Even during the 1950s, the Greek music scene can be said to be dominated by the principles of the ” national school ”, which arose at the beginning of the 20th century (remember the manifesto-article by Greece Lambelèt, La Musica Nazionale, which appeared in 1901 in Panathìnea magazine) and with M. Kalomiris (1883-1962) as its greatest representative.
The first reactions to the dominant orientation, however, already came from a group of composers of the older generation; in particular D. Mitropoulos (1896-1960) and N. Skalkottas (1904-1949).
Together with Mitropoulos – who had frequented F. Busoni in Berlin between 1921 and 1924 -, but in a much more decisive way, Skalkottas was among the first Greek composers to introduce the dodecaphonic technique in Greece Student for the composition of Ph. Jarnach (1925-27) and A. Schönberg (1927-31), he left Germany in 1933 to return to his homeland. In Athens he carried out an intense activity as a composer until the last few years, to the recovery and dissemination of which the Association named after him turned since 1950.
Another important composer of this period is GA Papaioannu (b. 1910): a pupil of his compatriot E. Riadis (1890-1935), as well as of A. Honegger in Paris, he contributed to the diffusion of dodecaphony and serial techniques in Greece Almost all the most important Greek composers of the younger generations were trained at his school.
With A. Kunadis (b.1924), M. Theodorakis (b.1925) and M. Chatzidakis (b.1925), who came to the fore during the 1950s, we can speak of the emergence of a ” second national school ”, whose assumptions were very different from those that had characterized the previous one: it was in fact a prevalent revival of urban folklore motifs which, in the particular case of Theodorakis, were not separated from the use of political themes linked to the resistance against German occupation. To this same generation belong Greece Sissilianos (b. 1922), Greece Christu (1926-1970) and M. Adamis (b. 1929).
Sissilianos passed from the neo-classicism of the 1950s to joining serialism in the following decade; Christu, a student of HF Redlich’s composition in Cambridge in the 1940s and who died prematurely, especially in the 1960s began an experimental work that led him to an original and fruitful overcoming of some canons of the musical tradition. Adamis especially experimented with electronic music.
In the 1960s a succession of initiatives brought about important changes, giving new impetus to young composers, and making Athens and Thessaloniki the two main musical centers.
In 1962 Papaioannu, who already at the end of the previous decade had aroused wide interest in the work of Skalkottas, founded together with Greece Becker the Studio for New Music at the GoetheInstitut in Athens. In 1965 the Greek Association for New Music was founded as the Greek section of the Société Internationale pour la Musique Contemporaine, which was responsible for a series of important initiatives, including the organization from 1966 of the Modern Greek Music Weeks. A notable role played in these same years (1964-67) by the Athens Experimental Orchestra, founded and directed by Chatzidakis. In 1967 T. Antoniu (b. 1935) founded the Greek New Music Group. The State Orchestra (1959), the University Chamber Choir and the Instrumental Group were particularly active in Thessaloniki,
These and other initiatives allowed the acquaintance in Greece of a group of composers of the Greek musical avant-garde, many of whom resided abroad. This is the case for example. by A. Logothetis (b.1921), I. Xenakis (b.1922), N. Mamangakis (b.1929), GS Tsuyòpulos (b.1930), Greece Ioannidis (b.1930) and S. Gazuleas (b. 1931).
Many of these composers refer in part to folklore, in part to the classical tradition, in particular to ancient tragedy. The work of Xenakis perhaps deserves special attention, although it is difficult to speak of him as a true representative of Greek music, working in direct contact with the groups of the European avant-garde.
The middle generation includes among others D. Terzakis, I. Zotos (b. 1945), Ch. Xanthudakis (b. 1950), Gh. Kurupòs (b.1942), Gh. Aperghis (b. 1945) and K. Sfetsas (b. 1945); among the youngest stand out D. Travlòs, Gh. Zervòs, N. Christodulu, M. Grigoriu, N. Kypurghòs, Ch. Vrontos and P. Kukos.