1939, in Crete, he studied composition and orchestration at the Athens Conservatoire. When a military dictatorship took control of Greece in 1967, Markopoulos left for London, where he studied with English composer Elizabeth Lutyens. While there, he wrote some of his landmark works, including the secular cantata Ilios o Protos (Sun the First), the music for Shakespeare’s The Tempest at the English National Theater, Chroismoi (Oracles) for symphony orchestra, and the Pyrrichioi Dances A, B, C. After returning to Athens in 1969, he fashioned an ensemble from students and young intellectuals that performed works combining Greek elements with international sounds … Markopoulos’s songs became powerful tools against the military dictatorship and contributed to the restoration of democracy. Beginning in 1980, Markopoulos began to focus on classical works [for orchestra] as well as oratorios, sonatas, chamber works, and song cycles.”