Composer rejects anti-Semite dig
Veteran composer Mikis Theodorakis on Saturday reacted angrily to a decision by the Austrian parliament last week to cancel a scheduled performance of his song trilogy “Mauthausen” during the country’s annual memorial event for Nazi victims of the Mauthausen concentration camp over comments by the composer deemed to be anti-Semitic.
In an open latter to the president of Austria’s parliament, Barbara Prammer, Theodorakis wrote: “I regard as a dirty worm anyone who dares again to offend the most sensitive aspect of my character.” The outspoken 86-year-old added that opposition to racism and to anti-Semitism “was an integral part of my upbringing and the focus of my struggles.”
Prammer canceled last Thursday’s performance, citing Theodorakis’s “repeated anti-Semitic statements in past years.”
The trilogy, a composition from the mid-60s, sets to music the works of writer Iakovos Kambanellis, a friend of Theodorakis, who recounts his own experiences as a survivor of Mauthausen.