Johann Johannsson, Great Film Composer, Dies At 48
Johann Johannsson, the Oscar-nominated composer of such films as Arrival, Sicario and The Theory of Everything, was found dead on Friday in his Berlin apartment, his manager said. He was 48.
Tim Husom, his Los Angeles manager, said that Berlin authorities are investigating and that an autopsy would be performed. Cause of death, thus far, is unknown.
The acclaimed, Icelandic-born composer often blended electronics with conventional orchestra. He received Oscar, BAFTA and Grammy nominations for his 2014 score for The Theory of Everything and won the Golden Globe for that score. He received a second Oscar nomination for 2015’s Sicario and Golden Globe, BAFTA and Grammy nominations for his music for Arrival in 2016.
In addition to his film scores, Johann Johannsson had a career as a solo musician. His first album, Englaborn, was released in 2002; subsequent albums included Viroulegu Forsetar in 2004, IBM 1401, A User’s Manual in 2006, Fordlandia in 2008 and most recently Orphee in 2016.
In 2015, his piece for string quartet, electronics and vocal ensemble Drone Man premiered at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Johann Johannsson began scoring films in his native Iceland in 2000. His first widely heard score was for Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners in 2013; he continued to work with Villeneuve on Sicario and Arrival.
After collaborating with director James Marsh on Theory of Everything, he went on score Marsh’s The Mercy, which opened this weekend in the U.K. His most recent score is Mary Magdalene with Rooney Mara for director Garth Davis; it is slated to open in the U.K. in March.
His agency Gorfaine-Schwartz issued this statement: “We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our client and dear friend Johann Johannsson, whose great talent, humility and kindness enriched our lives immeasurably. His music has inspired many new generations of filmmakers and composers. He will be so greatly missed by his Gorfaine/Schwartz family as well as the entire film music community.”
Johann Johannsson is survived by his parents, a daughter and three sisters.