The sudden death of Icelandic film composer Johann Johannsson last week, who created the Oscar-nominated scores for Sicario and The Theory of Everything, continues to draw shock and sadness from across the industry.
He was 48 and was found dead Feb. 9 in his Berlin apartment.
His collaborator Hildur Guonadottir, who worked with him on the score to Garth Davis’ Mary Magdalene, one of the last projects Johannsson completed, in a statement expressed her grief. Read her full statement, shared with THR, below.
“How do I begin to find the words. Many of you have been calling and writing, and I so greatly appreciate everyone´s concern. I´m sorry for not having been able to answer anybody just yet, as I am still in a state of shock. But I feel like I should say something…
Where do I even begin…
I became friends with Johann in the late ‘90s. It was a beautiful time for the Icelandic music scene. Johann was one of the driving forces of the wonderful collective Kitchen Motors, along side Kira Kira and Hilmar Jensson. In the Kitchen Motors spirit of collaboration, we took part in various events and experiments together.
One afternoon in 2004 we met in Johann´s basement studio, where he also lived, and recorded the track ‘Tu Non Mi Perderei Mai.’ This afternoon everything changed for both of us. We had found our language. It´s hard to explain with words, because we met in a completely non-verbal place, our souls got tangled together, and stayed tangled together to this very day.
Since that day there was hardly a piece of music that either one of us made that we did not share in some shape or form. I was his extra set of ears, and he was mine. My voice was his voice, and he was mine. My playing was his playing. When we made music, we did not have any sort of verbal dialogue. We would meet in this magical place, and music would unfold. We raised each other. We grew together. We shared the darkest of times and the brightest of times. We were musical soulmates. We were best friends. We drove each other crazy. We picked each other up. We pushed each other forward.
And now he´s gone in his physical form. And a part of my soul has gone dim. I have yet to come to terms with the fact that I will have to go on without him sitting at the other side of my studio wall. I have not yet gathered the courage to go back to our studio.
I feel blank and numb. But I know that as I gather the courage to take on the grief, I will remember my soulmate Johann for the beautiful person he was. The sparkle he got in his eyes when he got excited about music, his unwavering enthusiasm, his ‘well OK we can eat, but can we please talk about work while we eat?,’ his gentle, friendly way of nodding his head and piercing his eyes when he met someone new, his fierce protectiveness that fired up when he felt I was being treated with any kind of unjustness, his great sense of humor, his immense intelligence.
He lived for music. It was his everything. And as I sit here swimming in tears, I take comfort in feeling how much he touched people with his music. That meant the world to him.”