Eleni Karaindrou was born in Teichio, a small mountain village in Central Greece. She studied piano and advanced musical studies at the Hellenic Conservatory of Music (Ellinikon Odeion) and graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy of Athens University (History and Archaeology). She studied Ethnomusicology in Sorbonne and orchestration in Scuola Cantorum, in Paris (1967-1974), on a scholarship from the French government. From 1975 to 1982 she was one of the executives of the Greek Radio Third Program, working with composer Manos Hatzidakis.
Since 1975 she has composed music for 24 films, 56 theatre plays and 15 television and radio programs, working with top Greek and foreign directors.
Theatre: she collaborated with directors Jules Dassin, Lefteris Voyatzis, Antonis Antypas, Maya Lyberopoulou, Vassilis Papavassiliou, Kostas Bakas, Spyros Evangelatos, et al. on productions at the National Theatre, Skini and Nea Skini theatres, Aplo Theatro, Epochi theatre, Amphitheatro, etc., of plays by Shakespeare, Goldoni, Griboyedof, Turgenief, Chekhof, Gorki, O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Pinter, Mammet, Orton, Euripides Aristophanes, Hourmouzis, Loula Anagnostaki, Giorgos Dialegmenos etc. She composed the music for the play Tous des Oiseaux, written and directed by Wajdi Mouawad, premiered at the National Theatre “La Colline” in November of 2017, in Paris.
Cinema: Since 1983 she has been a permanent collaborator of Theo Angelopoulos, composing music for his films Voyage to Cythera, The beekeeper, Landscape in the Mist, The Suspended Step of the Stork, Ulysses’ Gaze, the Cannes Festival Golden Palm award-winning film, Eternity and a Day, The Weeping Meadow and Dust of Time. She has also composed music for films by Margarethe von Trotta (L’ Africana), Dimitris Mavrikios (Polemonta), Takis Kanelopoulos (The chronicle of a Sunday), Tonia Marketaki (The price of love), Christoforos Christofis (Wandering / Rosa), Lefteris Xanthopoulos (Happy homecoming, comrade), Giorgos Koras (The deserter), etc.
Television: She wrote music for the Greek serials Galini, Loxandra, Patouchas, And the City Spoke, Closed Roads, The ten “10” etc., respectively collaborating with the directors Vassilis Georgiadis, Grigoris Grigoriou, Alexis Damianos, Giannis Smaragdis and Giorgos Michailidis. Special interest was aroused by her collaboration with French researcher and director Chris Marker for the series “L’ heritage de la Chouette” (The heritage of the Owl) which was created for the French television channel TF1 (1989).
Balllets: In 2000 - 2001, the Opera of Dusseldorf produced the ballet Phaedra on her music and Johann Ulrich’s choreography (repeated in 2002).
In 2013 the Greek National Opera produced the ballet Voyage to the Eternity on her music and Renato Gianella’s choreography (repeated in 2013 & 2014).
Discography: Since 1990, she has collaborated with the internationally acclaimed record company ECM and its creator, Manfred Eicher, releasing 12 albums, 6 out of which contain music for films (Music for Films, The Suspended Step of the Stork, Ulysses’ Gaze, Eternity and a Day, The Weeping Meadow, Dust of Time) Trojan Women and Medea, containing music for Euripides’ plays (directed by Antonis Antypas in Epidaurus Ancient Theatre, on K.X. Myris’ modern greek adaptation), as well as the albums The Elegy of the Uprooting, Concert in Athens and David, which are live recordings. She has recorded more than 40 albums in total. (Milan, Minos-EMI, LYRA etc).
Orchestras: In Greece Eleni Karaindrou collaborated with the State Symphony Orchestra of Athens, the Symphony Orchestra of the National Greek Opera, The State Symphony Orchestra of Thessaloniki and the Camerata, (The Athens Concert Hall Orchestra). She has also collaborated with important European and International Orchestras such as, The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, The Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra, the Zurich Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Cecilia National Academy Orchestra, the Poznam Academy of Music Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, The State Symphony Orchestra of Istanbul, etc.
Awards and Honours: She has been awarded 23 music prizes among others, five film music prizes in Greece, the Dimitris Mitropoulos’ Theatre Music Award and the international Fellini Award for “the best European composer” by Europa Cinema in Italy (1992). In 2004 she was nominated for the European Felix for her music The Weeping Meadow (Eleni). In 2012 she awarded a special prize for her music by the International Film Festival of Haifa and in 2015, the prize for the best music by the International Film Festival in Antalya, Turkey.
In 2002, she was awarded the Golden Cross of Honour by the President of the Greek Republic.
In 2014, she was awarded with the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture of the French Republic.