ATHENS – Tributes to composer Vangelis (Papathanassiou), who died in Paris aged 79, started coming in from the Greek political world as the news of the internationally acclaimed composer’s death made top story in the local media.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Vangelis “a pioneer of electronic sound, of Mythodia (his music for NASA), Oscars and great successes.” In a statement, he said Greeks remembered him also from the group Aphrodite’s Child, and “has set off on his great voyage” from where he will always “send us his music.”
Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni called Vangelis “ecumenical” in a statement and said his music moved people of different backgrounds, nationalities, and cultures. “Like an Odysseus – his second given name – he started off from Greece with the groups Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child and travelled through the entire planet with his compositions.” Vangelis linked his work with great successes in film, with international sports events including the Olympic Games, and provided the music for a mission of NASA, which named an asteroid after him.
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.
SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance culture spokesperson Sia Anagnostopoulou said that Vangelis “embodied the model of ecumenical hellenism,” and called him “innovative, radical in the form and content of musical composition, and conversant with revolutionary sounds and images in the wake” of 1968. His work, she said, “travelled to space and at the same time allowed millions of people everywhere on the planet to accompany him.”
Vangelis was a great musical genius, an outstanding artist and a global Greek,” PASOK-Movement for Change leader Nikos Androulakis said. “His Oscar-winning music will always keep us company,” he added.
Calling him “a charismatic creator,” the Communist Party said that Vangelis “brought together in his composition traditional Greek songs, sounds of rock, the endless search for new forms of musical expression and enthusiasm for space exploration, which inspired him through the ages.” His work, honored with many awards and recognitions, “signified humanity’s eternal effort to exceed its limitations,” the party added.