American Hellenic Institute


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AHI Honors Greek Composer Mikis Theodorakis At Awards Dinner In New York City
June 15, 2000 No. 33/2000 (202) 785-8430

AHI Honors Greek Composer Mikis Theodorakis At Awards Dinner In New York City

On Saturday, June 10, 2000, the AHI honored legendary Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis with its Hellenic Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award. The gala dinner, held at the Grand Hyatt in New York, drew over 200 distinguished guests and featured Ms. Thalia Assuras, anchor of the CBS Saturday Early Show, as Master of Ceremonies.

Ms. Assuras opened the evening's proceedings with a short biography of Mikis Theodorakis' life, highlighting his work as a composer and political activist. She went on to note the work of AHI in its pursuit of the same ideals of justice, democracy and the rule of law.

Dinner Chairman, Mr. Peter J. Pappas, CEO of P.J. Mechanical Corp., congratulated Mikis Theodorakis and congratulated AHI for its 26 years of dedication to the Greek American community in consistently voicing the concerns and positions of Greek Americans to policymakers in Washington.

Following Mr. Pappas' remarks, Maestro Peter Tiboris, who on Sunday, June 11 performed the U.S. premiere of Mikis Theodorakis' opera ELECTRA at Carnegie Hall, presented remarks on "Classical Music Among World Hellenes: Myth or Reality. What is the Future?"

Following this informative speech, the guests were treated to a musical presentation of Mr. Theodorakis' songs. Performing the selected works were Ms. Stephanie Chigas, mezzo-soprano, accompanied by Ms. Kathy Olsen on piano.

The evening's main and final event, the presentation of the Hellenic Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Theodorakis, followed the performance. Presenting the award to Mr. Theodorakis, Mr. Eugene Rossides spoke of the composer who had become "a symbol of democracy and resistance to the 1967-1974 junta in Greece."

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Theodorakis spoke of the many contributions of Greek Americans to Hellenism. He expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome he has received from so many in the Greek American community since entering the United States.

The Dinner Committee for the event included a number of Greek Americans from throughout the county. Serving as Honorary Chairman was John Rigas of Pennsylvania, the Chairman and CEO of Adelphi Cable.