Jóhann Jóhannsson, a Golden Globe winning composer, died Friday in Berlin at 48
BERLIN — Jóhann Jóhannsson, a Golden Globe winning composer, died Friday in Berlin, his manager confirmed to CNN. A native of Iceland, Jóhannsson was 48. The cause of death is unknown.
Jóhannsson won a Golden Globe award in 2015 for his score to “The Theory of Everything,” a British film depicting the life of famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.
“When you’re given material like ‘The Theory of Everything,’ it seems like my job is very easy,” he said when accepting the award. Jóhannsson was also nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the film, and received another Oscar nomination the following year for his score to “Sicario.”
He also composed the score for the 2016 alien film “Arrival,” for which he was nominated for another Golden Globe, and was the music and sound consultant for Darren Aronofsky’s 2017 thriller “mother!”
In addition to his work in films, Jóhannsson put out a number of solo albums. He was known for blending classical music with electronic components.
Though his music was often described as haunting and ominous, he said that part of his job was to understand when a score wasn’t needed.
“In mainstream cinema, there’s usually too much music,” he told The Guardian in 2016. “In ‘Arrival,’ the use of space and silence is extremely important. When music is needed, it’s really there and it serves a purpose.”
In an interview with Red Bull Music Academy in 2016, Jóhannsson said that his music career started out not with the orchestral film scores he would come to be known for, but with a small rock-influenced group of teenagers.
“I started my first band when I was 16 or 17, and it was a band which was very much based around distorted fuzz guitar,” he said. “It was very minimalistic, very textural.”
Tim Hecker, a fellow avant-garde musician, tweeted that “Jóhann was an amazing composer, a gentle spirit as well as a favorite collaborator and human being.”
Jóhannsson is survived by his parents, sisters and daughter.