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, but it was the cinema across the street that truly inspired him. At 17, Jones won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, which his mother was fully behind. Not being from England, he could only stay four years, but he did not wish to return due to lack of industry and South African politics. In his third year, he won an award which brought him to the attention of the BBC, where he worked four years as a classical music reviewer, the time allowing him to become a naturalized British citizen. One day there he met Dr. Wilfrid Mellers, a professor at York Universiy, who helped him design a four-year course plan studying all types of music, from the ethnic to the avant garde, music concrete, and electronic. He then went to the British National Film School for an M.A. in film music, and he learned all aspects of filmmaking, directing, writing, and photographing many student films, and composing the music for most everybody at the university. His education in the field took twelve years.
His use of professional musicians allowed him to go straight into the industry. He initially scored shorts with Roger Christian, and was discovered by John Boorman after working on an Irish TV show. Boorman allowed him to write 55 minutes of music for Excalibur (1981) in addition to the classical pieces of Wagner and Orff that were used. Jim Henson called him for The Dark Crystal (1982) even before he had a script, and he would work on Henson projects, along with others, until Henson's death. Jones was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work on The Last of the Mohicans (1992). This success makes him frequently on call, particularly when he is in Los Angeles (where his wife and four children like to accompany him), but he wants to do small, low budget films as well as large, taking small salaries to work on film in which he is really interested. He cites Mark Herman and John Henderson among his favorite directors to work with. He has also worked well with Barbet Schroeder and Richard Loncraine. His attention to the film as an art form is indicative in his work ethic: only one at a time. He once talked himself out of work on a film he thought needed no music. They took his suggestion and won an award. "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1984) was a film in which he was brought in very late and did not meet the director or the dubbing mixer. "That was the first and only time on a film that I'd never met the director", Jones says. Jones tries to keep from becoming typecast, wanting to work on all types of films, and not do films of the same kind all together, when composers are among the most typecast artists in the industry. His style has worked well, as he has had more films in 1997 and 1998 than in any other single year.
Did not know of Varèse Sarabande's album release of his Dominick and Eugene (1988) score, and has never even seen a copy.
The exciting thing for me is that the lowest common denominator isn't all that low or that common. The average cinemagoer is a pretty sophisticated animal; he wants to be entertained and stimulated on an increasingly higher and higher level, and really to manipulate your craft is becoming harder and harder for composers.
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