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ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑ ΤΟΛΙΚΑ - OLYMPIA TOLIKA

Olympia Tolika was born in Thessaloniki in 1944. Her father was an army officer. However, his soldierly mentality did not prevent him from loving music, especially classical music, and implanting it in the minds and hearts of his children.
Dinos studied medicine in the University of Thessaloniki and specialized in neurology and psychiatry. Olympia also entered the same school but very soon she gave up in order to dedicate herself to music. She took her diploma in phonetics, in Higher Theory of Music and the Dramatic Art from the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki and continued her studies in melodrama in the Apolonio Conservatory of Athens.
She co-operated with known choirs (Thessaloniki University, XAΝΘ etc) as a soloist and worked for twenty five years in the Greek State Theatres – in the State Theatre of Northern Greece, “The Thespian Chariot” and the National Theatre – while at the same time she was translating pieces of international grammatology for “Sky” (“Ouranos”), “Skoufas” and “EI” magazines and “Elafos” publishing house.
She also worked in the free theatre  (theatre companies: Papamihail-Vougiouklaki, Titos Vandis, Ladikou, Barkoulis, George Pantzas etc) and later on she herself directed ancient drama within the activities of regional theatrical programmes subsidized by the European Union (Euripides: “Iphigenia in Aulis ” Arta 1986-8)
The critics distinguished her modest and responsible way of Referring to the play “Julian, the man of vision” acting of Nick Zakopoulos, Babis Klaras wrote in “Vradini” newspaper on 15th April 1981: “Olympia Tolika played the role of the bard of the Emperor with a sweet voice and melodiousness and Alkiviadis Margaritis wrote in “News” newspaper on 23rd April 1981: “Mrs Tolika has been noteworthy in her two brief appearances” She co-operated with the state television for six years (ΥΕΝΕΔ Thessaloniki) and taught speech training and history of music in the private theatre and cinema education.

IN THE EUROPEAN ART CENTRE
In 1990, the poet Evangelos Andreou invited her to the European Art Center and beside him Olympia Tolika started a new impressive course of international range in the cultural journalism and musicological research in which she made a name for herself mainly as a lexicographer of music.
In the European Art Center she made the acquaintance of the famous Polish philosopher Vlodzimiers Kaczocha, professor in the Pedagogical University and the Highest State Academy of Music in Poznan, whom she presented to the Greeks for the first time through the tranlation of his essay “Problems of Young People’s Aesthetic Education” (Publ. “Education and Art”, 1992)

THE DICTIONARY OF BYZANTINE MUSIC
In 1992 Olympia Tolika undertook the research for the compilation of the one-volume Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Byzantine Music, which circulated the following year-together with a special English section. It was the first systematic effort, made internationally, for the lexicography of the Byzantine music and poetry.
The dictionary was welcomed with enthusiasm by the critics of Athens press, men of letters, professors and of course by the church leaders with the Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the head of them.
Three thousand and five hundred entries were included in the dictionary. Famous Byzantine musicians, bishops, first chanters and professors with the first chanter Manolis Hatzimarkos as their counselor co-operated with Tolika for the elaboration of the dictionary.
The monk Nektarios Kolias from Mount Athos, who was a philologist and professor of Mount Athos Academy worked also beside Tolika.

THE UNIVERSAL DICTIONARY OF MUSIC
In 1995 Olympia Tolika’s life-work was taken to the printer’s, after a seventeen year historical and musical research. It was the Universal Dictionary of Music which included more than seven thousand and five hundred entries.
The painter, Amalia, undertook the illustration of the portraits of the composers, Oreozili Karagiannopoulou facilitated the printing financially and the European Art Center undertook the whole publishing procedure.
Fourteen eminent personalities honored the work: The Mayor of Athens, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the composer Theodore Antoniou, the composer Dionysios Visvardis, the professor Vlodzimiers Kaczocha, the professor Dimitrios Loukatos, the professor Orestis Louridis, the Rector of Athens Polytechnic, Nickos Markatos, the professor Ler Natotseny (New York), the professor Fembi Nikolaidou, the professor Florian Dabrofski (Poznan), the professor Christof Droba (Cracovia), the cellist Lefteris Papastratou, the professor Manolis Hatzimarkos and the Chairman of the National Association of Greek Men of Letters of Cyprus Kypros Chisanthis.
The work became widely known with most of the critics of Athens press dealing with it. The first edition very soon went out of print.
The second edition came out by “Stohastis” publishing house. The year when the Dictionary appeared in the bookshops Olympia Tolika was honored, during the presentantion of her lexicographic work, in the assembly hall at Athens Polytechnic. There talked quite favorably the musicologist Giannis Papaioannou and Manolis Hatzimarkos. More than one thousand listeners applauded the presentation which was accompanied by the recital of Lefteris Papastavrou with Parry Derembei on the piano.
Both dictionaries had the approval of the Ministries of Education of Greece and Cyprus.

