Lucas Thanos has made a huge impact on music, working in various fields and genres. His first-ever work was writing music for a theatrical play “Bones and Bats” by David William Rabe, staged at Aliki Theatre, directed by Dimitris Papamichael.
A little after this, being just 16-year-old, he composed, orchestrated and conducted an acclaimed album “Salpisma” on works of Greek poets, performed by a legendary Greek singer Nikos Xylouris, which was released in 1978. Musicians, who participated in the record, were Vangelis Papangelidis, Dimitris Papangelidis, Nikos Touliatos, Manos Avarakis, and Stelios Vamvakaris. Producer of the album G. Petsilas ordered an orchestration for the songs, which young Thanos completely rejected since he had in his mind quite another approach. Surprisingly Petsilas accepted this, in a way taking a risk, trusting a young kid to handle a big project. In a week Thanos came up with a ready work, and the recording started with his own arrangement.
The next record was “Anastrophi” (1983), where Thanos was trying to find new forms, exploring jazz, rock and their combinations. The lyricist was his old friend Paya Veaki, the head of Veaki School of Drama in Athens. This experimental album was enforced by incredible musicians: G. Maglaras, Th. Stratigos, Ph. Tseberoulis, V. Dertilis, G. Zikogiannis, N. Andipas together with Lucas Thanos on piano.
After Thanos tried to explore newly appeared electronic music. He composed and produced album “Jazzburger” (1984), which is considered a pioneer work in the field of electronic music with combinations of newly born synth-pop, New Wave and Abstract. As a matter of fact, that supposed to be a soundtrack for a movie, that has never been shot, telling a story of a group of friends trying to make their way to the music stage. Now it is included in the compilation album of Netherland DJ Arne Royale.
“Nancy” (1981) was a rock-opera, libretto made by another friend of Lucas Angelos Provelengios, a talented actor and writer, who came up with an idea to create this work. The story tells us about a rock star with drug problems, who tragically dies from her addiction in the end. The musical part was as a result of exploring and experimenting with different kinds of modern music, sound patterns and ideas.
In 1983 Thanos directed musical “Choose your Dream”, where he was also a composer, with a libretto written by Paya Veaki. Staging of this musical got him an award for best music at Ithaka Theatre Festival in Greece.
Another musical in his portfolio was “City of Mice”, libretto by Philisa Hatzihanna, produced by THOC, Cyprus, which brought another award for best music at Children Theatre Festival in Germany.
After this Thanos leaves for America for new explorations of music and dance. In 1987 he works on a project at Actors Studio, Los Angeles, writing music and dancing in “Snow White”, a play by Lane Bradbury. It was a theatrical performance, largely enriched with modern ballet choreography, performed by Lucas’ colleagues from Stanley Holden Dance Center.
His next creation was musical “Dreams” (1988), based on the book by Eli Rill, who previously had watched the performance of Snow White and got fascinated with Thanos’ music, thus gave him his book with an idea of a new project. For the first time, it was performed in Actors Studio and was attended by many great actors, among which was Jon Voight, who especially appreciated the work and wanted to collaborate in the future. Dreams appeared to be a musical inspired by “All That Jazz” and Bob Fosse.
Along with “Dreams” Thanos participated in another project – theatrical performance “Olympic Games” in collaboration with Sting and his band at Ebell Wilshire Theater, Los Angeles, where he shows himself as a composer and a dancer.
Having all this baggage of experience Thanos marks 1991 by starting his one of the most fundamental and beloved work “Isadora”, which cannot be limited just by one genre or field. The phenomenon of Isadora Duncan became a focus of Lucas Thanos attention for many-many years. The first music form dedicated to the famous barefoot dancer was the opera ‘Isadora in Athens’, which was written for the opening of the Isadora Duncan Centre in Vyronas, Greece. That time Thanos was a director of this centre and its recreator. Later he was developing some themes, created choreodrama, which was performed for the first time by the Moscow Chamber Orchestra in 1996, conducted by Constantine Orbelian, a famous conductor and art director. This year Thanos also continued his research on Isadora Duncan with her last student and repetitor alive - Elena Terentieva, observing her movements during her classes.
Eventually, this project grew into 3-part opera “Isadora” for full symphonic orchestra, singers and dancers, children opera “Isadora”, describing her early years, using his own libretti, piano pieces “Isadorables” and “Isadora” suits.
‘The Early Years of Isadora’, the first part of the opera, was performed by Minsk Symphony Orchestra conducted by Walter Mnatsakanov, prolific conductor, composer and influential teacher, in 1998.
On the way from Minsk to America Lucas Thanos decided to translate his libretto into English. Most of it was developed in Greyhound buses, following Isadora’s path, when she left from San-Francisco on her way to Greece. As soon as parts were shaped, he tried to perform at several college theatres in America.
For many years it was abandoned for other projects. Despite that it is an ever-lasting, on-going process, growing and growing.
Meanwhile, in 1993, Lucas Thanos decided for the sake of experiment to try himself in pop music and translated his English song to Greek, which took him right away to Number 1 in the Top 10 Charts for several weeks in Greece. The album “Fresh Hits” was produced by Thanos and D. Panopoulos, released by Sony Records.
Being in love with poetry for all his life, Thanos dedicated a lot of his talent to putting poetry on music. One of his homages to Greek poetry is his huge work on the poem of a known Greek poet K. Palamas, “Twelve Words of Gypsy”. It is a trilogy for symphonic orchestra and choir. Some parts of it were released as an album “Dodekalogos tou Gyftou” in 2016, performed by Giannis Haroulis.
The quintessence of Thanos’ life-long research became his opera Prometheus, based on the translation of K.H.Myris of Aeschylus’ tragedy “Prometheus Bound”. Opera was composed in 2014 and later orchestrated for full symphonic orchestra, choir and soloists. It was first performed in 2018 at Kolonou Theatre, Athens with soloists Psarandonis, Vassilis Gisdakis, Christos Thanos and Christos Rammopoulos together with leading musicians Stavros Parginos (cello) and Stefanos Dorbarakis (kanonaki) and Municipal Choir of Athens. It is a third attempt in the world after Orf and Wagner to make an opera on Aeschylus’ “Prometheus Bound”.
Unusual collaboration with the only living poet, as Thanos jokes himself, P. Dimitropoulos, lead to a creation of the neo-classic album “Hronos Erotikos” (Love Time), 2017, for piano and voice. Voice part belongs to a famous Greek singer Stavros Siolas, piano – Lucas Thanos himself. Another work of theirs is “Kori Adamasti” (Untamed Maiden), performed by Nikos and Giorgos Stratakis and their music team from Crete.