I am Constantinopolitan origin, but I was born in Alexandria, Egypt – in a house on Seriph Street- I was very young when I left and a lot of her my childhood I spent in England. Years later, when I was older, I visited this country, but for a short time, I was living in French then. As a teenager I lived two yeas in Constantinople. In Greece there were many years that I didn’t visit. My last work was as employee in a governmental office, that was dependent from the Ministry of Public Works of Egypt. I know English, French and a few Italian.
Autobiographical note by Constantine P. Cavafy
I never dreamed of becoming an anthologist of poetry, let alone when this is Cavafy, whom I consider to be one of the greatest poets in the world. All his poems, without exception, I think they are great, recognized or not. Anyway, I’m neither a philologist nor a critic of poetry. I’m an artist who loves Poetry and Poets, and one of my obsession is to unlock the music of their worlds. So, the unique criterion for the selection of Cavafy’s poems was very personal: which poems of Cavafy – whether they were singed out by me or not – they were by me in many phases of my life, some of them they accompany me in all of my life, some they make me sad. Because I follow Cavafy from my pre-teenage years – when my father at nights of the ’55, took me in his arms and read to me the “Walls”, “The Alexandrian Kings”, and more of them until the ’82, in that black theater Ronse inn Brussels, listening the deep voice of Paul Roland. We live in barbarian ways, poetry saw us the right way and with Cavafy to lighten it.
He was born on the 13 April 1947 in Patra. He is the older brother of Andreas Mikroutsikos, who is also a musician/composer and a television show host. His wife is children’s author Maria Papagianni, whom he married in 1996.
He studied piano in the Philharmonic Society of Patras and in the Hellenic Conservatory. In addition, he studied Mathematics in the University of Athens. He began composing at the end of the 1960s but only officially debuted in 1975, with the release of his album Politika Tragoudia (‘Political Songs’). He continued on this compositional path, setting to music the poems of Giannis Ritsos, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Manos Eleftheriou and Bertold Brecht, amongst others.
His albums Kantata gia ti Makroniso (Cantata for Makronisos), Fouente Ovehouna (Fuenteovejuna), Troparia gia Foniades (Hymns for Murderers) and Mousiki Praxi Ston Brecht (Musical Practice on Brecht) are characteristic of the climate of Metapolitefsi or Regime Change that was taking place in the period 1975–78. In particular, the Cantata for Makronisos, a pioneering piece in which Mikroutsikos experimented with atonality was extremely well received in international music festivals and an interpretation of particular note was recorded by Maria Dimitriadi.
His next album, Stavros tou Notou (Southern Cross), set to the poetry of Nikos Kavvadias, opened up further musical avenues for him, combining theatre, electronic music and atonality (a second album, Grammes ton orizondon, set to the poetry of Kavvadias was released in 1991). With the same devotion to poetry, he continued to set the works of Giannis Ritsos, Alkis Alkaios, François Villon and Constantine P. Cavafy, amongst others. In addition, he has written an opera, Eleni (Helen) and set to music several children’s fairytales.
He has worked with many renowned singers such as Maria Dimitriadi, Haris Alexiou, Manolis Mitsias, Dimitris Mitropanos, Vasilis Papakonstantinou, Christos Thibaios and Giannis Koutras, amongst others. His music has been particularly well received and recognised in Western Europe. During his compositional career, he has managed to liberate the form of Greek song, adding together elements from the modernist and classical western tradition. He also experimented with the combination of tonal and atonal sounds and with morphological variation.
He was artistic director of the New Music Society and the Musical Analogion, whilst he also worked with and directed the Patras International Festival.