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Vangelis Biography

Home > Music > V > Vangelis > Biography

Born: 1943/03/29
Birth Place: Volos, Greece
Years Active: 1961–present
Genres: Instrumental Music, Electronic Music, Progressive Rock, Classical, New Age

Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou was born on March 29, 1943 near Volos, Greece, and is a composer known by his stage name Vangelis. His musical compositions incorporate an electronic/ambient sound fused with jazz, pop and rock music.

In a career that has spanned over 50 years, and produced more than 52 albums, Vangelis beginnings as a self-taught musician started at the age of 4. By the time he was a teenager he was playing in local bands. He began his professional musical career in the 1960s as part of the band The Forminx.

In 1968, during the student riots in Greece, Vangelis formed the progressive rock band, Aphrodite's Child. As the 1970s emerged, Vangelis relocated to Paris, France and moved into composing for documentaries, including “L'Apocalypse Des Animaux,” “La Fête sauvage” and “Opéra sauvage.” The exposure and the success from the documentaries led Vangelis to scoring for mainstream feature films.

1973 saw Vangelis release his debut solo album, “Earth,” which featured ex-members of Aphrodite's Child, guitarist Silver Koulouris and vocalist Robert Fitoussi. 1975 marked a move to London for Vangelis, signing with RCA Records, and starting his own recording studio, Nemo Studios. During this period, Vangelis recorded and released the albums, “Heaven and Hell” (1975); “Albedo 0.39” (1976); “Spiral” (1977); “Beaubourg” (1978); and “China” (1979). In the early 1980s Vangelis formed a musical partnership with Jon Anderson, the lead singer of the rock band Yes. their collaboration produced a number of recordings together as Jon & Vangelis.

Vangelis’ career in the mainstream film world took off in 1981 when he was offered the job of composing for the Oscar Award- winning film “Chariots of Fire.” Earning Vangelis an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score, firmly established his career in the film world as a sought-after composer.

2002 saw Vangelis compose the FIFA World Cup Official Anthem for that year. 2004 marked the score for Oliver Stone's “Alexander,” followed by two soundtrack albums in 2007, “Blade Runner Trilogy” and “El Greco Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.”