RETURN

Leonidas Zoras

Conductor, Composer
He was born in Sparta on 23/02/1905. He studied advanced theory at the National Conservatory. He also took singing lessons under Argyri Gini and orchestra conducting under Ivan Butnikov, Dimitris Mitropoulos, Dionysios Lavrangas and Emilios Riadis. In 1928 he was assigned conductor of the Mixed Choir of the National Conservatory. He was closely associated with Manolis Kalomiris and his work. He debuted as an opera conductor in the work The mother’s ring [To dachtilidi tis manas] (1933). He collaborated with the National Melodrama Group. He continued his studies on a state scholarship at the Academy of Music Berlin (1938-1940) in orchestra, chorus and opera conducting (Fritz Stein, Walter Gmeindl), and composition (Hermann Grabner, Paul Höffer, Boris Blacher). In 1940 he conducted The mother’s ring and Madama Butterfly at the Berlin Volksoper, as well as works by Greek composers on the German Radio. Upon his return to Greece, he was appointed conductor with the GNO (1940). He conducted 20 operas, four operettas and two ballets, in a total of 65 productions and/or revivals (1940-1958, 1977). He conducted the premieres of several works worldwide and in Greece. He collaborated with many acclaimed artists (Kostas Paskalis, Maria Callas, Eleni Nicolaidou, Nikos Moschonas, Enrico Mainardi, etc.). He conducted Greek orchestras (Athens State Orchestra, Thessaloniki State Orchestra, Orchestra of the Greek State Radio [EIR]), as well as orchestras in Paris and Germany (Dresden State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Gewandhaus Orchestra and Leipzig Theater). A disagreement with the GNO administration led him to move to Germany where he conducted at the Berlin State Opera, RIAS Radio Station and Dortmund Opera (1958-1968). He has been artistic director with the National Conservatory (1968-1975), and a member of the board of the Greek Composers’ Union, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), the jury of the competition “Maria Callas,” the Advisory Council of the Athens Festival and the GNO Artistic Committee. He composed orchestral and vocal works, as well as chamber and stage music, presented in Greece and Europe. He died in Athens on 22/12/1987.