Lucas Thanos is a Greek composer, director, choreographer, translator and writer. Known for his deep research in Ancient Greek drama, he became one of the best world experts in staging ancient chorus in the tragedies of Aeschylus.
His music style is formed under the influence of Byzantine music, works of Bach, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone and M. Hadzidakis. Thanos positions himself, first of all, as a classic composer, being an author of many symphonic works, piano concerts, suites, operas, and chamber music. Despite that, he has tried himself in many musical genres, from synth pop and jazz to traditional and ethnic.
Choreography is another whale of his versatile personality. Same as with music, Thanos possesses deep knowledge in this field, having dedicated years and years to studies of dance from classical ballet to jazz and breakdance, its practical and philosophical sides along with application in different kinds of art.
Lucas Thanos (Greek Λουκάς Θάνος) was born in Vyronas, a city from the agglomeration of Athens, named after Lord George Gordon Byron, Greece, in the family of a teacher of Greek language and literature Markella Thanou (née Papadopoulou) and teacher of Mathematics Christos Thanos. His birth was conducted by Grigoris Lambrakis, a famous doctor and member of the Greek resistance to Axis rule during WWII, who later became a prominent anti-war activist. Markella Thanou, his mother, currently lives in Los Angeles. She is a second prize winner of Balkan Athletics Championship for table tennis and a beautiful amateur singer, who gave a bunch of concerts in Greece and America. Christos Thanos, his father, was a teacher at school, however, was known in all the city of Byron as a person of arts and culture, was writing poetry and holding at their house a literature salon, where Lucas had a chance to meet great poets, singers, musicians. It was his father who introduced Lucas to K.Varnalis, whose poetry he put on music and made his first breakthrough with one of his most famous works Salpisma together with Nikos Xylouris, a legendary Greek singer.
His younger sister Amalia Maria Thanou lives in Los Angeles together with their mother. She is a professional athlete, dancer, actress and lawyer. His uncle Dimitris Papagiannis is a famous Greek actor and for many years was a head of Drama School ‘Iakovos Kambanellis’. Georgos Thanos, the uncle from the paternal side, was an athlete and got the second prize in the World University Championship in Paris and for six years was a winner in Balkan Athletics Championship in the pole vault. It was him who took Lucas into athletics instead of a ballet dance school, believing that he should follow the family tradition. Despite this, Lucas was hiding his sport shoes in the shrubs by Kallimarmaro Stadium and secretly attending ballet classes cross the street in Rallou Manou School of Dance. Dimitris Thanos, Lucas’ cousin, was a poet, on whose poem, Mia Kori, he composed one of the songs for the album Salpisma.
Lucas started his music classes at the age of 4, having 5 pillows on top of his chair to reach the piano in Athens Conservatoire. ‘Why don’t you do your home task? If you don’t study well, what are you going to do in your life, sell lemons in the street? – I am going to become a composer! – But you can’t become a composer, you have to be born a composer. – I will!’ That conversation between Lucas and his mother took place approximately that time and came out to be true. Going on with his wish, soon Lucas had 7 years of studies of music theory with Giannis A. Papaioannou, famous Greek composer and teacher.
Byzantine church music had a huge impact on Thanos’ formation as a musician and composer and was introduced to him by his grandfather, Ioannis Papadopoulos, a priest of Greek Orthodox church. Basically, Thanos was growing up from the age of 3 in church, spending days there with his grandfather, who was in a way an artist with a beautiful tenor, whose voice one can hear in another successful Thanos’ album Metalipsis, on ‘In Those Days’ track (there he sings one of the gospels from 12 Gospels Night, the part of Orthodox Easter Service).
After his incredible youthful success with the album Salpisma, 16-year-old Thanos has left for studies to Rome, to the Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" for Sociology and Philosophy, along with ballet classes at Scuola di danza Teatro dell' Opera di Roma. This time he gets married to Idili Tsaliki, young singer and composer, and has a son from this marriage, Christos Thanos, well-known actor and director in Greece. His studies take him to Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia for Conducting for 2 years. The next stop was The Royal Conservatoire of Music, Toronto, Canada, where Thanos continued his piano studies. From there he went to Julliard School of Music, New York for music theory, focusing on Bach’s chorales, then Columbia University, where he went for Master of Fine Arts in Film for Directing, and his teacher there was Milos Forman. Studies were interrupted with other studies – dance classes in the New York dance environment of the era, particularly Steps New York. It was modern techniques and jazz. The non-stop research took him to Los Angeles, as he jokes himself “to be a bit closer to the Californian sun”. There, at Stanley Holden Dance Center, he was attending for three years ballet classes with Alexandra Denisova, whom Thanos considers his major teacher of dance. Simultaneously he was attending Depree Dance Academy, practicing jazz, and was going for acting classes of Milton Katsellas, having Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney as his classmates, and at the Actors Studio, Los Angeles.
“What do you think I am? You think I’m nothing?” – jokingly asks Thanos with a quotation from his own film “Orestia” and replies himself with another one: “A humble vaudevillian veteran, cast both vicariously as composer, director, choreographer, translator and so on,” paraphrasing Alan Moore. It’s his particular feature and kind of a hobby to collect quotes and endlessly to recite poems. His other joke is that, while studying in Italy, he became rather an expert in pizza and pasta, than a sociologist. In life a very easy-going humorous person turns into a strict and focused one once it is about his work. Skilful translator and writer, he has mastered several foreign languages, creates tongue twisters, puns, phonetic twists and uses them in his performances, linguistically “torturing” his actors, making them work on pronunciation and articulation with different breathing techniques he has developed. This love to the language and the word got him into another marriage with Olha Thanos, who “failed to translate a libretto for his opera and had to marry him as a compensation,” as she jokes.
Now Lucas Thanos lives with his wife and her child in Greece.