Solon Michaelides – An influential personality
#InspirationalFriday – Solon Michaelides, a composer, musician, teacher and musicologist was an influential personality that transformed the society of Limassol at the beginning of the 20th century. Even though he is heavily associated with Limassol, as he spent almost two decades in the town, Solon was not from there. He was in fact born and raised in Nicosia. His love and passion for the coastal hub of Cyprus instigated his involvement in the cultural development of the town, this is why he is closely attached to Limassol.
He was introduced to music from the age of nine, when he received a guitar as a present from a fellow student. His passion for music turned him into a great guitar player, and even though he was self-taught he started teaching at the Cyprus conservatory, where he also learned to play the piano. After finishing high school, he followed Music Theory lessons by correspondence from Trinity College of London. During this time, he also studied gymnastics at the Pancyprian Gymnasium, receiving an award of excellence.
Michaelidis later moved to Paris with his fiancée to continue his studies as a music composer, with the financial support of his in-laws. The young composer was inspired so much by the cultural and spiritual center of the world that he wrote his first major composition, a symphonic poem “DE PROFUNDIS”, based on other creations of the time. After his studies he moved back to Cyprus, where he founded the Limassol Conservatory and the first Greek Orchestra of Cyprus. The period that followed was the most productive and creative time of his life. He started composing and researching musicology and presented many of his compositions to the Cypriot audience. During the next twenty years, he contributed immensely in the transformation of the society of Limassol, revolutionising the field of music and the artistic scene of the coastal town. Apart from the Concert Association of Cyprus, Michaelidis also founded Aris Choir, one of the oldest and most renowned choirs in Cyprus and in Limassol, leaving his legacy behind.
In 1957 he was appointed as the director of the state conservatory in Thessaloniki and it let to a great era for the conservatory. What most people do not know is that in 1962, Michaelides composed the first Cypriot National Anthem, for the official visit of Archbishop Makarios in Washington and Ankara, however the national anthem was never used. In November 1970 he retired from the conservatory and moved to Athens and continued his activities working as a conductor in Greece and abroad. Michaelides selected his topics from life around him, the Greek literature, the Byzantine tradition, the Greek antiquity, the struggle for freedom and the tragic modern history of Cyprus.
In 1979, Solon Michaelidis who suffered from lung cancer took his last breath in Athens, his corpse was transferred to Limassol for the burial. More can be found about Solon Michaelides in the municipal museum- Solon Michaelides records in Limassol #HouseofLontos.