Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, professionally known to every one as Vangelis, is a Greek musician and composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, and orchestral music. He is one of the leading masters of electronic, enlightened rock, classic, traditional and new age music.
Vangelis was born on March 29, 1943, in Volos Greece.
He is best known for his soundtrack work, namely the Academy Award-winning “Chariots of Fire” and the similarly revered scores to “Blade Runner,” “1492: Conquest of Paradise,” and “Alexander.”
Vangelis’ beautiful and enthralling themes provide an aural palette that absolutely upgrades many of the most critical movies of the last three decades.
A self-educated musician, Vangelis has been composing and comprising since the age of four, but cannot read or write musical notation and symbols.
Vangelis began his career working with many famous and trendy bands of the 1960s such as the Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child, with the latter’s album “666” going on to be identified as a progressive-psychedelic rock classic.
All over the 1970s, Vangelis composed music scores for many animal documentaries, including “La Fête Sauvage,” “L’Apocalypse des Animaux,” and “Opéra Sauvage;” the success of these scores carried him into the film scoring standard.
Vangelis Partnership with John
Although he has been involved in numerous musical collaborations, in the 1980s Vangelis formed most famously a musical partnership with Jon Anderson, the lead singer of advanced rock band Yes, and the duo went on to release many albums together as Jon & Vangelis.
His electronic genius is combined with a popular music template that values melody and harmony and provides full flight to some of the most ambitious and absorbing keyboard work on the planet.
Vangelis has sold a large number of albums across the globe and he has also topped the charts with the Chariots… single, “Titles,” where he plays all instruments and is supported by The Ambrosia Choir under John McCarthy’s direction on the record “Jerusalem”.
The basic theme inevitably conjures up the mental image of the players running on the beach in slow motion and is one of the most murmured soundtrack items in memory. The parent disc sold more than 3 million copies and topped the Billboard Top 200 in 1982.
Director Hugh Hudson realized Vangelis’ power after hearing his work for Opera Sauvage and China, both of which are completely recommended, just like his joint collaboration with Irene Papas for the Odes disc (1979).
By way of differentiation, it’s well worth searching out “See You Later,” where he records with Anderson, Peter Marsh and even the Warhol starlet Cherry Vanilla.
Antarctica (1983), the soundtrack to a Japanese film of that name, was a rarity for a long time but is now available and perfectly complements the movie’s ice-cold narrative.
The more classically and traditionally inclined trilogy of “Soil Festivities,” “Mask” and “Invisible Connections” have a darker, more ethnic scope. However, all featured on the charts and showed an experimental side of the man that he would return to in the 1990s, yet with a New Age bent.
Vangelis also received the honor for his synthesizer-based soundtrack for the 1982 movie “Blade Runner.” The actual soundtrack to Blade Runner was postponed for a decade. Luckily, that was improved in 1994 and many consider this expressive score to be Vangelis’ masterpiece.
The Chronicles set gives a critical overview of the Jon & Vangelis duo circa 1979-1983.
For those who explore to dig even deeper, there is another true gem that we suggest: “Odyssey: The Definitive Collection” (2003) cherry-picks few wildly eclectic music, ranging from the early “Pulsar” and “The Tao Of Love” to “Anthem: FIFA World Cup 2002” and a quotation from the highly acclaimed “Mythodea: Music for the NAS Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey.” A great part of the music here is rare or previously unreleased and offers an exciting overview of excellent talent.
His music work in the past is honorable but, Vangelis’ release, 2016’s Grammy-nominated “Rosetta,” looked to what’s to come. An electronic/moving/classical devotion to the Rosetta space probe mission, it was outstanding.
In 2018, Vangelis composed a unique score for Stephen Hawking’s memorial.
On 25 January 2019, another studio album, “Nocturne: The Piano Album,” was released, which contains both new and old compositions played on a grand piano.
A deeply private and guarded person who seldom grants the press entry into his world, Vangelis explains and describes himself best when he says, “Mythology, science, and space exploration are subjects that have attracted me since my early childhood. Also, they were constantly connected somehow with the music I write and compose.”
It is the reality that this artist has done more than many to take the synthesizer into a new domain and yet he has never lost touch with his Greek society roots.
He considers musical composing a science instead of an art, like to Pythagoreanism. He has a supernatural viewpoint on music as “one of the greatest power in the universe”, that the “music exists before we exist”.
Some consider that his experience of music is extraordinary.