Mariza Koch was born on March 14th, 1944 in Athens, Greece, to a Greek mother and a German father. She spent the first few years of her life in Anafiotika, Plaka, Athens, but soon, she and her sister moved to the island of Santorini where she lived until her teenage years. Mariza grew up listening to the songs of Asia Minor as sung by the refugees around Athens. She was influenced musically by Byzantine music and the island songs of Santoniri and the Cyclades. She contributed to the Greek traditional music repertory with her own very unique personal style, introducing the electronic sound to her arrangements. For the majority of her songs she writes both the lyrics and the music. Her song writing style has been influenced by both traditional and folk music.
She has set to music poems by Sappho, Kostas Varnalis, the Greek poet of the seas Nikos Kavvadias, Giorgos Sarantaris and Kiki Dimoula. In 1976, following a request from Manos Chatzidakis, Mariza Koch composed a protest ballad against the Turkish invasion of Cyprus titled “Panayia mou - Panayia mou” [translation: Mother Mary, Mother Mary], and with this song she participated in the Eurovision Song Competition in the Hague.
Since the 1970’s she started to travel all over the world singing in the largest theaters and recognized music festivals in Europe, Russia, Canada, USA, South America, Australia, India, the Middle East, and Africa, as the ambassador of Greek music. In 1980 she was the first singer of the West to appear in China, and in the frame of international political exchange, she represented Greece in Beijing. In 2009 she represented Greece in the International Country Music Week Festival which took place in the birthplace of Mao: it was there that she stood out among participants from thirty-two countries from five continents, and she was awarded the prize “Best Singer”. The summer of 2010 she traveled again to China as a representative of the Greek Society for Music Education (G.S.M.E.), to which she is an honorable member, in order to attend the 29th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME). At the end of the conference she and the members of the Greek group of representatives received the flag of the 30th World Conference of ISME, which took place in July 2012 in Thessaloniki, Greece.
About her concert tours, Mariza Koch says:
«I was honored to sing in many of the largest theaters in the world as well as countless schools, coffeehouses, agricultural warehouses, and the smallest villages in Greece. I brag the same about the one as well as the other. With my songs I want to admit all that I feel while traveling around Greece. In my eyes it appears to be the most enriched country in the world with its natural beauty, people, history, music, arts, religious grandeur, and the profound depth of human emotions.».
In 2011, in collaboration with the composer Filtig, she created the electronic music piece Platonia, of which she also sang the vocal part.
In 1996 she founded her own recording company, VERSE MUSIC, aiming at recording traditional songs from all over Greece and publishing children's music.
Since the end of the 1990’s Mariza Koch immersed herself mainly towards children’s music education. In 1996 she began to give lessons to children. In 2004 she founded her educational center, known as “Center for Experiencing Music, Movement, and Word - Mariza Koch”, implementing the experiential teaching of music to children of preschool and of school age. In 2008 she collaborated with the Conservatory of Athens and founded the “Children's choir of traditional songs - Mariza Koch”.
Mariza has released numerous CDs with traditional songs and singing games and she performed shows for children, such as: “The Voyage of little Alexander and the Mermaid”, “Jason on the Argonaut Expedition”, “Orpheus”, “Nine Muses”, “The Angels at the subway stations”, “The Lion from Vermio”, and “The quilt with the gold bells”.
Her books “The Voyage of little Alexander and the Mermaid” (Kedros, 1994), “With Mariza I sing, I learn Greek” (Stamouli publications, 2010) and “The quilt with the gold bells” (Stamouli publications, 2011), that were accompanied by CDs, are addressed to children who are learning the Greek language and the Greek musical tradition.
In 2018 the biography of her childhood years “The blonde girl of Santorini” was published by Metaixmio publications.
She was awarded the prize of “Woman Creator” for her music contributions by the Association of Greek Women Scientists, as well as by Cornell University of New York.
She is an honorable member of the Theran Society of Arts and Sciences and of the Greek Society for Music Education (G.S.M.E.). She served as a member of the Artistic Committee for Music Schools of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
In October of 2015 the University of Patras organized a tribute to Mariza Koch for the completion of fifty years of continuous contribution to the field of music. She was bestowed an honorary degree and she chose to sing several songs from her repertory at the ceremony.
The Greek Society for Music Education (G.S.M.E.), during the 7th Conference entitled: “Music Literacy: formal and informal ways of music teaching and learning” that took place in November 2015 in Thessaloniki, awarded Mariza Koch a honorary distinction “for many years of her prosperous contribution to music education and her invaluable cultural work”.
Today, her music education work is “housed” at the Department of Music Studies, Ionian University.
