Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou better known as Vangelis (the "g" is pronounced as a hard "g", as in "get") (born March 29, 1943) is a world-renowned new age and electronic musician. His best known compositions are the Academy Award-winning 1981 theme to the movie Chariots of Fire and the entire score to Blade Runner. He also composed the anthem of Football World Cup 2002.
Early life and work
Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou [in Greek: Ευάγγελος Οδυσσέας Παπαθανασίου / Eyáġġelos Oḏysséas Papaṯanasíoy (Evángelos Odhiséas Papathanasíu)] was born in Volos, Greece, Vangelis began composing when he was 4 years old, and is largely a self-taught musician. He refused to take traditional piano lessons, and throughout his career he did not have substantial knowledge of reading or writing musical notation. He studied classical music, painting and film direction at the Academy of Fine Arts in Athens.
In the early 1960s he formed the pop group Forminx (sometimes spelled "Formynx"), which became very popular in Greece. During the student riots in 1968 he moved to Paris and formed progressive rock band Aphrodite's Child with Demis Roussos and Loukas Sideras . They had a hit single in Europe called "Rain and Tears." The group was disbanded in 1972, although Roussos made several appearances on Vangelis' later work.
Beginning of solo career
Vangelis began his solo work by writing scores to two films by French filmmaker Frederic Rossif in 1973. His first official solo album was 1974's Earth. At about the same time, he rehearsed for a couple of weeks with another prog-rock band, Yes. Although he never joined the band (they ended up hiring Patrick Moraz), he became friends with singer Jon Anderson, with whom he later worked on many occasions.
After moving to London, Vangelis signed a deal with RCA Records, set up his own studio (Nemo Studios ) and began recording a string of well-regarded electronic albums. Music from the acclaimed 1975 album Heaven and Hell was later used as the theme to the PBS television series Cosmos.
Work in film and commercial success
He and Jon Anderson released several albums together in the 1980s and '90s as Jon & Vangelis. In 1982 Vangelis won the Academy Award for Original Music Score for Chariots of Fire. The theme song topped the US Billboard charts for one week after climbing steadily for one year.
That year he also began working with director Ridley Scott; Vangelis scored his films Blade Runner and 1492: Conquest of Paradise. He also scored many of the undersea documentaries of Jacques Cousteau. In 1992, France granted him the Chevalier Order of Arts and Letters .
The 2001 release Mythodea (orchestral rather than electronic) was originally written in 1993, and was used by NASA as the theme for the Mars missions. In 2004 he released a CD soundtrack of his score for Oliver Stone's film Alexander, continuing his involvement with projects related to his homeland.
- Sex Power (1970 in music) - score
- Fais Que Ton Reve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit (1972 in music)
- L'Apocalypse des Animaux (1973 in music) - score
- La Fete Sauvage (1973 in music) - score
- Earth (1974 in music)
- Cosmos (1974 in music)
- Heaven and Hell (1975 in music)
- The Vangelis Radio Special (1976 in music)
- Albedo 0.39 (1976 in music)
- Ignacio (1977 in music)
- Spiral (1977 in music)
- Beaubourg (1978 in music)
- Hypothesis (1978 in music)
- The Best of Vangelis (1978 in music) - compilation
- Opera Sauvage (1979 in music) - score
- China (1979 in music)
- Odes (1979 in music) - with Irene Papas
- See You Later (1980 in music)
- Short Stories (1980 in music) - as Jon & Vangelis
- Chariots of Fire (1981 in music) - score
- The Friends of Mr. Cairo (1981 in music) - as Jon & Vangelis
- To the Unknown Man (1982 in music) - compilation
- Private Collection (1983 in music) - as Jon & Vangelis
- Antarctica (1983 in music) - score
- Soil Festivities (1984 in music)
- The Best of Jon & Vangelis (1984 in music) - as Jon & Vangelis
- Magic Moments (1985 in music) - compilation
- Mask (1985 in music)
- Invisible Connections (1985 in music)
- Rhapsodies (1986 in music) - with Irene Papas
- Direct (1988 in music)
- Themes (1989 in music) - compilation
- The City (1990 in music)
- Page of Life (1991 in music) - as Jon & Vangelis
- 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992 in music) - score
- Blade Runner (1994 in music) - score of the 1982 film Blade Runner, previously unreleased
- Chronicles (1994 in music) - as Jon & Vangelis
- Mundo Magico De Vangelis (1995 in music) - compilation
- Foros Timis Ston Greco (1995 in music) (El Greco limited museum edition)
- Voices (1995 in music)
- Themes II (1995 in music) - compilation
- Oceanic (1996 in music)
- Portraits (So Long Ago So Clear) (1996 in music) - compilation
- El Greco (1998 in music) - commercial edition
- Reprise 1990-1999 (2000 in music) - compilation
- Mythodea (2001 in music)
- Odyssey (2003 in music) - compilation
- Ithaca (2004 in music) - spoken word record of the Cavafy poem with Sean Connery - limited release
- Alexander (2004 in music)
- Official Site - Currently under construction (?) since 1995
- Privately owned frequently updated Vangelis site
- Rolling Stone biography
- Instruments used by Vangelis (Blade Runner fansite)
- Vangelis Artist Profile with reviews of his major work.
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