My top film composers

This list is updated periodically with new composers that I find intriguing.
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“ 1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 and 2
3. The Painted Veil
4. Extremely loud and Incredibly Close
5. ” - mackpiggy
James Newton Howard
James Newton Howard attended the University of Southern California's music school, but dropped out to tour with Elton John, and eventually compose music for film and television. He started with Head Office in 1985. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards. He currently is a songwriter, record producer, conductor, keyboardist, and film composer.
“ 1. The Fugitive
2. The Hunger Games
3. The Village
4. The Sixth Sense
5. The Dark Knight ” - mackpiggy
Thomas Newman
Music Department, WALL·E
Thomas Newman is an American film score composer. He was born in Los Angeles. His father was notable film score composer Alfred Newman (1900-1970). The Newman family is of Russian-Jewish descent, and includes several other well-known musicians. Thomas' mother Martha Louis Montgomery (1920-2005) wanted her sons to have a musical education...
“ 1. Wall-E
2. American Beauty
3. The Shawshank Redemption
4. Finding Nemo
5. ” - mackpiggy
Danny Elfman
Music Department, Corpse Bride
As Danny Elfman was growing up in the Los Angeles area, he was largely unaware of his talent for composing. It wasn't until the early 1970s that Danny and his older brother Richard Elfman started a musical troupe while in Paris; the group "Mystic Knights of Oingo-Boingo" was created for Richard's directorial debut...
“ 1. Edward Scissorhands
2. The Simpsons
3. Batman (1989)
4. Men In Black
5. Pee-wee's Big Adventure ” - mackpiggy
Hans Zimmer
German-born composer Hans Zimmer is recognized as one of Hollywood's most innovative musical talents. He featured in the music video for The Buggles' single "Video Killed the Radio Star", which became a worldwide hit and helped usher in a new era of global entertainment as the first music video to be aired on MTV (August 1, 1981)...
“ 1.The Ring
2. The Dark Knight
3. Inception
4. Hannibal
5. Lion King ” - mackpiggy
“ 1. UP
3. John Carter
4. Star Trek (2009, 2013) ” - mackpiggy
Howard Shore
Howard Shore is a Canadian composer, born in Toronto. He was born in a Jewish family. He started studying music when 8-years-old, and played as a member of bands by the time he was 13-years-old. He was interested in a professional career in music as a teenager. He studied music at the Berklee College of Music, a college of contemporary music located in Boston...
“ 1. The Silence of the Lambs
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
3. Se7en
5. ” - mackpiggy
John Williams
As one of the best known, awarded, and financially successful composers in US history, John Williams is as easy to recall as John Philip Sousa, Aaron Copland or Leonard Bernstein, illustrating why he is "America's composer" time and again. With a massive list of awards that includes over 41 Oscar nominations (five wins)...
“ 1. Star Wars,
2. Harry Potter
3. War of the Worlds
4. Jurassic Park
5. Jaws
6. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial ” - mackpiggy
“ Mad Max ” - mackpiggy
“ 1. Contagion
2. Drive
3. Only God Forgives ” - mackpiggy
“ 1. Moon
2. Requiem for a Dream ” - mackpiggy
Alan Silvestri
Composer, Forrest Gump
In over thirty years as a film composer, Alan Silvestri has blazed an innovative trail with his exciting and melodic scores, winning the applause of Hollywood and movie audiences the world over. Born in Manhattan in 1950, Alan was first drawn to music at an early age. Beginning as a drummer, his love for instruments quickly grew to include the bassoon...
“ 1. Back to the Future trilogy
2.Forrest Gump
3. Contact ” - mackpiggy
Harry Gregson-Williams
Composer, Shrek
Harry Gregson-Williams is a composer. He was the composer on all four installments of the blockbuster Shrek franchise; garnered a BAFTA nomination for the score for the first Shrek; and received Golden Globe and Grammy Award nominations for his score to Andrew Adamson's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion...
“ 1. Enemy of the State,
2. Chronicles of Narnia
3. Deja Vu
4. Shrek ” - mackpiggy
“ 1. Scream 1-4,
2. Warm Bodies ” - mackpiggy
Bernard Herrmann
Music Department, Kill Bill: Vol. 1
The man behind the low woodwinds that open Citizen Kane, the shrieking violins of Psycho, and the plaintive saxophone of Taxi Driver was one of the most original and distinctive composers ever to work in film. He started early, winning a composition prize at the age of 13 and founding his own orchestra at the age of 20...
