Jóhann Jóhannsson (1969–2018) was a proli7ic composer, who wrote music for a wide array of media including theatre, dance, television and 7ilms. His work is stylised by its blending of classical instrumentation with electronic elements. His 7irst solo album, Englabörn (2002, Touch), drew from a broad set of in7luences, ranging from Erik Satie, Bernard Herrmann, Purcell and Moondog to electronic music issued by labels such as Mille Plateaux and Mego. Another album would follow on Touch, before Jóhannsson released two orchestral albums on 4AD: Fordlândia and IBM 1401 – A User’s Manual. In 2016, Jóhann signed with Deutsche Grammophon and released his last solo record, Orphée. A great deal of Jóhannsson’s work in his last years had been closely entwined with 7ilm: in 2010 he paired up with American avant-garde 7ilmmaker Bill Morrison on the critically acclaimed The Miners’ Hymns. He has also scored a number of major cinematic hits, including Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners (2013), Sicario (2015), the score of which was nominated for all major awards, and Arrival (2016), which earned him Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. His other notable 7ilm credits include James Marsh’s Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything (2014), for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. Beyond scoring 7ilms, Jóhannsson directed them as well: his debut short, End of Summer, arrived in 2015 and was followed up by a multimedia piece titled Last and First Men, which premiered as a live performance at the Manchester International Festival in 2017. Narrated by Tilda Swinton, the project combines 7ilm and music to create a poetic meditation on memory, loss and the idea of Utopia. The 7ilm premiere of Last and First Men will take place at the Berlinale in 2020.
2020 Last and First Men
Jóhann Jóhannsson's films at RIFF