Tributes flow for Oscar-winning composer, Vangelis Papathanassiou, after his death aged 79


Oscar-winning Greek composer, Vangelis Papathanassiou, known globally as Vangelis, has died in Paris at the age of 79, a law firm representing the artist has announced.

Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and other government officials expressed their condolences on Thursday after news of Vangelis’ death emerged.

“Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer among us,” Mitsotakis tweeted and later added in a statement that Vangelis “has set off on his great voyage” from where he will always “send us his music.” 

Greek Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikos Dendias, called him in a tweet “a distinguished Greek composer who became internationally prominent,” and thanked him for what he contributed to music, culture and Greece.

Opposition leader, Alexis Tsipras, also sent his condolences and said: “There are few who can add the name ‘global’ next to their names, and Vangelis Papathanassiou was a Global Greek.”

“A pioneer of electronic music, but one always remaining in touch with the roots of musical tradition. His is a massive loss and yet at the same time a presence beyond space and time,” Tsipras added.

Vangelis was born near the city of Volos in Greece in 1943, and he started composing music at the age of 4, giving his first public performance at the age of 6. Vangelis began his music career as a self-taught artist, but he later studied classical music, painting and film directing at the Fine Arts Academy in Athens.

He formed his first group, ‘Forminx’, in 1960. After moving to Paris in 1968 he formed the group ‘Aphrodite’s Child’ with another artist that was also destined to become an international star, Demis Roussos.

Greek composer Vangelis in 1976. Photo: Michael Putland / Getty Images.

In 1975, Vangelis moved to London, where he set up the cutting-edge ‘Nemo’ studios, and a little later released his first music collection ‘Heaven & Hell’.

Vangelis is best-known for writing the unforgettable Academy Award-winning score for the film “Chariots of Fire.” He also scored the soundtracks for Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ (1982), Roman Polanski’s ‘Bitter Moon’ (1992), and Oliver Stone’s ‘Alexander’ (2004), among many others.





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