“ 1. Psycho
2. The Twilight Zone
3. The Day the Earth Stood Still ” - mackpiggy
Jerry Goldsmith
Music Department, Total Recall
Born on February 10, 1929, Jerry Goldsmith studied piano with Jakob Gimpel and composition, theory, and counterpoint with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. He also attended classes in film composition given by Miklós Rózsa at the Univeristy of Southern California. In 1950, he was employed as a clerk typist in the music department at CBS...
“ 1. Alien
2. The Twilight Zone
3. Star Trek: Voyager
4. Gremlins
5. Poltergeist ” - mackpiggy
Nathan Barr
Composer, True Blood
Nathan Barr is a unique breed of composer. In addition to writing his scores, he also performs all of the instruments heard in many of his compositions. Skilled in many styles and genres, ranging from orchestral to rock, Barr is known for his collection and inclusion of rare and unusual instruments from around the world...
“ 1. True Blood
2. Hemlock Grove ” - mackpiggy
Mark Isham
Composer, Crash
From his days as one of the pioneering icons of electronic music to his current status as a world-renowned legendary film composer, Mark Isham continues to be one of the most prolific and provocative artists on the scene. His gift for creating unforgettable melodies and his love of fresh, innovative sonic palettes have earned Isham many awards including a Grammy...
Carter Burwell
Music Department, Fargo
“ Almost every Cohen Bros. movie ” - mackpiggy
“ 1. Insidious
2. The Conjuring ” - mackpiggy
“ The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ” - mackpiggy
“ 1. Modern Warfare 3
2. Bug,
3. Constantine ” - mackpiggy
James Horner
Music Department, Titanic
James Horner began studying piano at the age of five, and trained at the Royal College of Music in London, England, before moving to California in the 1970s. After receiving a bachelor's degree in music at USC, he would go on to earn his master's degree at UCLA and teach music theory there. He later completed his Ph.D...
“ 1. Braveheart
2. Apollo 13
3. Aliens ” - mackpiggy
“ Transformers, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003, 2006), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) ” - mackpiggy
Mychael Danna
Composer, Life of Pi
Mychael Danna is an Academy Award-winning film composer recognized for his evocative blending of non-western traditions with orchestral and electronic music. His highly awarded works include the Oscar-winning score for Ang Lee's Life of Pi, and his many Genie Award-winning scores for director and longtime collaborator, Atom Egoyan...
Henry Jackman
Henry Jackman, born in Hillingdon, Middlesex, UK, began composing his first symphony at age six, and was an accomplished composer by age nine. He went on to study classical music at St. Paul's Cathedral Choir School, Eton College, Framlingham College and Oxford University. As a teenager, he became heavily influenced by the underground rave scene...
Mark Mancina
Music Department, Criminal Minds
Known for his wide-ranging talents, Mark Mancina's film scores traverse almost every genre: drama, action, comedy, suspense, and period epic. His dark, edgy music for the Oscar-winning Training Day, is a benchmark score that expanded the boundaries of scoring street-wise drama, and is widely used as a temp track...
Tyler Bates
Tyler Bates is a Los Angeles-born composer who has scored more than sixty feature films, hundreds of episodes of television, major studio video games and artist records. Bates has more than twenty commercially released film soundtrack albums, several of which debuted number one at the box-office. Bates' recent work includes Marvel's 2014 smash hit...
“ 1. Rob Zombie films
2. Dawn of the Dead
3. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) ” - mackpiggy
“ Evil Dead (2013) ” - mackpiggy
Craig Armstrong
Composer, Love Actually
Craig Armstrong, born in Glasgow, 1959. Studied composition and piano at the Royal Academy of Music, London from 1977 to 1981. From his base in Glasgow he has written for film, classical commissions and solo recordings. He has composed for Baz Lurhmann's Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge!, The Quiet American...
“ Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby ” - mackpiggy
John Debney
Composer, The Jungle Book
John Debney's career seemed destined for Hollywood, the son of Disney Studios producer Louis Debney, John grew up in nearby Glendale, California where he got early inspiration for film and music growing up on the Disney Studio lot. The child of two musicians, John showed an early aptitude for music and began guitar lessons at age six...
“ Sin City, The Passion of the Christ ” - mackpiggy
“ 1. The Pursuit of Happiness
2. Hotel Rwanda ” - mackpiggy
Andrew Hewitt
Composer, The Double
Andrew combines a lifelong passion for film with extensive classical training, recording and performance experience. He orchestrates and conducts all of his scores, fusing them with electronic textures at his home studio. He recently accepted invitations to membership of the World Soundtrack Academy, BASCA, and BAFTA...
“ The Double ” - mackpiggy