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‘The world has lost a genius’ – worlds of music and film mourn composer Vangelis

Composer Vangelis Papathanassiou, right, answers a question during a press conference in Athens, June 27, 2001. Vangelis, the Greece-born electronic composer who wrote the Academy Award-winning score for the film “Chariots of Fire” and music for dozens of other movies, documentaries and TV series, has died. He was 79. (Aris Messinis/AP Photo)

The worlds of music and film have hailed electronic composer Vangelis as a “genius” who “created music of extraordinary originality and power”.

The Greece-born musician who wrote the Academy Award-winning score for the film Chariots Of Fire and music for dozens of other movies, documentaries and TV series, has died age 79.

Tom Lewis and Laura Monks, co-presidents of Decca Label Group, said: “The world has lost a genius.

“Vangelis created music of extraordinary originality and power, and provided the soundtrack to so many of our lives.

“Decca had the pleasure of partnering with Vangelis and his team for his past three albums and we will miss him enormously.

“His music will live on forever.”

Vangelis was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Bafta for his score on Sir Ridley Scott’s science fiction thriller Blade Runner in 1983.

Filmmaker Charles de Lauzirika, who produced Blade Runner, said: “My biggest disappointment making Dangerous Days was being unable to get Vangelis for an interview.

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“His music, not just in Blade Runner, was otherworldly in beautiful and haunting ways I lack the words to describe.

“He created lush dream states I still love getting lost in.”

Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren told his more than 1.6 million twitter followers he was “sad” to hear the news.

He added: “I had the privilege to meet him in Paris last year.

“He was one of my heroes, a big inspiration and just a beautiful person.

“I still listen to his albums a lot.”

In a tribute posted on Instagram, French music composer Jean-Michel Jarre said: “We will all remember your unique touch and your moving melodies forever.

“You and I have always shared the same passion for synthesizers and electronic music since so long.”

Similarly, English singer-songwriter Paul Young said he was “very sad to hear the news of the recent passing of Vangelis.”

“I’d always loved his soundtrack to Blade Runner.

“Then in the mid 90’s I had the honour of writing & singing a song on his album “Voices,” an immense talent that will be missed by his family, and the world of music,” Young added.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and other government officials also expressed their condolences.

“Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer among us,” Mr Mitsotakis tweeted.

Born Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou on March 29 1943 near the city of Volos in central Greece, Vangelis started playing the piano at the age of four, although he got no formal training and claimed he never learned to read music.

He played in several bands and solo, but his huge breakthrough came with the score for Chariots Of Fire, a 1981 film that told the story of two British runners in the 20s.

Vangelis’s score received one of the four Academy Awards the film won.

Orchestration, composition — they teach these things in music schools, but there are some things you can never teachVangelis

The signature piece is one of the hardest-to-forget film tunes worldwide – and has also served as the musical background to endless slow-motion parodies.

Vangelis later wrote musical scores for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and 1492: Conquest Of Paradise (1992), as well as for Missing (1982) and Antarctica (1983), among others.

When British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died in 2018, Vangelis composed a musical tribute for his interment that the ESA broadcast into space.