Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (Greek: Ευάγγελος Οδυσσέας Παπαθανασίου, pronounced [eˈvaɲɟelos oðiˈseas papaθanaˈsi.u]; 29 March 1943 – 17 May 2022), known professionally as Vangelis ( vang-GHEL-iss; Greek: Βαγγέλης, pronounced [vaɲˈɟelis]), was a Greek keyboardist, composer, and producer of electronic, progressive, ambient, and classical orchestral music. He was best known for his Academy Award-winning score to Chariots of Fire (1981), as well as for composing scores to the films Blade Runner (1982), Missing (1982), Antarctica (1983), The Bounty (1984), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), and Alexander (2004), and for the use of his music in the 1980 PBS documentary series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan.Born in Agria and raised in Athens, Vangelis began his career in the 1960s as a member of the rock bands The Forminx and Aphrodite's Child; the latter's album 666 (1972) is now recognised as a progressive-psychedelic rock classic. Vangelis first settled in Paris, and gained initial recognition for his scores to the Frédéric Rossif animal documentaries L'Apocalypse des Animaux, La Fête sauvage, and Opéra sauvage. He also released his first solo albums during this time, and performed as a solo artist. In 1975, Vangelis relocated to London where he built his home recording facility named Nemo Studios and released a series of successful and influential albums for RCA Records, including: Heaven and Hell (1975), Albedo 0.39 (1976), Spiral (1977), and China (1979). From 1979 to 1986, Vangelis performed in a duo with Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, releasing several albums as Jon and Vangelis. He also collaborated with Irene Papas on two albums of Greek traditional and religious songs.
Vangelis reached his commercial peak in the 1980s and 1990s. His score for Chariots of Fire (1981) won him an Academy Award for Best Original Score and the film's main theme, "Chariots of Fire – Titles" went to number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, while score for 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) was nominated at Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and the film's soundtrack and main theme topped the European charts selling millions of copies. His compilation albums Themes (1989), Portraits (So Long Ago, So Clear) (1996), and studio album Voices (1995) also sold well at the time. Vangelis composed the official anthem of the 2002 FIFA World Cup held in Korea and Japan. In his last twenty years, Vangelis collaborated with NASA and ESA on music projects Mythodea (1993), Rosetta (2016), and Juno to Jupiter (2021), his 23rd and final studio album.
Having had a career in music spanning over 50 years and having composed and performed more than 50 albums, Vangelis is one of the most important figures in the history of electronic music, and modern film music. He used many electronic instruments in a fashion of a "one-man quasi-classical orchestra" composing and performing on the first take.