Amazing, talented film composers. Follow their careers.

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George Gershwin
He was born Jacob Gershowitz, 26 September 1898, in Brooklyn, New York, of Russian-Jewish immigrants. As a boy he could play popular and classical works on his brother Ira's piano by ear. In 1913 he quit school to study music and began composing for Tin Pan Alley; by 1919 he had his first hit "Swanee" and his first Broadway show "La...
 
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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.
 
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Trevor Rabin
Composer, The Guardian
Trevor Rabin was born in South Africa in 1954. He began playing guitar at the age of 12 after having had piano lessons since he was a toddler. In 1972 he formed the band Rabbit becoming the most successful rock act ever to emerge from South Africa. Rabin left Rabbit to pursue a solo career in London and released three solo albums...
 
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Nick Glennie-Smith
Music Department, The Lion King
 
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Marc Shaiman
Music Department, Hairspray
A great talent who started his career in Saturday Night Live, where he worked with colleagues like Rob Reiner or Billy Crystal. He worked for some great stage values as Eric Clapton, Rosemary Clooney, Harry Connick Jr., Billy Crystal, Lauryn Hill, Jennifer Holliday, Nathan Lane, Jenifer Lewis...
 
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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)...
 
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Sylvester Levay
Music Department, Flashdance
 
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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...
 
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Randy Edelman
Music Department, 27 Dresses
 
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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...
 
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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...
 
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Graeme Revell
Composer, Sin City
Graeme Revell was born in New Zealand in 1955. He was graduated from The University of Auckland with degrees in economics and politics. He is a classically trained pianist and French horn player. Revell worked for as a regional planner in Australia and Indonesia and as an orderly in an Australian psychiatric hospital...
 
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Jim Goodwin
Composer, The Lost Boys
Jim Goodwin attended school in Portland, Oregon in the 60s and 70s. His bands rocked high-school dances in that post-vietnam and pre-disco golden age of rock. In the 80s, he recorded with the alternative rock band "The Call". It was during that time he worked with stars Bono, Peter Gabriel, and others, always hoping for a big breakthrough...
 
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George S. Clinton
George S. Clinton began his professional musical career as a songwriter, arranger, and session musician in Nashville, while earning degrees in music and drama at Middle Tennessee State University. The summer after graduation, George attended the Atlanta Pop Festival and, upon hearing Joe Cocker perform "With a Little Help from My Friends"...
 
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Eric Serra
Music Department, The Fifth Element
Eric Serra was born on September 9th, 1959 near Paris in France. His mother died when he was only 7 years old. His father, Claude Serra was a well-know songwriter in France in late 50s and 60s. Serra began to learn play the guitar at 11 years old and became a professional musician for Mory Kante;, Didier Lockwood and Michel Murty at 15 years old...
 
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Elliot Goldenthal
Composer, Heat
Elliot Goldenthal is an Academy Award-winning composer best known for his original music scores for such films as Frida and Across the Universe, among his other works. He was born on May 2, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York. His father was a house-painter, and his mother was a seamstress. Young Goldenthal was fond of music and theatre...
 
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Don Davis
Composer, The Matrix
 
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David Michael Frank
Composer, Out for Justice
David Michael Frank was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where he studied classical piano and composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. After graduating from Nothwestern University, David moved to New York, where he became Broadway's youngest conductor. His credits include The Me Nobody Knows...
 
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David Joseph Wesley
Music Department, Family Guy
Grammy Award nominated composer David Joseph Wesley is one of the most prolific composers working in film, TV, and video games today. The composer for Fox's "Firefly" video game (2015) based on Joss Whedon's groundbreaking TV series, Dave has also collaborated on the music for Seth MacFarlane's "Family Guy" which has allowed him to work with the largest live orchestra in television history...
 
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Trevor Morris
2 Time EMMY Award winning composer Trevor Morris is a dual Citizen of Canada and Great Britain, living and working in Los Angeles. Trevor composes music for Feature Film, Television and Video Games. He is most recognized for his Television work on "The Tudors", "The Borgias" and "Vikings". As well as such feature films as "London Has Fallen"...
 
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Ry Cooder
Music Department, Dead Man Walking
Born in Santa Monica, Ca., Ry Cooder, at the age of four had an accident which left him blind in one eye. He became a bit secluded and began playing the guitar. His biggest influences include Blind Willie Johnson, Arthur "Blind" Blake, Joseph Spence and Curtis Mayfield. Cooder has played on several albums from the Rolling Stones...
 
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Charlie Clouser
Composer, Saw
Charlie Clouser is a multi-instrumentalist and composer for film, television, and games who lives in Los Angeles. The recipient of ten BMI Film & TV Music awards, Charlie has also received ten platinum and gold record awards for his work with nine inch nails, White Zombie, and others. His scores for...
 
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Vangelis
Soundtrack, Collateral
Vangelis is a composer and performer who works almost exclusively with electronic instruments. He is probably most well known for his Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner soundtracks or for the tracks used in the Cosmos television series. He has been involved in many musical collaborations, most famously with Jon Anderson.
 
