My favorite composers

by Toni Jalonen | created - 04 Dec 2010 | updated - 26 Jan 2011 | Public

Movie/video game music composers only, I won't list any classical composers etc.

1. Ennio Morricone

Composer | The Hateful Eight

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 ...

2. Angelo Badalamenti

Music_department | Mulholland Dr.

Angelo Badalamenti was born on March 22, 1937 in New York City, New York, USA. He is known for his work on Mulholland Dr. (2001), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) and A Very Long Engagement (2004).

3. John Williams

Music_department | Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

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 ...

5. Michael Giacchino

Composer | Star Trek

Michael Giacchino is an American composer of music for films, television and video games.

Giacchino composed the scores to the television series Lost, Alias and Fringe, the video game series Medal of Honor and Call of Duty and many films such as The Incredibles (2004), Star Trek (2009), Up (2009), ...

6. Clint Mansell

Composer | Black Swan

Clint Mansell was born on January 7, 1963 in Coventry, West Midlands, England. He is a composer, known for Black Swan (2010), The Fountain (2006) and Requiem for a Dream (2000).

7. Danny Elfman

Music_department | The Nightmare Before Christmas

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 ...

8. 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 ...

9. Hans Zimmer

Composer | Gladiator

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 ...

10. James Newton Howard

Composer | King Kong

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 (1985) in 1985. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards. He currently is a songwriter, ...

11. Howard Shore

Music_department | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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 ...

12. Anssi Tikanmäki

Soundtrack | Juha

Anssi Tikanmäki was born on March 18, 1955 in Haapajärvi, Finland.

13. Jerry Goldsmith

Music_department | Star Trek: First Contact

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 ...

14. Basil Poledouris

Composer | The Hunt for Red October

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...

15. RZA

Soundtrack | The Man with the Iron Fists

RZA was born on July 5, 1969 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Robert Fitzgerald Diggs. He has been married to Talani Rabb since August 29, 2009. He was previously married to Eboni Mills.

16. Bernard Herrmann

Soundtrack | Taxi Driver

The man behind the low woodwinds that open Citizen Kane (1941), the shrieking violins of Psycho (1960), and the plaintive saxophone of Taxi Driver (1976) 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 ...

17. Henry Mancini

Soundtrack | Breakfast at Tiffany's

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, but brought up in Pennsylvania, where he played the flute in a local band, as a youth, before sending some arrangements to Benny Goodman. Goodman offered him a job and, after serving in WWII, he joined the rearranged Glenn Miller band. In 1952, he was given a two-week ...

18. Charlie Clouser

Composer | Saw

Charlie Clouser is a recording artist and composer for film and television who lives in Los Angeles.

The recipient of twelve BMI Film & TV Music awards, Charlie has also received ten platinum and gold record awards for his work as a member of the band Nine Inch Nails, and as a producer, programmer, ...

19. Jesper Kyd

Composer | Assassin's Creed II

BAFTA award-winning and Billboard/MTV VMA nominated composer Jesper Kyd first started writing music for visual media in the experimental European 'demoscene'. At 19 he became part owner of a video game company which later evolved into IO Interactive, the studio behind the Hitman series and Freedom ...

20. 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) ...

21. Max Steiner

Composer | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Austrian composer who achieved legendary status as the creator of hundreds of classic American film scores. As a child he was astonishingly musically gifted, composing complex works as a teenager and completing the course of study at Vienna's Hochschule fuer Musik und Darstellende Kunst in only one...

22. Elmer Bernstein

Composer | Far from Heaven

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 ...

23. Joe Hisaishi

Composer | Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi

Joe Hisaishi was born on December 6, 1950 in Nagano, Japan as Mamoru Fujisawa. He is known for his work on Spirited Away (2001), Kaze tachinu (2013) and Ponyo (2008).

24. Alan Silvestri

Composer | The Polar Express

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 ...

25. 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...

26. Brad Fiedel

Music_department | True Lies

Extremely talented, prolific and versatile composer Brad Fiedel was born on March 10, 1951 in New York City. His mother was a dancer and his father was a composer and musician. Brad started out as a keyboardist for Hall & Oates. Fiedel first began composing music for movies in the mid-70s for such ...

