19 September 1969
Reykjavík, Höfuðborgarsvæðið, Iceland
9 February 2018 (aged 48)
Jóhann Gunnar Jóhannsson (19 September 1969 – 9 February 2018) was an Icelandic composer who wrote music for a wide array of media including theatre, dance, television and films. His work is stylized by its blending of traditional orchestration with contemporary electronic elements.
Jóhann released solo albums from 2002 onward. In 2016, he signed with Deutsche Grammophon, through which he released his last solo album, Orphée. Some of his works in film include the original scores for Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners, Sicario, and Arrival, and James Marsh's The Theory of Everything. Jóhann was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score for both The Theory of Everything and Sicario, and won a Golden Globe for Best Original Score for the former. He was a music and sound consultant on Mother!, directed by Darren Aronofsky in 2017. His scores for Mary Magdalene and Mandy were released posthumously.
Jóhann was born on 19 September 1969 in Reykjavík, Iceland to Jóhann Gunnarsson and Edda Thorkelsdóttir. He learned piano and trombone from age 11, but had given them up by the time he went on to study languages and literature at the University of Iceland. Jóhann started his musical career in the late 1980s in the proto-shoegaze influenced band Daisy Hill Puppy Farm who released a couple of EPs which were played by British DJ John Peel and received a fan letter from Steve Albini. He went on to work as a guitarist and producer playing in Icelandic indie rock bands, like Olympia, Unun and Ham. In 1999, Jóhann co-founded Kitchen Motors; a think tank, art organisation and music label that encouraged interdisciplinary collaborations between artists from punk, jazz, classical, metal and electronic music. His own sound arose out of these musical experimentations.
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