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The great composer Vangelis Papathanassiou died – Sadness in the world art world

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The news of the death of the Greek musician and composer, Vangelis Papathanassiou, causes sadness in the artistic world.

According to what has become known, the Greek musician and composer of electronic, progressive , ambient, jazz and orchestral music, also known as Vangelis was hospitalized in France with coronavirus.

The news was confirmed by the law firm representing Vangelis Papathanassiou.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that the great Greek Vangelis Papathanassiou passed away late on the night of Tuesday, May 17,” the announcement reads.


Who was Vangelis Papathanassiou

Vangelis Papathanassiou was born on March 29, 1943 in Agria, Volos. He started composing at the age of four, while giving his first public performance at the age of six, without any musical education.

He was self-taught despite the pressures of his parents and teachers , who encouraged him to take music lessons. However, he studied classical music, painting and directing at the Academy of Fine Arts in Athens.

He has influenced the development of different musical genres, and is considered a pioneer of electronic sound.

He won an Oscar for the music of the film The Roads of Fire in 1982. He has also invested in many other films such as: Blade Runner, 1492: Christopher Columbus, Alexander, El Greco and others. He has collaborated with Demis Rousseau, Irene Pappas and John Anderson.

In 1997 he directed the opening ceremony of the 6th IAAF World Open Track and Field Championships held at the Panathinaikos Stadium in Athens. Mythodias's work was selected as the official music for its mission: music for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea – Japan.

Joining bands

Takes his first steps in music with his participation in the Forminx band. The vehicle for the band's success was the song Jeronimo Yanka which was a huge success as the 45-bit album went gold in its first week of release.

In 1968 he moved to Paris and together with the Greek artist Demis Rousseau created Aphrodite’s Child. The successful double album 666 is considered to have given him the impetus to start an international career.

While still a member of Aphrodite’s Child, he timidly began to do different things. He first started writing music for a film by Henry Hapier in 1970.

This was followed by an audio documentary influenced by the student uprisings in Paris in 1968. In 1973 he began a successful collaboration with director Frederic Rochef on a series of wildlife documentaries, and shortly before moving to London he released the solo album Earth.

Solo career

In 1975 he left Aphrodite's Child to settle in London. There he founded state-of-the-art music recording facilities, the Nemo studios.

His first collection, Heaven and Hell (1975), was released, followed by other successful albums, such as Albedo 0.3 (1976), Spiral (1977), for which he won the International MIDEM Instrumental Award, Beaubourg (1978) and China (1979). At that time Papathanassiou began to become world famous.

In 1978 he collaborated with the Greek actress Irini Pappas on the album entitled Odes, which contains traditional Greek songs, while in 1986 they collaborated again on the album Rhapsodies.

Papathanassiou also made another major collaboration with John Anderson on four albums, Short Stories (1978), The Friends of Mr Cairo (1981), Private Collection (1983) and Page of Life (1991). p>

Compositions for movies

Albums Chariots of fire

Many of Papathanassiou's compositions were created for to frame film productions as a soundtrack. The top soundtrack is considered to be Chariots of Fire for the 1981 film of the same name, which won the Oscar for Best Original Score in 1982.

The film chronicles the efforts of three British runners at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. Papathanassiou has written music in several fiction films, documentaries and television productions, among which stand out:

  • Vortex – The face of the jellyfish (1967) by Nikos Koundouros ,
  • The Missing (Missing, 1982) by Greek director Costas Gavras,
  • Blade Runner (Blade Runners: Extermination Teams, 1982) science fiction film by Ridley Scott,
  • Roger Donalson's Boudi Rebellion (1984),
  • Francesco (1989) by Liliana Cavani ,
  • 1492: Christopher Columbus (1492 – Conquest of Paradise, 1992) for which he won the Echo Awards and the Golden Lion,
  • The black moons of love ( Bitter Moon, 1992) by Roman Polanski,
  • Cavafy (1996) by Giannis Smaragdis,
  • Alexander (2004) by Oliver Stone,
  • El Greco (2007) by Giannis Smaragdis.

Music for space

He has been excited about space exploration since his early childhood, as he himself has stated. Much of his work is dedicated to this, and over time the leading space organizations have trusted him to set to music their successes.

In 1980, the American television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan began airing, focusing on the place of man in the universe and the existence of extraterrestrial life. The musical investment of the episodes was created by Papathanassiou, while the series won an Emmy award and was shown in 69 countries and to 500 million viewers.

