Vangelis, the most famous Greek composer, died Tuesday evening at the age of 79. The news was confirmed to the Athens News Agency by the law firm representing the composer. The cause of death was not given. According to the Greek press, Vangelis was admitted to a hospital in France with Covid-19.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Prime Minister, reacted to Vangelis’ death on Twitter. “Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer with us. The music world has lost [artista] International Vangelis. The protagonist of electronic sound, Oscars, myth and big hits,” he said.
Born Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, in Volos (north of Athens), in 1943, Vangelis became interested in the world of music very early on. With his parents, he experimented with the sounds he produced from pots or glasses.
Responsible for the soundtrack of films such as “Momentos de Glória” (1981), for which he received an Oscar, or “Blade Runner” (1982), the composer had no musical training, which, according to the Reuters agency, contributed to the development of his creativity.
[“Chariots Of Fire”, de Vangelis, da banda sonora do filme “Momentos de Glória”]
His musical career began in the world of rock. At the age of 25, following a military coup that ended Greek democracy, he left Greece for France. It was in the French capital that he founded, in 1968, with Demis Roussos, Loukas Sideras and Anargyros “Silver” Koulouris, the progressive rock group Aphrodite’s Child. The group became known for songs like “Rain and Tears”, “The Four Horsemen”, “Marie Jolie”, and “Spring, Summer, Winter & Fall”.
In Paris, Vangelis became passionate about electronic music and the sound of the synthesizer, which would form the basis of the sound that, years later, would become his trademark. The composer made his solo debut in 1974, with the album Earth.
Although he achieved some success in the progressive rock scene in the early 70s, Vangelis was not comfortable with the expectations of a commercial artist. Gradually, the studio he created in London began to retire. The Reuters agency recalls that it was at Nemo Studios that he composed the soundtrack for the film “Moments of Glory” by Hugh Hudson, about two British athletes at the 1924 Olympic Games. The soundtrack was a tribute to his father , an amateur sprinter.
The feature film’s theme reached No. 1 in the United States of America.
[“Ill Find My Way Home”, de Jon & Vangelis, ao vivo no programa “Top Of The Pops”, em 1982:]
In the 80s and 90s, Vangelis composed the music for several films and documentaries. In the 1980s, with Jon Anderson, singer of Yes, he created the Jon & Vangelis project, with which he released several albums. Vangelis met Anderson in the 1970s and used to attend Yes rehearsals.
With over 50 years of career and more than 50 albums released, Vangelis is considered one of the biggest names in electronic music and the most famous Greek composer.