27. Goblin

Composer | Non ho sonno

For 25 years, Goblin has been scoring soundtracks for Italian films, mainly Giallo-style films directed by Dario Argento. The group consisted of keyboardist Claudio Simonetti, percussionist Walter Martino, bassist Fabio Pignatelli, guitarist Massimo Morante, percussionist Agostino Marangolo, and ...

28. John Ottman

Composer | Valkyrie

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...

29. Elliot Goldenthal

Composer | Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Elliot Goldenthal is an Academy Award-winning composer best known for his original music scores for such films as Frida (2002) and Across the Universe (2007), 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. ...

30. John Barry

Music_department | Dances with Wolves

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 ...

31. Tyler Bates

Composer | Guardians of the Galaxy

Long before he cemented himself as a highly sought-after composer, guitarist, songwriter, and record producer, Tyler Bates resided in a haunted rural Illinois log cabin ranch previously owned by none other than Al Capone. Between two exorcisms on the property and an "odd" job unwittingly digging ...

32. Tuomas Kantelinen

Composer | Mongol

Tuomas Kantelinen was born on September 22, 1969 in Finland. He is known for his work on Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007), The Italian Key (2011) and Ambush (1999). He is married to Rosa Karo.

33. Heikki Aaltoila

Composer | Niskavuoren Aarne

Heikki Aaltoila's father was an amateur actor and musician. Aaltoila studied music 1928-34 at Helsinki Conservatoire with Erkki Melartin, Leevi Madetoja and Ernst Linko. He played the piano in silent movies, and also double bass at Helsinki University Student Orchestra. He had a job at the Finnish ...

34. Erkki Ertama

Composer | Nuoruus vauhdissa

Erkki Ertama was born on November 26, 1927 in Alavus, Finland. He was a composer and actor, known for Nuoruus vauhdissa (1961), Kesäyön lapset (1955) and Sissit (1963). He died on September 16, 2010 in Helsinki, Finland.

35. Toivo Kärki

Soundtrack | Tähtisumua

Toivo Kärki was born on December 3, 1915 in Pirkkala, Finland as Toivo Pietari Johannes Kärki. He was married to Ilma Tuulikki Leikas. He died on April 30, 1992 in Helsinki, Finland.

36. Vesa Mäkinen

Composer | Emmauksen tiellä

Vesa Mäkinen is known for his work on Emmauksen tiellä (2001), Salatut elämät (1999) and Äkkilähtö (2016).

37. Jaakko Salo

Writer | Katapultti

Jaakko Salo was born on February 22, 1930 in Varkaus, Finland as Jaakko Elias Salo. He is known for his work on Katapultti (1971), Kotia päin (1989) and Eurovision laulukilpailu 1974 - Suomen karsinta (1974). He was married to Marjatta Leppänen and Ani Salo. He died on June 13, 2002 in ...

38. Ahti Sonninen

Composer | Elokuu

Ahti Sonninen was born on July 11, 1914 in Kuopion mlk, Finland. He is known for his work on Elokuu (1956), Maija löytää sävelen (1950) and Tuntematon sotilas (1955). He died on July 28, 1984 in Helsinki, Finland.

39. Mauri Sumén

Composer | Tuhlaajapoika

Mauri Sumén was born on October 2, 1965 in Lappeenranta, Finland as Mauri Juhani Sumén. He is known for his work on Tuhlaajapoika (1992), The Last Border - viimeisellä rajalla (1993) and La Vie de Bohème (1992).

40. Korhonen

Music_department | Madventures

41. Heikki Silvennoinen

Actor | Kummeli

Heikki Silvennoinen was born on April 27, 1954 in Savonlinna, Finland as Heikki Johannes Silvennoinen. He is an actor and writer, known for Kummeli (1991), Kummeli Stories (1995) and Kummeli kultakuume (1997). He has been married to Tiina Lähteenmäki since August 1998.

42. Timo Kahilainen

Actor | Herra Heinämäki ja Leijonatuuliviiri

Timo Kahilainen was born in 1963 as Timo Eero Kahilainen. He is an actor and writer, known for Herra Heinämäki ja Leijonatuuliviiri (2011), Kummeli V (2014) and Kummeli Stories (1995).