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Thomas Newman
Music Department, WALL·E
 
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David Newman
Composer, Ice Age
In his 25 year career, David Newman has scored over 100 films, ranging from War of the Roses, Matilda, Bowfinger and Heathers, to the more recent The Spirit, Serenity, and Alvin and the Chipmonks: The Squeakuel. Newman's music has brought to life the critically acclaimed dramas Brokedown Palace and Hoffa; top-grossing comedies Norbit...
 
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David Arnold
Music Department, Stargate SG-1
 
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Don Harper
Music Department, Speed
 
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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...
 
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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...
 
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Christopher Franke
Born in Berlin, Germany in April, 1953, Christopher Franke studied classical music and composition at the Berlin Conservatory. At that time he was influenced by such composers as Krzysztof Penderecki, John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen and was actively involved in rock and jazz music. Together with his composition teacher...
 
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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)...
 
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Elmer Bernstein
Music Department, Cape Fear
Elmer Bernstein was educated at the Walden School and New York University. He served in the US Army Air Corps in World War II. A prolific and respected film music composer, he was a protégé of Aaron Copland, who studied music with Roger Sessions and Stefan Wolpe. Bernstein worked in various artistic endeavors...
 
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Basil Poledouris
Basil Poledouris was born on August 21, 1945 in Kansas City. He started taking piano lessons when he was 7 years old. Eventually, he went on to become a student at USC, where he studied the arts of directing, cinematography, editing, sound and, of course, music. It was also at USC he met John Milius and Randal Kleiser...
 
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Nathan Whitehead
Nathan Whitehead is a composer for film, television, and video games. Nathan has collaborated with many of Hollywood's top composers and has contributed music and arrangements to The Purge: Anarchy, The Last Ship, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon among others. Recently he completed scoring the feature films Keanu and The Purge: Election Year...
 
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Bear McCreary
Bear McCreary is a degreed graduate of the prestigious USC Thornton School of Music (in 'Composition and Recording Arts'). Bear McCreary was one of a small and select group of proteges of the late, many-honored film composer Elmer Bernstein. Although he is now firmly in the mainstream of film composition...
 
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Trevor Jones
Composer, Notting Hill
As a child in Cape Town, Trevor Jones lived opposite the Gem Cinema. The theater was so old and worn out that there was often a loss of the soundtrack, which caused him to realize its power. The fact that everyone in his family worked in film or the theater made it easy to get support in his career choice...
 
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John Ottman
John Ottman holds dual distinctions as a leading film composer and an award winning film editor. Ottman has often completed both monumental tasks on the same films. Such remarkable double duties have included The Usual Suspects, X-Men 2, Superman Returns, Valkyrie, and Jack the Giant Killer. He has also held producer roles on several of these films...
 
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Mark Isham
Music Department, 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...
 
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Mark Snow
Composer, The X-Files
Mark Snow became a good friend with Michael Kamen while they were studying music at New York's Art and Music High School. After graduation, they became roommates at Julliard (an elite music school). After studying at Julliard, he became very fond of pop music. He, Michael Kamen and 3 others formed the New York Rock'n'Roll ensemble...
 
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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...
 
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Ennio Morricone
A classmate of director Sergio Leone with whom he would form one of the great director/composer partnerships (right up there with Eisenstein & Prokofiev, Hitchcock & Herrmann, Fellini & Rota), Ennio Morricone studied at Rome's Santa Cecilia Conservatory, where he specialized in trumpet. His first film scores were relatively undistinguished...
 
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Klaus Badelt
Music Department, Gladiator
Composer Klaus Badelt started his musical career writing and producing music for dozens of highly successful movies and commercials in his native Germany. In 1998, Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer invited him to move his musical home to Media Ventures in Santa Monica, CA. Since then, Klaus has...
 
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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...
 
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John Debney
Music Department, Sin City
Academy® Award nominated and Emmy® Award winner John Debney is considered one of the most prolific and successful composers in Hollywood. His unique ability to create memorable work across a variety of genres, as well as his reputation for being remarkably collaborative, have made him the first choice of top level producers and directors...
 
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John Carpenter
Writer, Halloween
John Howard Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York, to mother Milton Jean (Carter) and father Howard Ralph Carpenter. His family moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where his father, a professor, was head of the music department at Western Kentucky University. He attended Western Kentucky University and then USC film school in Los Angeles...
 
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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...
 
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John Barry
Music Department, Juke Box Jury
John Barry was born in York, England in 1933, and was the youngest of three children. His father, Jack, owned several local cinemas and by the age of fourteen, Barry was capable of running the projection box on his own - in particular, The Rialto in York. As he was brought up in a cinematic environment...
 
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James S. Levine
Composer, Glee
 
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Lisbeth Scott
Music Department, Iron Man 2
 
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Shirley Walker
Music Department, True Lies
Shirley Walker was born in Napa, California in 1945. She was educated at Pleasant Hill High School; attended San Francisco State College on piano scholarship; studied composition with Dr. Roger Nixon; and piano with Harald Logan of Berkeley, California. She was soloist with San Francisco Symphony while in high school; performed with various hotel, jazz & art bands in San Francisco, 1964 - 1967...
 
