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Vangelis Papathanassiou | Greek Music Composer | The Blade Runner

Updated: Sep 14


George Papadellis | SG Head

Vangelis Papathanassiou, born in 1943 in Agria village (Pelion), known professionally as "Vangelis", was a famous Greek composer of ambient, electronic, orchestral and progressive music, especially for scores to top Holywood films and documentaries.

Vangelis  |  Shiny Greece

Photo by: Nikolas for Wiki, Vangelis El Greco premiere DE2, CC BY-SA 3.0

Vangelis is widely known for his Academy Award-winning score for the film "Chariots of Fire", and also for the scores of the films "Blade Runner", "Missing", "Antarctica", "1492: Conquest of Paradise" and "Alexander".

With more than 50 albums, Vangelis is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of electronic music.

Vangelis Papathanassiou was experimenting with music since early childhood, and did not like music lessons and theory. At fifteen, he started forming school bands, with the most successful being "The Forminx", whose repertoire included written songs by himself, also for the Greek film industry, and with the production of the Greek record producer Nico Mastorakis. In 1968, after the 1967 Greek regime, Vangelis went to France. There, he formed the rock band Aphrodite's Child, among others with the famous Demis Rousos, which produced several commercial successful albums like "Rain and Tears", "End of the World" and "It's Five o' Clock".

In the next five years, until 1974, Vangelis musician performed several solo projects in cinema, television, and theatre. In 1975, Vangelis moved to London, and his career started skyrocketing. During this period he produced and performed the famous "Heaven and Hell", "Spiral" and "Opera Sauvage".

Vangelis  |  Shiny Greece

Photo by: Kapetan Nikolios at English Wikipedia, Vangelis HonoraryDoct, cropped by Shiny Greece, CC BY-SA 3.0

From 1981 to 2002, Vangelis music became mainstream. During this period he produced and performed the best of his career: "Chariots of Fire", "Missing", "Antarctica", "2001: A Space Odyssey", "Blade Runner", "Conquest of Paradise". From 2003 until his death, Vangelis composed songs for space missions, films, world anniversaries, opera and more. Some of most important works of Vangelis were the choral symphony Mythodea (used by NASA as theme for Mars Odyssey mission), the score for Oliver Stone's "Alexander", the "Blade Runner Trilogy" for the 25th anniversary of Blade Runner, the song for the Greek movie "El Greco", the music for the film "Twilight of Shadows", pieces for the Rosetta mission of the European Space Agency and "Juno to Jupiter". He has been awarded: with the Max Steiner Award, as Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by France, with the music award Apollo by Friends of the Athens National Opera Society, with the Public Service Medal by NASA, with the Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award by the American Hellenic Institute, with the Honorary Doctorate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering by the University of Thessaly.

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