1971 – Arabas
1973 – Mia sto karfi kai mia sto petalo (One in the nail and one in the petal)
1974 – Duo zygies paichnidia (Two music bands playing games)
1976 – Panayia mou - panayia mou (Mother Mary, Mother Mary)
1977 – Ase me na taxidepso (Let me travel)
1977 – Mariza Koch/Nikos Kavvadias
1978 – Mia ekdromi me ti Mariza (A trip with Mariza)
1978 – Perivoli gemato tragoudia (A garden full of songs)
1978 – Paichnidotragoudia (Singing games)
1979 – Aigaio (Aegean Sea)
1981 – O Kathreftis (The mirror)
1983 – Sto Vathos Kipos (In the deep yard)
1986 – Ta paralia (The beaches)
1988 – Ethniki Odos (National Road)
1990 – Oi dromoi tou mikrou Alexandrou (Mousika erethismata yia vrefi) Little Alexander’s paths (Musical stimuli for infants)
1992 – Dipli Vardia (Double Shift)
1993-1996 – Kartes (Kyklades, Bouzouki k.a.) Cards - (Cyclades, Bouzouki etc)
1997 – I gorgona taxidevi ton mikro Alexandro (The Voyage of little Alexander and the Mermaid)
1999 – Mia yiorti me ti Mariza (A celebration with Mariza)
2000 – San ouranio toxo (Mousika erethismata yia vrefi), epanekdosi tou Oi dromoi tou mikrou Alexandrou / Like a rainbow (Musical stimuli for infants), re-publication of Little Alexander’s paths
2001 – Na ta poume / Let’s sing (CD single)
2001 – Mia ekdromi me tis ennea mouses (An excursion with the Nine Muses)
2001 – To tropario tis Kassianis (Cassiani’s hymn)
2002 – Ta paralia (epanekdosi se CD) / The beaches (re-publication on CD)
2002 – Dipli Vardia (epanekdosi se CD) / Double Shift (re-publication on CD)
2002 – Ta chromatista tragoudia (The colored songs)
2004 – Ta tragoudia pane theatro (The songs go to the theater)
2004 – Rantevou stin Athina 2004 (Rendezvous in Athens 2004)
2004 – Pnoi tou Aigaiou i Archipelagos (Breath of the Aegean or Archipelagos)
2005 – Ston kipo tis Sapfous (In Sappho’s garden)
2008 – Paradosiaka nanourismata (Traditional lullabies)
2009 – Pano sti thalassa ego tragoudo (On the sea I sing)
2010 – Me ti Mariza tragoudo, ellinika matheno (With Mariza I sing, I learn Greek)
2011 – Platonia (se synergasia me ton Filtig) / Platonia (in collaboration with Filtig)
2018 – Santorini Mariza Koch (Sto Vivlio “To xantho koritsi tis Santorinis) ekdosis Metaixmio / Santorini Mariza Koch (In the book “The blond girl of Santorini”) Metaixmio publications
2020 – Mariza Koch - Kiki Dimoula (5 tragoudia) / Mariza Koch - Kiki Dimoula (5 songs)
1980 – Ta kalitera mou tragoudia / My best songs
1981 – Anthologio / Anthology
1995 – Ta portreta tis Minos-EMI: Mariza Koch / The portrait of Minos-EMI: Mariza Koch
1998 – S’afti tin poli (epilogi diskografias 1987-1997) / In this city (select discography from 1987-1997)
2003 – Fata Morgana
2008 – 14 megala tragoudia / 14 hit songs
Appearances on discs of others
1968 – Nikos Chouliaras 2
1970 – Manos Loizos – Thalassografies (Epanekdosi 2012) / Manos Loizos – Sea writings (re-publication 2012)
1973 – Takis Panagopoulos – Ta tragoudia tou Notia / The songs of the south
1975 – Thanasis Gaifyllias – Ateleioti ekdromi / Neverending excursion
1979 – Takis Panagopoulos – I Chavouza / The dump
1980 – Manos Eleftheriou – Malamatenia Logia / Gilded words
1988 – Nikos Economidis – Thalassina perasmata / Sea passages
1991 – Nikos Economidis – Perasma sta Kithira - Passing at Kythira
1991 – Giannis Spanos – To nyfopazaro (tenia tou Kosta Asimakopoulou tou 1969 - OST) / The bridal market (movie by Kostas Asimakopoulou in 1969 – OST)
1992 – Demetris Lagios – Rogmes / Cracks
1993 – Nikos Economidis – Choros sta kimata / Dance at the waves
1996 – Vassos Argyridis – Stin chora p’anagiothika / In the country that I was sanctified
2002 – Flery – Treli tou Feggariou (tenia tou Antoni Boskoiti – OST) / Fleece – Crazy of the moon (movie by Antonis Boskoitis – OST)
2008 – Michalis Kapelis – Nychtes igres/ Humid nights
2010 – Tatiana Zografou – To spiti / The house
Appearances in movie motion picture
1966 – The return of the soldier (direction by Giorgos Lois, appearing in the role of singer)
1968 – Chorafa Family (directed by Kostas Asimakopoulos, on the soundtrack)
1969 – The bridal market (directed by Kostas Asimakopoulos, music by Giannis Spanos, on the soundtrack)
1975 – The songs of fire (documentary by Nikos Koundourou
1983 – Storia di Piera by Marco Ferreri (on the soundtrack song “Fata Morgana”)
1995 – Ten years later (34 minute documentary by Popi Alkouli about womens’ rights). Shown at an event in Inteal on March 13, 2008 for the ‘Women’s day’.
2002 – The promised (directed by Marsa Makri)
2002 – Fleece-Crazy of the moon (documentary about Fleri Dadonaki by Antonis Boskoitis, Mariza sings “Dirge”).
2006 – “Live in the Cell – rock scenes” (documentary by Antonis Boskoitis).
2012 – Katerina Gogoi (biographical film by Antonis Boskoitis about the Greek poet who died in 1993).
Books (with attached compact disc)
The Voyage of little Alexander and the Mermaid (Kedros, 1994)
With Mariza I sing, I learn Greek (Stamouli Publications, 2010)
The Quilt with the Golden Bells (Stamouli Publications, 2010)
The Blond Girl of Santorini - Autobiography (Metechmio, 2018)
Children’s musical theater productions
The Voyage of little Alexander and the Mermaid (Kedros, 1993)
Jason and the Argonauts Expedition
Angels at the metro station
The Lion from Vermio
The Quilt with the Golden Bells (2010)
The album “Arabas” (1971) was the first gold record on the Greek market.
In 1990 for her album “The paths of little Alexander” (Music stimuli for infants), Mariza won the prize of “woman creator” by Cornell University.
Honorary award of the Greek Culture Conference, 1996.
Her song “Fata Morgana”, interpreted by herself, became the soundtrack for the movie “The story of Piera”, which placed first in the 1983 Cannes film festival (1st Award).