Best Composers

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1.
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.
 
2.
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)...
 
3.
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...
 
4.
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...
 
6.
Thomas Newman
Music Department, WALL·E
 
7.
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...
 
8.
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...
 
9.
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)...
 
10.
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...
 
11.
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...
 
13.
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...
 
15.
Nino Rota
Composer, The Godfather
Born in Milan in 1911 into a family of musicians, Nino Rota was first a student of Orefice and Pizzetti. Then, still a child, he moved to Rome where he completed his studies at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in 1929 with Alfredo Casella. In the meantime, he had become an 'enfant prodige', famous both as a composer and as an orchestra conductor...
 
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18.
Randy Newman
Music Department, Toy Story 3
 
19.
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.
 
20.
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"...
 
21.
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...
 
22.
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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24.
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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26.
John Lunn
Composer, Downton Abbey
John Lunn's music possesses a wonderfully unique voice that spans a wide spectrum of musical styles. Classically trained, yet contemporary in attitude, he combines a highly intelligent and sensitive approach with a sound that always hits at the emotional heart of a piece. His scores, which match the highest production values with a continual desire to discover new colours and sounds...
 
28.
Robert Duncan
Robert Duncan is a four-time Emmy nominated television and film composer known for his work on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (UPN), 'Castle' (ABC), 'The Unit' (CBS), 'Last Resort' (ABC), Whispers and 'Terriers' (FX). Born and raised in Toronto, Robert attended a performing arts school and earned a bachelor's degree in music at York University...
 
29.
Michael Kamen
Music Department, Lethal Weapon
 
30.
Eleni Karaindrou
Eleni Karaindrou was born in the mountain village of Teichio in central Greece and grew up in Athens, where she studied piano and theory at the Hellenikon Odion. From 1969-74 she studied ethnomusicology in Paris and, on returning to Greece, founded the Laboratory for Traditional Instruments at the ORA Cultural Centre...
 
31.
Bernard Herrmann
Music Department, Citizen Kane
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...
 
33.
Zbigniew Preisner
Born in Poland in 1955, Zbigniew Preisner studied philosophy and history in the university of Cracow. In his twenties he started to study music in a autodidactical way: buying records and learning to write by taking the music in parts. He started to write his own compositions. His style has always been very romantic...
 
34.
Yann Tiersen
Composer, Amélie
 
35.
David Arnold
Music Department, Stargate SG-1
 
36.
Daniel Licht
Composer, Dexter
Composer of the Emmy Award winning show, Dexter, and hugely popular video games, Silent Hill and Dishonored, one of Daniel Licht's first experiences as a musician resulted in him hanging out with Miles Davis and playing jazz with Don Cherry in New York City. Licht continued to develop as a musician by playing around the world...
 
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38.
Sean Callery
Composer, 24
 
39.
Joseph LoDuca
By the age of 15 (1973), Joseph LoDuca was opening for rock legends Bob Seger and Ted Nugent in smoky Detroit clubs and sneaking into Jeff Beck concerts. He was hooked. He went on to train formally in classical music at the University of Michigan and in New York City. He plugged into the jazz scene and submerged himself in cultures from around the world...