Musicians, artists, directors, journalists, collaborators, and fans from both Iceland and abroad have flocked to social media to remember the life and legacy of composer and musician Jóhann Jóhannson, Vísir reports. Jóhann, perhaps best known for composing the scores for films such as Arrival, and The Theory of Everything was found dead in his Berlin apartment this weekend. He was 48.
Obituaries for the prolific artist appeared in foreign outlets such as Rolling Stone, The Independent, Pitchfork, and Deadline, in addition to many personal tributes published in Iceland. “One of the greatest artists of our time,” wrote fellow composer Ólafur Arnalds. “...And a huge influence on me. I hope you are in a good place Jóhann.”
“Rest in peace, dear Jóhann Jóhannsson,” wrote pianist Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson. “I can’t grasp [this] dark news. Thank you for being such a warm and genuine person, brilliant, deep and beautiful.”
Born in Reykjavík, Jóhann launched his career as a guitarist, and was part of the iconic Icelandic rock band HAM, among others. He also founded the electro-instrumental band Apparat Organ Quartet in 1999, and has released nine solo albums, most recently 2016’s “Orphee.” He has also composed music for the theater, and was behind a number of experimental and collaborative arts initiatives, such as Kitchen Motors, a record label/creative think tank that encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration between artists and musicians. Drone Mass, the “Gnostic Hymn Meets Modern Electronics” that he composed in collaboration with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, was performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2015.
Jóhann’s prolific and diverse career has been widely lauded, but it’s been his film scores that have brought him to real international prominence of late. His work on 2014’s Theory of Everything earned him Oscar, BAFTA, and Grammy nominations; the score won a Golden Globe. He received another Oscar nomination the next year for his score to Sicario, and yet further Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Grammy nominations for his score to Arrival in 2016. He also wrote the music for Blade Runner 2049, worked with Darren Aronofsky on the recent film mother! and composed the music for James Marsh’s The Mercy, which was released earlier this month.
“This is such sad news,” wrote actor Ólafur Darri Ólafsson on Facebook. “Huge shock...His music and soundtracks were simply incredible. Will never forget watching Sicario at the movie theater and thinking I have to buy this incredible soundtrack only to find out it was made by Jóhann. Rest in peace...”