COPYRIGHT
In 1992-1994, the journal of Α.Ε.Π.Ι. LTD “Copyright” came to Olympia Tolika’s hands. She made a new layout with exclusive interviews of Greek and foreign creators and important theoretical texts on music. She secured the collaboration of known Men of Letters and Art such as the poet Evangelos Andreou, Manolis Hatzimarkos, Michalis Archontidis, Aspasia Zavra-Konstantopoulou, Chris Pyrpassos and she opened new pages for the presentation of younger artists such as Nickos Fylaktos, George Fakanas, Edy Nersesian…..
During Olympia Tokika’s time, the journal issued an extensive and exclusive interview of the greatest composer of the world, Krzysztof Penderecki who was still alive as well as an interview of the top music theorist Florian Dabrowski from Poland. At the same time the journal was approved by the Association of Cultural Journals of Editors and Journalists (Ε.Ε.Σ.Π.Π.ΑΝ).
When the managers of Α.Ε.Π.Ι decided – according to their assessment – to change the journalistic journal into a special luxurious issue which would promote the objects of the Company, Olympia Tolika retired quietly and uncomplainingly just as it suited to the character of a real “Lady”
“EI” AND “APODEMON EPOS”
There where Olympia Tolika really exhausted herself was the period 1993-1998 when she was in charge of “EI” and “Apodemon Epos” magazines. Since she had a centralized character and she went to no end of trouble in order to do her job well, she used to work until the small hours in the office of Kefallinias street and go all over Attica like an athlete for the needs of the cultural reportage, the supervision of the printing and the administrative processing of the files.
She was personally responsible for the communication of the magazines with people abroad, the correction of the essays and she herself ran the translation section so as to give Greek readers the opportunity to come into touch with modern foreign literature.

THE COMPLETE WORKS OF ANGELOS VOUDOURIS
In 1996-1997 the European Art Center undertook the musicological and publishing task as well as the promotion and distribution of “The Complete Works of the Orthodox Church Byzantine Music” that had been written by Angelos Leontiou Voudouris (1891-1951), professor of Divinity, writer and first Domestichus of the Patriarch Church of Instanbul during the time when Jacob Nafpliotis was a first chanter.
Most of the task was left in Olympia Tolika’s hands who, with the help of Manolis Hatzimarkos, finished the monumental edition of the 18 volumes with the 8000 pages. The whole edition has been acknowledged by the Ecumenial Patriarch Vathholomeos.

THE CRITICS AND THE HONOURS
Olympia Tolika’s name went beyond the Greek frontier. Her lexicographic work was displayed in the big exhibition “Hermes” which had been organized by the American Organization “Parthenon Production” in New Jersey and was displayed again in the exhibition “Greece in print” which was organized by the American Organization “Cosmos Publishing” in New York. The publicity of her work reached the “Greek Days” in Calcutta and the Italian Academy of Verbano appointed her corresponding member of the class of letters.
In Greece, nearly all famous critics dealt with her work. Dimitris Stamelos, Kostas Haralambidis, Nickos Dokas, Stelios Artemakis, Kostas Papapanos, Dimitris Giakos, Kypros Chrisanthis, Isabella Malovrouva, Danae Papastratou, Michalis Stafilas, Kyriakos Valavanis, Giannis Plahouris, Maria Kambagiannaki, Lily Bita, (“National Herald”, New York), Dimitris Karambalis and Stavros Stavridis. Also, known journalists of the Greek and Cypriot press such as Vasilis Platanos, Panagiotis Maritsas, Nina Vlahou, Krystalla Hatzidimitriou, G.N. Papathanasopoulos, Stephanos Skarpelos, A. Hatzithomas, Stavroula Papaspyrou, Danae Maritsa, Vana Papadopoulou, Helen Farson, Nikanor Kambos. Also, the professor Dimitris Loukatos dealt with the work publicly, the musicologist Giannis Papaioannou and professor Christof Droba (Cracovia). In 1997 the Municipality of Paeanea awarded her the “Demosthenion” medal and the Honourary Diploma of the Cultural Feasts “Saint Athanasios 97”, Kisamou and Selinou metropolis awarded her an “Honourary Diploma and the Co-ordinating Committee of the Students’ Panhellenic Races gave her a parchment “for her co-operation and great contribution”. During the last years of her life she was the Vice-President of the “Unifying Process of Authors”, a member of the Board of the “Association of Cultural Journals of Editors and Journalists” (Ε.Ε.Σ.Π.Π.ΑΝ) and she was one of the founding members of the Union of Study and Research of Greek Liturgical Music and the Scientific Union of Research of the Greek-Orthobox Byzantine Culture.

