CULTURE

A musical journey to success

With an extensive and impressive resume that goes back to the 1980s, Dimitris Papadimitriou has done much to be proud of: The soundtracks he penned back when he was known as a composer for films, the 22 albums he has released to date, the music he wrote for 20 theatrical performances covering a breadth of genres, the ground he broke – first – in music for television in Greece are but some of his accomplishments. For some 25 years, Papadimitriou has composed music for orchestras and song cycles, pieces for solo instruments, small and large ensembles, a symphonic rhapsody, an opera, a musical, and music that he has taken on tour around the world. Papadimitriou also composed the music for the television theme of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, while his time at the helm of Greek state radio’s prestigious Third Program, saw the station’s ratings skyrocket. Now, Papadimitriou can look back at his career and remember how his two landmark albums came about. 1980-2004: Twenty-four adventurous years since the first release and after hitting record sales as collectors’ items, «Landscapes» and «The Archangel of Passion» have been rereleased, this time by Sony Classical. It all began when he was a law student in Athens and working as an assistant to Manos Hadjidakis on the Third Program. He was able to put together enough money by giving private guitar lessons to record, in 50 hours, the piece «Different Landscapes.» «I kept the recording to myself for many years,» admits Papadimitriou. «Friends and colleagues, sensing the changes that were taking place on the music scene at the time, would trade cassettes with unpublished works.» This was how he became involved in the soundtrack of «Electric Angel,» writing the score in cooperation with Thanassis Retzis on the suggestion of Dimitris Lekkas. That score won the Best Soundtrack Award at the 1979 Thessaloniki Film Festival. The decision to publish «Landscapes» was not an easy one to make, according to Papadimitriou, because it did not contain any songs. Many private lessons later, the then-young artist managed to get enough money to cut 1,000 vinyl copies and record 500 cassettes. «My percentage was so small at the time, that every time an album was sold, I lost money instead of making any,» he says. After eight months of downhill struggle with the sales, Papadimitriou received a call from an American record producer. The problem was solved, but how come? Papadimitriou explains how every day the American would catch a ride with the album’s Greek producer and how he would play one of the local company’s recent releases to his American counterpart. Normally it would be something popular, but one day he accidentally put on «Landscapes,» changing Papadimitriou’s luck forever. In the meantime, things were also changing in the Greek music industry, turning more in the direction of pop. Nevertheless, in 2000 «Landscapes» was being sold as a collectors’ edition in Monastiraki for 40,000 drachmas (118 euros). «The Archangel of Passion» (the soundtrack for the film of the same title directed by Nikos Veritsis), on the other hand, has always held a special place in Papadimitriou’s discography because, he explains, «it balances somewhere between soundtrack writing and pure, free composition.» The music was twice awarded, first by the Thessaloniki festival and then by the Ministry of Culture. Now, both albums are embarking on a new, international, adventure.