In the summer of 2001 Papathanassiou presented the work Mythodia on the pillars of Olympian Zeus. The project's music was created to accompany NASA's 2001 space mission: Odyssey to Mars. It was a spectacular musical performance, during which special visual effects depicted images mainly of gods of ancient Greece and NASA space images.

The solo parts of the play were performed by sopranos Jesse Norman and Kathleen Battle. The London Metropolitan Orchestra, a 120-member choir of the National Opera, also took part, while the composer himself played the keys. The play was televised all over the world while there were giant screens at the Panathinaiko Stadium. After the end of the musical performance, the French government, represented by the Minister of Education Jacques Lang, awarded Papathanassiou the title of Order of the Legion of Honor in a ceremony that took place in the peristyle of Zappeion.

Two years NASA later awarded him the Medal of Public Contribution in recognition of his outstanding contribution to its vision. The award is the highest honor given by the American Non-Governmental Organization.

In 2013, NASA adopted Papathanassiou's music for the second time with an original piece of music created to frame the video from the Hera (Juno) mission, which depicts the movement of the Earth and the moon together for the first time. The video was captured during a mission to the planet Jupiter.

In November 2014, the European Space Agency (ESA) proposed to Papathanassiou to compose the music for the first historic comet landing. Thus, he composed a musical trilogy (Arrival, Philae's Journey and Rosetta's Waltz) which was presented by ESA after the successful landing of the Rosetta on comet 67P.

In 1995, as a tribute to His musical contribution but also his love for space, the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union named the composer after the Main Belt Asteroid 6354, now called 6354 Vangelis.

Various music creations

  • 1982: Creates the audio signal of ERT news, which continued to be heard on television news bulletins until today, with the exception of the period 2013-2015.
  • 1991: Undertakes the music for the world-famous oceanographer documentaries Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
  • 1998: Writes the album A Tribute to Greco, the proceeds of which were used to support the National Gallery's campaign to acquire the painting of El Greco Saint Peter.
  • 1999: Composes the music that accompanied the presentation of the official emblem of the 2004 Olympic Games, while also composing the music for the Olympic flame delivery ceremony both in Sydney and from Sydney to Athens.
  • 2002: Creates music for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan and Korea.


The offer of Vangelis Papathanassiou in the theater is also remarkable. In 1983 he created the music for the performance of Michalis Kakogiannis, Electra at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, starring Irini Pappas.

He has also collaborated with the Royal Ballets, as he created the music for three works, R B Sque (1980) presented at the Royal Theater Drury Lane, Frankenstein (1985) and The Beauty and the Beast (1986).

Other works

His interest in the arts was not limited to composing music. In 1997 he made his first attempt at directing, as he designed and conducted the opening ceremony of the 6th IAAF World Athletics Championships held at Panathinaikos Athens.

In 2003 he revealed his ability in painting by presenting 70 his own paintings at the Valencia Biennale in Spain. Following the success of the Vangelis Pintura exhibition, his works are on display in major galleries around the world.

In the same year, Papathanassiou also presented a book containing some of his most beautiful works, entitled Vangelis.

Awards & Distinctions

  • Best Original Song Oscar 1982 For Music in The Roads of Fire.
  • Golden Lion at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, for the music the Ask the Mountains in television advertising.
  • Max Steiner Award in 1989, for composing and presenting outstanding film music.
  • Echo Award (Germany) for international Artist of the Year 1992.
  • Flanders International Film Festival (Belgium) Award for Best Musical Film Investment.
  • Valencia International Film Festival Award for Best Musical Film Investment.
  • Audience Award film investment by the World Academy of Music Investment in Flanders, Belgium.
  • Apollo Award in 1993 for his contribution to music by the Society of Friends of the National Opera.
  • The title of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic in 1992. The award was given by the French Minister of Education.
  • Twice the Monte Carlo World Music Award, for the Greek artist with the greatest sales.
  • The title of Knight of the Legion of Honor of the French Republic in 2001.
  • RIAJ (Record Industry of Japan) Award for International Song of the Year 2002.
  • < li> NASA Public Contribution Medal in recognition of an outstanding contribution to NASA's vision in 2003.

  • In 2013, the Hellenic Post issued stamps depicting him.
  • Honorary doctorate from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2008, awarding him the distinguished title of Emeritus Professor. He received his doctorate for his outstanding contribution to the musical education of the Greek people, as well as for spreading the message of Hellenism throughout the world.

Source: politis.com.cy

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