Ευάγγελος Οδυσσέας Παπαθανασίου
Vangelis at the premiere of El Greco in 2007
Vangelis at the premiere of El Greco in 2007
Background information
Birth nameEvángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou
Born(1943-03-29)29 March 1943
Agria, Greece
Died17 May 2022(2022-05-17) (aged 79)
Paris, France
  • Musician
  • composer
  • songwriter
  • producer
  • Piano
  • keyboards
  • drums
  • percussion
Years active1963–2022

Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (Greek: Ευάγγελος Οδυσσέας Παπαθανασίου [eˈvaɲɟelos oðiˈseas papaθanaˈsi.u]; 29 March 1943 – 17 May 2022), known professionally as Vangelis (/væŋˈɡɛlɪs/ vang-GHEL-iss; Greek: Βαγγέλης [vaɲˈɟelis]), was a Greek musician, composer, songwriter and producer of electronic, progressive, ambient, and classical orchestral music.[1] He was best known for his Academy Award-winning score to Chariots of Fire (1981), as well as for composing scores to the films Blade Runner (1982), Missing (1982), Antarctica (1983), The Bounty (1984), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), and Alexander (2004), and for the use of his music in the 1980 PBS documentary series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan.[1][2]

Born in Agria and raised in Athens, Vangelis began his career in the 1960s as a member of the rock bands The Forminx and Aphrodite's Child; the latter's album 666 (1972) is now recognised as a progressive-psychedelic rock classic.[1][3] Vangelis first settled in Paris, and gained initial recognition for his scores to the Frédéric Rossif animal documentaries L'Apocalypse des Animaux, La Fête sauvage, and Opéra sauvage. He also released his first solo albums during this time, and performed as a solo artist. In 1975, Vangelis relocated to London where built his home recording facility named Nemo Studios and released a series of successful and influential albums for RCA Records, including: Heaven and Hell (1975), Albedo 0.39 (1976), Spiral (1977) and China (1979). From 1979 to 1986, Vangelis performed in a duo with Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, released several albums as Jon and Vangelis. He also collaborated with Irene Papas on two albums of Greek traditional and religious songs.

Vangelis reached his commercial peak in the 1980s and 1990s. His score for Chariots of Fire (1981) won him an Academy Award for Best Original Score and the film's main theme, "Chariots of Fire – Titles" went to number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, while score for 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) was nominated at Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and the film's soundtrack and main theme topped the European charts selling millions of copies.[1] His compilation albums Themes (1989), Portraits (So Long Ago, So Clear) (1996) and studio album Voices (1995) also sold well at the time. Vangelis composed the official anthem of the 2002 FIFA World Cup held in Korea and Japan.[4] In his last twenty years, Vangelis collaborated with NASA and ESA on music projects Mythodea (1993), Rosetta (2016) and Juno to Jupiter (2021), his 23rd and final studio album.

Having had a career in music spanning over 50 years and having composed and performed more than 50 albums, Vangelis is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of electronic music,[5][6][7] and modern film music.[8] He was known for using many electronic instruments in a fashion of a "one-man quasi-classical orchestra" composing and performing on the first take.[9]

  1. ^ a b c d Thomas S. Hischak (2015). The Encyclopedia of Film Composers. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 386–388. ISBN 978-1-4422-4550-1.
  2. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (19 May 2020). "Vangelis, composer of Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner soundtracks, dies aged 79". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  3. ^ Hughes, Rob (19 May 2022). "Apocalypse and orgasm: The crazy story of Aphrodite's Child 666, Vangelis's cult masterpiece". Prog. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  4. ^ "FIFA World Cup Official Songs: Every Anthem from 1962–2022". Goal (website). Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  5. ^ Peter Culshaw (6 January 2005). "My Greek odyssey with Alexander". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  6. ^ Jason Ankeny. "Vangelis Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
  7. ^ "Vangelis And The Journey to Ithaka Documentary Now Available". 4 December 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Vangelis: Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner composer dies at 79". BBC. 19 May 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  9. ^ Paphitis, Nicholas (19 May 2022). "Vangelis, the Greek 'Chariots of Fire' composer, dies at 79". Associated Press. Retrieved 20 May 2022.

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