Yannis Mantakas

Links on Yannis Mantakas

The honorary volume for Giannis Mantakas. Published by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2001.

Yannis Mantakas

The founder of the choir

Ioannis Mantakas (1932-1998) was an outstanding contemporary musician, music educator and choir director. As a law student in 1953 he founded the AUTh Choir in 1953 and was the director of the AUTh choir from 1953-1993. He was the director of the Macedonian Conservatory from 1966 to 1979. He taught music at the Pedagogical School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki during the period 1985-1993.


He was born in Thessaloniki on March 4. His father, Nikolaos, came from Chania, Crete, and his family played an active role in the Revolution, the Macedonian Struggle and the National Resistance. His mother, Margarita, was the daughter of Argyris Zachos, who as a diplomat offered his services in the Macedonian Struggle alongside Ionas Dragoumis. These origins turned his interest to the history of the place, art and European culture and made him a cosmopolitan, with open ideas and high aesthetics.

He began systematic music studies with teachers the director of the Macedonian Conservatory Epameinondas Floros and his son Konstantinos. He attended Counterpoint, Fugue and Choir conducting classes.

He began writing music criticism notes in the newspapers of Thessaloniki, which continued until 1978. From time to time he collaborated with the newspapers "To Fos", "Nea Alithia", "Makedonia" and "Ellinikos Vorras".

Already a law student, he founded the AUTh Choir. and a little later the Music Department of the University Student Club of AUTh. This field was his main field of action, for which he received the greatest recognition for his contribution to the musical events of Greece. He renewed the choral music by introducing a new repertoire, making many first performances of Greek and foreign works, especially of the Renaissance, Baroque and modern times. He organized numerous concerts and events in Thessaloniki, Athens and in many cities in Greece.
At the same time, he regularly participates in major choral festivals abroad. He has made several record productions, many programs for radio and television, music releases, choir meetings, music education seminars and choir music seminars. All these activities continued uninterrupted until 1993.

A regular contributor to the National Radio Foundation and the Radio Station of Macedonia, he presented a series of programs, through which he featured the work of dozens of Greek composers and recorded the chronicle of the Greek music avant-garde of the 20th century. His collaboration with the radio ceased in 1991.

Member of the Association of Greek Theatrical and Music Critics.

Member of the Association of Greek Theatrical and Music Critics.

He served his military service.

He also studied theory and choir conducting in Germany with H. Lemacher and K. Thomas.

He founded the Choir of the Radio Station of Macedonia.

He attended a seminar on the Carl Orff music education system in Germany.

He married Eleni Sefertzi, a pianist and teacher of French in Secondary Education.

His daughter Margarita was born, today an important choreographer. He began his international presence, participating in the events of the European Federation of Young Choirs Europa Cantat. In the context of this collaboration, which lasted until 1991, he gave with the AUTh Choir. concerts in Nevers, France, Brussels and Namir, Belgium, Graz, Austria, Munich, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe and Kobletz, Germany, Basel and Lucerne, Switzerland, Aarhus, Denmark, Barcelona of Great Britain. He also organized and directed international choir workshops and was considered pan-European as one of the most experts in the field of contemporary choral music. He attended Contemporary Music classes in Athens with Giannis A. Papaioannou. at the German GATE Institute of Thessaloniki.

He organized the first "Meeting of Choirs", introducing for the first time in Greece a successful model abroad and creating a new institution in the musical events of our country. Later he will develop into a "Choir Week" and a "Meeting of Youth Choirs and Orchestras". He began his educational activity as a professor of Advanced Theory at the Macedonian Conservatory. In total he taught Theory, Choir Conducting and modern Music Education Systems in conservatories for about 40 years. He attended contemporary music composition seminars at the Darmstadt Academy of Music with Pierre Boulez and Gyorgi Ligeti.

Organized in Thessaloniki for the first time "International Choir Week", in collaboration with the European Federation of Youth Choirs Europa Cantat. Three more events will follow, in 1980, 1983 and 1986.

He participated in the "Greek Weeks of Contemporary Music" where he presented in his first performance works by contemporary Greek and foreign composers.

Director of the Macedonian Conservatory of Thessaloniki. From this position he fought systematically and achieved important reforms in the conservatory education programs in Greece. He often participated in committees and working groups of the Ministries of Culture and Education, as well as in conferences and seminars of music education abroad.

Chryssa, his second daughter, was born, today a remarkable set designer - costume designer.

Member of the Board of Directors and President of the Greek Section of the International Society Heinrich Schutz.

Invited by the Lincoln Center in New York and the State Department Educational Exchange Program, he visited universities and institutes in Washington, Florida, Atlanta, Michigan, Bloomington, Philadelphia, to study contemporary American music. greek music creation.

For many years he was a member of the board of ETOS / SFOC (Special Fund for Organizing Concerts) of the Thessaloniki State Orchestra and member of the Artistic Committee of the Young Artists Week of the Thessaloniki International Fair.

At the invitation of Manos Hatzidakis, he founded the Attica Choir, within the framework of the Athens State Orchestra.

Director of the New Conservatory of Thessaloniki. Together with Karolos Trikolidis, they organized for the first time in Greece the School of Music Education.

He taught music at the Pedagogical School of AUTh

irector of the Municipal Conservatory of Kavala. He organized the Music Camp of Kavala, with the participation of students from conservatories all over the country, an institution that continues to this day.

Suffers from a rare disease of the motor neuron.

He died in Thessaloniki on December 26.

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