UPLINK 45: A VISION FOR OUR PLANET – WITH VANGELIS
In honour of Earth Day we’re proud to present a very special episode of Uplink – a rare interview with Vangelis for a career-spanning talk about his visionary music and a vision for our planet. Join us on Thursday April 22nd at 8pm BST / 9pm CEST / 3pm EDT here. We’ll be discussing how space inspires his music, its connection as an integral part of culture, as well as humanity’s responsibility to the Earth, and how artists and scientists can foster a responsible attitude towards our planet.
Considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of electronic music, Vangelis is best known for his film scores to Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner among many others, Vangelis has long been inspired by and associated with space exploration. Music from his 1975 album, Heaven & Hell, was used as the theme for Carl Sagan’s iconic TV series Cosmos, and his 1976 release Albedo 0.39 is a concept album themed around space physics, the title referring to the idea of a planet’s albedo, the percentage of the light it receives that is reflected back into space. Vangelis later composed the choral symphony Mythodea — Music for the NASA Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey which premiered as a 1993 concert in Athens, Greece. A piece in seven movements, incredibly, Vangelis composed it in just one hour. He revisited the work in 2001 with another performance. Mythodea was then made the official music of NASA’s Mars Odyssey mission and the piece was released as an album to coincide with the 2001 entry of the Odyssey spacecraft into the orbit of Mars.
His relationship with ESA began in 2012 when he made a video call with ESA astronaut André Kuipers during his mission aboard the International Space Station, and in 2014, he composed new music in honour of ESA’s Rosetta mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Three tracks were published online at the time of the Philae module landing on the comet and in 2016, a full album with the name Rosetta was released, dedicated to ESA’s mission team. The album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Age Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.
In 2018, Vangelis composed The Stephen Hawking Tribute for the memorial service of the theoretical physicist and cosmologist which featured Professor Hawking’s voice. As a tribute from ESA, the composition was beamed into space by ESA’s ESTRACK ground station at Cebreros in Spain when the Hawking’s ashes were interred at Westminster Abbey in London. The broadcast was beamed towards the nearest black hole to Earth, 1A 0620–00, which lives in a binary system with an orange dwarf star.
The track was subsequently released online to mark Earth Day in April 2020, accompanied by a video of footage and imagery from ESA’s Earth Observation and other missions. This reconfirmed Vangelis’ commitment to environmentalism as evident in his early film and TV scores including for Frédéric Rossif’s 1970 L’Apocalypse des animaux, his 1990s documentary collaborations with French undersea filmmaker Jacques Cousteau, and his score for Candida Brady’s 2012 environmental film Trashed.
Vangelis began his career in the 1960s working with pop band The Forminx and prog rock’s Aphrodite’s Child, whose pioneering album 666 became known as an early classic of the genre. In the 1980s, Vangelis formed a musical partnership with Jon Anderson of prog band Yes, and the duo went on to release several albums together as Jon & Vangelis. In 1980, Vangelis composed the Academy Award-winning score for the film Chariots of Fire. The enormous success of the title track – which was used at London 2021 winners’ medal presentation ceremonies – is now synonymous with Olympian excellence. Vangelis went on to compose the scores to the films Blade Runner (1982), Missing (1982), Antarctica (1983), The Bounty (1984), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), and Alexander (2004).
Join us on Thursday at 8pm BST / 9pm CEST / 3pm EDT to watch and join in at our Youtube channel. You can also catch past episodes of Uplink and subscribe for news about forthcoming editions. Don’t forget you can also sign up to our new weekly newsletter MISSION UPDATE right here!