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19 September 1969 |
|Occupation(s)||Composer and producer|
|Instruments||Piano, Organ, Synthesizer|
|Labels||Deutsche Grammophon, 4AD, Touch|
|Associated acts||Apparat Organ Quartet|
Jóhann Jóhannsson (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈjouːhan ˈjouːhansɔn]; born 19 September 1969) is an Icelandic composer who has been releasing solo albums since 2002 as well as composing music for a wide array of media including theatre, dance, TV and films.
In 2016 Jóhann signed with Deutsche Grammophon through which he has released his latest solo album Orphée. Some of his works in film include the original scores for Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival as well as 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 Theory of Everything. He recently served as music and sound consultant on Mother!, directed by Darren Aronofsky.
Jóhannsson was born and raised in Reykjavík, where he later went on to study languages and literature at university. He started his musical career as a guitarist playing in indie rock bands. 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.
Jóhann's first solo album, Englabörn, was a suite based on the music written for the theatre piece of the same name. Jóhann approached the composition by recording string instruments and processing them through digital filters, which allowed him to deconstruct the recordings and reassemble them. The album combined holy minimalism, Erik Satie, Purcell and Moondog with the electronic music of labels such as Mille Plateaux and Mego. Andy Beta gave Englabörn a score of 8.9 on Pitchfork and described it as "exceptionally restrained, the piano moving like droplets off of slowly melting icicles, the violin breathing warmth from above. The hesitation of each breath and falling bead feels as though it were a Morton Feldman piece condensed to three minutes."
For Jóhann's second album, he employed an orchestra of 11 brass players, glockenspiel, piano and organ, with added bells and electronics, creating a sound that combined classical, ambient and experimental music
IBM 1401, A User's Manual is Jóhann's fourth studio album, inspired by his father. Jóhann's father was an IBM engineer and one of Iceland's first computer programmers, who used early hardware to compose melodies during his downtime at work. Jóhann used sounds produced from the electromagnetic emissions of the IBM 1401 as part of the composition. IBM 1401, A User's Manual was released on October 30, 2006 under 4AD."Inspired by a recording of an IBM mainframe computer which Jóhann's father, Jóhann Gunnarsson, made on a reel-to-reel tape machine more than 30 years ago, the piece was originally written to be performed by a string quartet as the accompaniment to a dance piece by the choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir. For the album version, Jóhann rewrote the entire score, and it was recorded by a sixty-piece string orchestra. He also added a new final section and incorporated electronics alongside those original tape recordings of the singing computer."
In 2010, Jóhann collaborated with filmmaker Bill Morrison on The Miners' Hymns (2011); a film and accompanying composition for a brass band, pipe organ and electronics. The film was noted for celebrating "social, cultural, and political aspects of the extinct industry, and the strong regional tradition of colliery brass bands". The overall piece was itself a tribute to the miners strikes which occurred in the area during the 1980s. The piece premiered live in Durham Cathedral in July 2010 and was released on CD and DVD in May 2011. The album was described as "A gorgeous brass-based requiem for northeast England's former mining community" by the BBC. Writing in UK Sunday newspaper The Observer, Fiona Maddocks gave the London debut performance of the score at the Barbican five stars, writing: "The strange counterpoint between an Icelandic minimalist, an American filmmaker and a bitter episode in recent British history has resulted in a work as unclassifiable as it is unforgettable."
|Year||Film||Directed by||Awards and nominations|
|2012||Mystery||Lou Ye||Winner – Golden Horse Awards for Best Original Film Score.
Nominated – Asian Film Awards for Best Composer.
|2014||The Theory of Everything||James Marsh||Winner – Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
Nominated – Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media
|2015||Sicario||Denis Villeneuve||Nominated – Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film Music.
|2016||Lovesong||So Yong Kim|
|2016||Arrival||Denis Villeneuve||Winner – World Soundtrack Awards for Best Film Composer of the Year|
|2017||Mother!||Darren Aronofsky||As music and sound consultant|
In March 2015, Jóhann teamed up with ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble) and the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth to perform Drone Mass at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His list of collaborators include Tim Hecker, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Pan Sonic, CAN drummer Jaki Liebezeit, Marc Almond, Barry Adamson, and Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))). In 1999 Jóhann Jóhannsson founded the Apparat Organ Quartet, which has released two albums since 2002 with live performances in Europe, America and Japan.