Jóhann Jóhannsson, Oscar-Nominated Composer, Dies at 48

Jóhann Jóhannsson, Oscar-Nominated Composer, Dies at 48
Jónatan Grétarsson

Academy Award-nominated composer Jóhann Jóhannsson passed away Friday (Feb. 9) in Berlin. The Golden Globe-winner was 48. His manager confirmed his death, the cause of which is unknown.

Jóhannsson was one of the most innovative contemporary composers working today, often melding electronic instrumentation with classical orchestration.

In 2015, Jóhannsson won the Golden Globe and received Oscar, BAFTA and Grammy nominations for his critically acclaimed score for The Theory of Everything. In 2016, he was nominated for Oscar and BAFTA awards for his score for director Denis Villeneuve’s film Sicario. That year also saw the release of Arrival, another collaboration with Villeneuve, for which Jóhannsson received Golden Globe, BAFTA and Grammy nominations. He most recently collaborated with director Darren Aronofsky on mother!.

Jóhannsson also wrote the score for Mandy, the Nicolas Cage-starring horror film, which drew rave reviews at Sundance, as well as Garth Davis’s new film, Mary Magdalene, out later this year.His score for James Marsh’s new film, The Mercy, which combined newly written and existing pieces from Jóhannsson’s catalog was released on Deutsche Grammophone Feb. 2.

Jóhannsson’s method was to challenge himself by writing the most difficult cue first. “This is quite often the case, at least for me,” he told me in an interview for The Hollywood…