Greece has a thriving cultural life that draws on a celebrated classical heritage. Plays written in Athens in the 5th century bc are still performed, and Greek architects have produced notable neoclassical buildings. Greek artists and musicians have incorporated Byzantine traditions as well.
Greece has a strong literary tradition, especially in poetry. Constantine Cavafy, a Greek poet who lived much of his life in Alexandria, Egypt, attained international prominence in the 20th century. His poems, many of them set in the classical era, reflect nostalgia for the past glories of the Greeks. The Greek past is also reflected in the work of 20th-century poets George Seferis and Odysseus Elýtis, who were each awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. The novels of Nikos Kazantzakis, including Zorba the Greek (1943; translated 1952), have been widely translated, and a number have been turned into films. A great deal of foreign literature is translated into Greek.
During the 19th century neoclassical architecture was the dominant style in Greece, reflecting the revival of interest in everything associated with the civilization of ancient Greece. Designers in the neoclassical style included Danish-born architects and brothers Christian and Theophilos Hansen, as well as Greek architects Stamatis Kleanthes and Lysandros Kaftantzoglou. Greek painting tended to be influenced by postclassical European models. Important Greek artists of the 20th century include Photis Kontoglou, who sought inspiration in the traditions of Byzantine art, and Theophilos Khatzimikhail, who painted primitive pictures of great originality. Nikos Khatzikyriakos-Gkikas, one of Greece’s greatest modernist painters, was greatly influenced by cubism. For information about the art and architecture of ancient Greece.
Traditional Greek dances such as the hasapiko, the tsamiko, and the kalamatiano continue to be performed at weddings and other celebrations. Ethnic Greek refugees from Turkish lands in Asia Minor were forcibly moved to Greece during the 1920s, and they brought with them their own dance tradition. Refugees from cities of the Ottoman Empire brought rebétika, songs of the urban working class that combined Greek traditions with Eastern influences. The refugees’ music and dance have had a considerable influence on the development of contemporary Greek popular music, including bouzouki (a Greek stringed instrument) music.
Important Greek classical composers of the 20th century include Manolis Kalomoiris, Nikos Skalkottas, and Yannis Xenakis. The world-famous opera soprano Maria Callas, born in New York City to Greek immigrant parents, received her musical training in Greece. Composers such as Manos Khatzidakis and Mikis Theodorakis have done much to popularize Greek music for a wider international audience. The Athens Concert Hall, completed in 1994, has given a considerable boost to the musical life of the country. "Greece" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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