The BEST mainstream film composers.

by a_NORMAL_movie_fan | created - 11 Nov 2013 | updated - 11 Nov 2013 | Public

1. Steve Jablonsky

Composer | Transformers

Steve Jablonsky was born on October 9, 1970 in the USA. He is known for his work on Transformers (2007), Desperate Housewives (2004) and Deepwater Horizon (2016).

2. Trevor Rabin

Composer | Deep Blue Sea

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 ...

3. 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 ...

4. 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 ...

5. 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, ...

6. Nick Glennie-Smith

Music_department | The Rock

Nick Glennie-Smith was born on October 3, 1951 in London, England. He is known for his work on The Rock (1996), We Were Soldiers (2002) and The Man in the Iron Mask (1998). He is married to Jan Glennie-Smith. They have four children.

7. Harry Gregson-Williams

Composer | Shrek

Harry Gregson-Williams is one of Hollywood's most sought-after and prolific composers whose long list of film and television credits underscore the diverse range of his talents. His latest projects include the science fiction action thriller "The Meg," directed by Jon Turteltaub, the action ...

9. 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).

10. David Arnold

Soundtrack | Casino Royale

David Arnold was born on January 23, 1962 in Luton, England. He is known for his work on Casino Royale (2006), Independence Day (1996) and Godzilla (1998). He has been married to Ellie Pole since June 8, 1996. They have three children.

11. Randy Edelman

Music_department | The Last of the Mohicans

Randy Edelman was born on June 10, 1947 in Paterson, New Jersey, USA. He is known for his work on The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Six Days Seven Nights (1998) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008). He has been married to Jackie DeShannon since June 3, 1976. They have one child.

12. 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 ...

13. Mark Mancina

Composer | Speed

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 (2001), is a benchmark score that expanded the boundaries of scoring street-wise drama, and is widely...

14. 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 ...

15. Brian Tyler

Composer | Iron Man 3

Brian Tyler is known for his work on Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Eagle Eye (2008).

16. 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...

17. Mark Mothersbaugh

Composer | Thor: Ragnarok

Graduate of Woodridge High School in Peninsula, Ohio.

Attended Kent State University (1970-73) in Kent, Ohio, to focus on attaining an art degree. While at Kent State Mothersbaugh met Jerry Casale and Bob Lewis, who ultimately joined him in forming the 1970-80s avant-garde band Devo.

Awarded an ...

18. Clinton Shorter

Composer | District 9

Was nominated for Breakout Composer of the Year in 2009 by the International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA).

19. 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 ...

20. 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 ...

21. Henry Jackman

Composer | Kingsman: The Secret Service

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 ...

22. Jerry Goldsmith

Composer | L.A. Confidential

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 ...

23. 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. ...

24. Graeme Revell

Composer | The Saint

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 ...

25. John Powell

Composer | Solo: A Star Wars Story

John Powell was born on September 18, 1963 in London, England. He is a composer, known for Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and Rio (2011). He was previously married to Melinda Lerner.

26. Craig Armstrong

Soundtrack | Moulin Rouge!

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...

27. 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).

28. Christopher Young

Composer | Sinister

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, ...

29. Mark Isham

Composer | Blade

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, ...

30. 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) ...

31. David Newman

Composer | The Nutty Professor

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...

32. Randy Newman

Soundtrack | The Princess and the Frog

Randy Newman was born on November 28, 1943 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Randall Stuart Newman. He has been married to Gretchen Preece since 1990. They have two children. He was previously married to Roswitha Schmale.

33. John Frizzell

Composer | Dante's Peak

John Frizzell was born in 1966 in New York City, New York, USA. He is known for his work on Dante's Peak (1997), Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996) and Cradle 2 the Grave (2003).

34. Sylvester Levay

Music_department | Howard the Duck

Sylvester Levay was born as Szylveszter Lévay. He is known for his work on Howard the Duck (1986), Cobra (1986) and Flashdance (1983). He is married to Monika Levay.

35. Stanley Clarke

Composer | Boyz n the Hood

Four-time Grammy Award Winner Stanley Clarke has attained "living legend" status during his over 40-year career as a bass virtuoso. He is the first bassist in history who doubles on acoustic and electric bass with equal ferocity and the first jazz-fusion bassist ever to headline tours, selling out ...



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