On Saturday , February 26th 2005, the Hellenic Cultural Center of the Greek Archdiocese of New York will feature Grigoris Maninakis and his widely known "MIKROKOSMOS ENSEMBLE" of New York, in a concert presenting the music of the four most famous composers of Greece : Manos Hatdjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, Yiannis Markopoulos and Stavros Xarhakos. Hadjidakis , most famous for his music of the film "NEVER ON SUNDAY " is considered the greatest genius of all Greek composers of the 20th Century.

His musical style of intricate yet lyrical compositions has sealed the character of Greek music since the early 1940's . Well known throughout the world, he has spent several years in New York , in self exile , during the military junta dictatorship in Greece from 1967 to 1974. While in New York he collaborated with his long time friend, the world famous actress Melina Merkouri, in the staging, on Broadway, of the play "Illya Darling", the theatrical version of the movie "Never on Sunday".

Theodorakis , a friend and colleague of Hatzidakis, is not only the most prolific of all the composers but also , the most controversial, for his political views. Imprisoned and exiled during the civil strife in Greece in the 1940's and during the junta in 1967-74 he became known worldwide not only for his movie scores in the films "ZORBA THE GREEK" , "Z" , "Stage of Siege" and "Seprico" but also for the many hundreds of Greek popular songs and mainly those on the poetry of Nobel Laureate poets such as George Seferis and Odysseus Elytis as well as non-greek poets such Pablo Neruda of Chile , Brendan Behan of Ireland, Nazim Hikmet of Turkey and others.

The other two , Yiannis Markopoulos and Stavros Xarhakos are of the "younger" generation of great Greek composers. Markopoulos' charismatic musical compositions and orchestrations have their roots in the folk and traditional Greek music of the mountains and the Greek isles, and in particular of his native island of Crete . Xarhakos on the other hand has been known as the composer with the most pleasing to the ear and the easiest to absorb melodies by the common folk and which come the closest to the unparalleled sound of Rebetika , the songs of Greece in the 1920's, '30's and '40's.

The concert program will present a variety of songs from the various works of these great composers and is promising to create a "sing along" festive atmosphere, not only for those in the audience familiar with the songs but also for those who are looking for a most pleasing musical experience!

Grigoris Maninakis and the MIKROKOSMOS ensemble have performed in some of the most prestigious theatres and universities in the United States and have also toured Greece and Europe performing quality contemporary and traditional Greek music including the music of Rebetika.

The concert will take place at the theatre of the Cultural Center 27-09 Crescent Street , Astoria at 7 PM. Reservations and information at 718-626-5111.