Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou (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 and composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, and orchestral music.
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.
Vangelis began his career working with several pop bands of the 1960s such as The Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child, with the latter’s album 666 (1972) going on to be recognized as a progressive-psychedelic rock classic. Throughout the 1970s, Vangelis composed scores for several animal documentaries, including L’Apocalypse des Animaux, La Fête sauvage, and Opéra sauvage; the success of these scores brought him into the film scoring mainstream. In 1975 he set up his new 16-track studio, Nemo Studios in London, which he named his “laboratory”, releasing many solo albums including Heaven and Hell and China among others. In the early 1980s, Vangelis formed a musical partnership with Jon Anderson, the lead singer of progressive rock band Yes, and the duo released several albums together as Jon & Vangelis; he had previously joined Yes as their keyboard player, but left the group before recording any material with them.
In 1980, he composed the score for the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Score. The soundtrack’s single, the film’s theme, also reached the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and was used as the background music at the London 2012 Olympics winners’ medal presentation ceremonies.
He also composed the official anthem of the 2002 FIFA World Cup held in Korea and Japan.
In his last twenty years collaborated with NASA and ESA on music projects Mythodea, Rosetta and Juno to Jupiter, which was his last 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.
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