Internationally renowned musician-composer who was greatly influenced by folk music and whose own creativity focussed on the song.
Born in Xanthi, his father was a lawyer from Crete and his mother, the daughter of Konstantinos Arvanitidis, from Adrianople. He spent the first seven years of his life in Xanthi where he also had his first piano lessons. Later, when he moved to Athens , he met a wide circle of intellectuals and artists who had an important impact on the course of his career.
In 1944 he wrote his first pieces for the avant-garde Theatro Technis. He composed the music for many Greek plays, for Greek and foreign films, as well as works for piano. He collaborated regularly with Karolos Koun’s Theatro Technis, with Rallou Manou’s Greek Dance Theatre, and the National Theatre, and his music was constantly heard in Greece throughout the second half of this century, except for the six year period during the Dictatorship when he lived and worked in New York (1966-72).
In 1948 he gave a lecture at Theatro Technis on rebetika (a kind of Greek blues), their value and potential for expressing and interpreting modern Greek reality -- ideas which provoked a good deal of controversy at the time.
Hatzidakis won many awards for his music, founded orchestras -- most notably the Orchestra of Colours in 1989 -- and directed the Third Programme of the National Radio and Television Network (ERT) with great success. He was also noted for his recordings; by the time of his death more than 110 of his records had circulated on the Greek market (including Street of Dreams, 1962; The Gioconda’s Smile, 1965; 15 Evening Songs, 1965; The Great Lover, 1972; The Time of Melissanthi, 1980; Reflections, 1993).
One of the greats of modern Greek music, he managed to distill the Greek tradition in his work, to promote it with knowledge and inspiration, while charting his own course, and simultaneously serving and teaching the value of culture and ethos.