THE SERIOUS ILLNESS AND DEATH
In 1999 Olympia Tolika was struck by cancer in the large intestine with metastasis in the liver. She was operated on by Professor Dimitris Betsis, in AXEPA hospital, Thessaloniki. She came back to Athens in order to go to the anticancer hospital of Athens for chemotherapy. The Institution of Social Insurance delayed its contribution in an unacceptable way. She wanted to make use of the Medicare but her health booklet allowed for the last class in hospital. The last class for the first lexicographer of music in Greece…
There came the moment of her friends to support Olympia to have her worthy of offer medical care. First her family, her aunt and her brother. She entered “Apollonio” clinic. The Minister of Justice, Evangelos Giannopoulos, who was a friend of hers, intervened so as the huge expenses to be met with a reduction. Her disease was incurable and so Professor Nickolaos Lygidakis practised some developed methods, using for the first time the revolutionary microwave piece of machinery for the removing of tumors. There were present famous Japanese doctors with Professor Masatosi Makensi at their head. The operation came the one after the other. The predictions of her imminent death stopped for a while. So, at Christmas of that year Olympia was standing up and having fun at “Friendship” (“Filia) recreation center in Lagonise and she passed the New Year’s Eve happily at “Isambella” recreation center in Kifisia. Yet, the successive operations has crushed her. They were quitted and chemotherapy was the next step. The oncologist Dionysios Razis of “Health” (“Igia”) clinic took her case upon himself. A new fight. The Panhellenic Union of Theatre and Music (Π.Ο.Θ.Α) supported her financially in that fight of hers. All around her were moved and treated her humanely. The only exception was a state organization, the Ministry of Culture. The feelings of the Minister Elizabeth Papazoi were not influenced even before the appeal of eleven reputable organizations to support financially the dramatic fight of Olympia. It was the Association of Greek Actors, the National Athens Conservatory, the European Art Center, the Greek Literary and Historical Archives (Ε.Λ.Ι.Α), the Unifying Process of Authors, the Union of Cultural Journals of Editors and Journalists, the Association of Teachers of Acknowledged Conservatories, Louridion Foundation, Porfirogenio Foundation of Volos, “Skoufas” Musical Philological Association of Arta and the “Paleopanagia” Association of Paeania. Also, her beloved teacher in the state Couservatory of Thessaloniki, Fembi Nikolaidou who later became honorary Assistant Ditector.
The days went by. The disease continued progressing. She went to a private clinic in Pagrati to spend her last days. Her hopes vanished. On 7th April Olympia went from death to … life.

HER LAST WORK
Just before she was struck by the disease, Olympia had managed to complete her work “Greek themes in the International Music”. And this massive, laborious, valuable musicological work of hers is now in the files of the European Art Center and is waiting to be published. It is prefaced by the prize-winning cellist Lefteris Papastavrou. At the same time she started translating a “best seller” into Greek. It was “Charisma” of the famous American written Doe Lang which had been published in all the known languages of the world. Olympia had made the acquaintance of Doe Lang and there was a sincere liking between them. Unfortunately, this work of hers is the only one in her life that has been left …. unfinished.

 

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