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Lisa Gerrard
Music Department, Man on Fire
 
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Ron Mael
Soundtrack, Kick-Ass
One half of the pop duo Sparks with brother Russell.
 
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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...
 
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Russell Mael
Soundtrack, Fright Night
One-half of the quirky, quasi-comical 1970's British pop duo 'Sparks' with brother Ron Mael. In their early career, Russell was the lead singer with long, curly black hair and a high-pitched falsetto voice, while Ron sat down and played keyboards, sported shorter oily, slick-backed black hair and a black mustache similar to that worn by Adolf Hitler...
 
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Jeff Rona
Composer, Chicago Hope
Jeff Rona is a contemporary film composer and recording artist. The youngest son of European immigrants, he studied music, art & photography, but left school to pursue music as his life's work. He began composing experimental music for dance, theater, media, galleries and contemporary concert venues around the world before becoming an in-demand studio musician...
 
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Penka Kouneva
Music Department, Transformers
Film & game composer of "exquisite talent" (Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands game co-composed with Steve Jablonsky), Penka has worked for 15 years in Los Angeles on titles grossing $15 billion world-wide. Her own music is a blend of her Eastern-European upbringing, classical training, modern film & game music...
 
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Cliff Martinez
Composer, Drive
 
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David Torn
Music Department, Lars and the Real Girl
David Torn (and, aka "splattercell") is a composer, guitarist & producer of actual international stature, reknowned for his unique musical voice(s) spanning a broad range of idioms & styles. His groundbreaking compositionally textural work has had a material impact & influence upon both film scoring --- through his own scores...
 
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Steven Price
Composer, Gravity
Steven Price is an Academy Award-winning composer. In 2014 his groundbreaking score for Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity won him not only the Academy Award but also the BAFTA, the Critics' Choice Award, the Satellite Award, and ASCAP's first-ever Film Composer of The Year Award. He has since scored Fury, the WWII epic written and directed by David Ayer...
 
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John Powell
Composer, Rio
 
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Gavin Greenaway
Music Department, The Hunger Games
 
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Carter Burwell
Music Department, Fargo
 
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Christopher Young
Composer, Spider-Man 3
Composer Christopher Young was born on April 28, 1957 in Red Bank, New Jersey. After graduating from Hampshire College in Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music, Young went on to pursue his post-graduate studies at North Texas State University. Christopher moved to Los Angeles, California in 1980...
 
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Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Jan A. P. Kaczmarek is a composer with a tremendous international reputation that continues to grow. As a successful recording artist and touring musician, Jan turned to composing film scores as his primary occupation. Jan's first success in the United States came in theater. After composing striking scores for productions at Chicago's Goodman Theatre and Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum...
 
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Martin Tillman
Music Department, The Dark Knight Rises
Swiss composer and world renowned cellist has established himself in the motion picture and recording world as one of the most sought after talents of experimental acoustic and electric cello. He has created a revolutionary sound of his own by extending the traditional boundaries of the cello. Since his arrival in the USA in 1988...
 
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Michael Nyman
Composer, The Piano
Michael Nyman studied piano, harpsichord and music history with Alan Bush at the Royal Academy of Music, and musicology with Thurston Dart at King's College, London. Between 1968 and 1978 he worked as a music critic and in 1977 he founded the Campiello Band, later renamed the Michael Nyman Band. Many of his filmscores were composed for the films of Peter Greenaway...
 
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Tim Truman
Music Department, Jeremiah
Right out of high school, American Composer, Tim Truman, was accepted into the coveted USC Music Composition Department. From there he began scoring prime-time network television. George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola selected Tim Truman to complete the score to the 70 mm 3D Disneyland feature "Captain EO" starring Michael Jackson and Anjelica Huston...
 
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Franz Waxman
Music Department, Peyton Place
Franz Waxman (Wachsmann) pursued his dream of a career in music despite his family's misgivings. He worked for several years as a bank teller and paid for piano, harmony and composition lessons with his salary. He later moved to Berlin, where he continued his study and progress as a musician. He was able to support himself by playing and arranging for a popular German jazz band...
 
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Rolfe Kent
Music Department, Dexter
 
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Philip Glass
Music Department, The Truman Show
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Glass worked in his father's radio store and discovered music listening to the offbeat Western classical records customers didn't seem to want. He studied the violin and flute, and obtained early admission to the University of Chicago. After graduating in mathematics and philosophy...
 
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Patrick Doyle
Actor, Brave
Patrick Doyle is a classically trained composer. His first film score, the acclaimed adaptation of "Henry V" with Kenneth Branagh for Renaissance films was scored in 1989. He has subsequently worked with Kenneth Branagh, a long time collaborator on numerous pictures including "Dead Again", "Much Ado About Nothing", "Frankenstein" and "Hamlet"...
 
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Randy Newman
Music Department, Toy Story 3