Vangelis facts for kids

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Vangelis
Vangelis at the premiere of El Greco (2007)
Background information
Birth name Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou
Born 29 March 1943 (1943-03-29) (age 76)
Agria, Greece
Genres
Occupations
  • Musician
  • composer
  • producer
Instruments
  • Piano
  • keyboards
  • drums
  • percussion
Years active 1963–present
Labels
Associated acts

Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou (born 29 March 1943), known professionally as Vangelis, is a Greek musician and composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, and orchestral music. He is best known for his Academy Award-winning score to Chariots of Fire, also composing scores for the films Blade Runner, Missing, Antarctica, The Bounty, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, and Alexander, and the use of his music in the PBS documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan.

Vangelis began his career working with several popular bands of the 1960s such as the Forminx and Aphrodite's Child, with the latter's album 666 going on to be recognized as a progressive-psychedelic rock classic. Throughout the 1970s, Vangelis composed music scores for several animal documentaries, including L'Apocalypse des Animaux, La Fête sauvage and Opéra sauvage; the success of these scores brought him into the film scoring mainstream. In the early 1980s, Vangelis formed a musical partnership with Jon Anderson, the lead singer of progressive rock band Yes, and the duo 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, the film's "Titles" theme, also reached the top of the American Billboard Hot 100 chart and was used as the background music at the London 2012 Olympics winners' medal presentation ceremonies. Vangelis also received acclaim for his synthesizer-based soundtrack for the 1982 film Blade Runner.

Having had a career in music spanning over 50 years and having composed and performed more than 50 albums, Vangelis is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of electronic music.

Honours and legacy

In 1989 he received the Max Steiner Award. France made Vangelis a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1992 and promoted him to Commander in 2017, as well Chevalier de la Legion d’ Honneur in 2001. In 1993 he received the music award Apollo by Friends of the Athens National Opera Society. In 1995, Vangelis had a minor planet named after him (6354 Vangelis) by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center (MPC) at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; the name was proposed by the MPC's co-director, Gareth V. Williams, rather than by the object's original discoverer, Eugène Joseph Delporte, who died in 1955, long before the 1934 discovery could be confirmed by observations made in 1990. In 1996 and 1997 was awarded at World Music Awards.

NASA conferred their Public Service Medal to Vangelis in 2003. The award is the highest honour the space agency presents to an individual not involved with the American government. Five years later, in 2008, the board of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens voted to make Vangelis an Honorary Doctor, making him Professor Emeritus at their Faculty of Primary Education. In June 2008, the American Hellenic Institute honoured Vangelis with an AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award for his "exceptional artistic achievements" as a pioneer in electronic music and for his lifelong dedication to the promotion of Hellenism through the arts. On 16 September 2013, he received the honour of appearing on the Greek 80 cent postage stamp, as part of a series of six distinguished living personalities of the Greek Diaspora. In May 2018 the University of Thessaly in Vangelis' hometown of Volos awarded him an Honorary Doctorate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The American Film Institute nominated Vangelis' scores for Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire for their list of the 25 greatest film scores.

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