Evangelos Papathanassiou, known professionally as Vangelis is a Greek musician and composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, and orchestral music, born in Volos, Greece on March 29, 1943. His best known work is the Academy Award-winning score to Chariots of Fire. Vangelis has also composed the scores for the films Blade Runner, Missing, Antarctica, The Bounty, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, and Alexander, and his music was used in the PBS documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan.
Vangelis began his musical career in Greece in the 1960s with a band called Forminx, and then in the early 1970s with Aphrodite’s Child, whose album 666 is recognized as a progressive-psychedelic rock classic. After his success with Aphrodite’s Child, and throughout the 1970s, Vangelis composed music scores for several documentaries, including L’Apocalypse des Animaux, La Fête sauvage and Opéra sauvage. In the early 1980s, he formed a musical partnership with Jon Anderson, the lead singer of the band Yes, and they went on to release several albums together as Jon & Vangelis.
In 1981, he composed the score for the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Score. The soundtrack’s single was also used as the background music at the London 2012 Olympics winners’ medal presentation ceremonies.
Vangelis is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of electronic music.
“We are living in a cultural dark age of musical pollution.
You put the radio on, and five minutes later you need an aspirin.”
In 1992, he was awarded the Chevalier Order of Arts and Letters, one of France’s most prestigious honors.