Top Notch Music Composers

by muybueno16 | created - 27 May 2014 | updated - 12 Sep 2015 | Public

1. 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 ...

2. 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 ...

3. Alexandre Desplat

Composer | The King's Speech

Alexandre Desplat was born on August 23, 1961 in Paris, Île-de-France, France as Alexandre Michel Gerard Desplat. He is known for his work on The King's Speech (2010), Argo (2012) and The Queen (2006).

4. 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 ...

5. 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 ...

6. Ramin Djawadi

Composer | Game of Thrones

Ramin Djawadi was born on July 19, 1974 in Duisburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He is a composer, known for Game of Thrones (2011), Iron Man (2008) and Westworld (2016). He is married to Jennifer Hawks.

7. Brian Tyler

Composer | Iron Man Three

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

8. 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).

9. Sean Callery

Composer | 24

Sean Callery was born in 1964 in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. He is a composer, known for 24 (2001), Bones (2005) and Star Trek: Generations (1994).

10. The Crystal Method

Soundtrack | Lucy

The Crystal Method is an electronic music duo consisting of Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland.

11. 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, ...

12. 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, ...

13. Paul Oakenfold

Soundtrack | Swordfish

Paul Oakenfold was born on August 30, 1963 in London, England.

14. Don Davis

Composer | The Matrix Reloaded

Don Davis was born on February 4, 1957 in Anaheim, California, USA as Donald Romain Davis. He is known for his work on The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix (1999) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003). He has been married to Megan Jeanne MacDonald since May 25, 1986.

15. Jamie Christopherson

Composer | American Wrestler: The Wizard

Whether it be writing evocative orchestral music, recording world instruments on location in exotic places or programming cutting-edge modern synths, multi-award-winning composer Jamie Christopherson has built a reputation for consistently delivering unique, fresh and unexpected scores. He ...

16. 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 ...

17. 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 ...

18. 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 ...

19. Harry Gregson-Williams

Composer | The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

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: ...

20. John Powell

Composer | How to Train Your Dragon

John Powell was born on September 18, 1963 in London, England. He is a composer, known for How to Train Your Dragon (2010), Rio (2011) and The Bourne Identity (2002). He was previously married to Melinda Lerner.

21. Junkie XL

Composer | Mad Max: Fury Road

Junkie XL was born on December 8, 1967 in Lichtenvoorde, Gelderland, Netherlands as Antonius B. Holkenborg.

22. Bill Brown

Composer | CSI: NY

Bill Brown began his career composing orchestral and electronic scores for game titles including Tom Clancy's 'Rainbow Six' and 'Ghost Recon', Clive Barker's 'Undying', 'Return to Castle Wolfenstein', 'Lineage 2', 'Command and Conquer: Generals' and most recently 'Captain America: Super Soldier'. ...

23. 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 ...

24. Michael Kamen

Soundtrack | Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Michael Kamen was born on April 15, 1948 in New York City, New York, USA as Michael Arnold Kamen. He was married to Sandra Keenan. He died on November 18, 2003 in London, England.

25. 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...

26. 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).

27. Trent Reznor

Soundtrack | The Social Network

Trent Reznor is an American songwriter/musician/producer and sole member of multi-platinum act Nine Inch Nails, and now an Academy Award winning film composer. He began creating music as a child in Western Pennsylvania, first on piano and then taking up other instruments. He eventually moved to ...

28. Atticus Ross

Soundtrack | The Social Network

Atticus Ross was born on January 16, 1968 in England. He is married to Claudia Sarne.

29. Gary Numan

Soundtrack | Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Gary Numan was born, Gary Anthony James Webb in Hammersmith, London on 8th of March 1958. His first job was working as a dispatch boy with a courier company at Heathrow where his father worked as a bus driver. His first band was Mean Street who only used him because he had a lot of music gear. He ...

30. 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.

31. 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), ...

32. Gary Chang

Composer | Under Siege

Gary Chang was born on February 22, 1953 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. He is known for his work on Under Siege (1992), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) and Double Team (1997).

33. 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...

34. Carter Burwell

Music_department | Carol

Carter Burwell was born on November 18, 1954 in New York City, New York, USA as Carter Benedict Burwell. He is known for his work on Carol (2015), True Grit (2010) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). He has been married to Christine Sciulli since 1999.

35. 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...

36. Robert Rodriguez

Producer | El mariachi

Robert Anthony Rodriguez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, USA, to Rebecca (Villegas), a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman. His family is of Mexican descent.

Of all the people to be amazed by the images of John Carpenter's 1981 sci-fi parable, Escape from New York (1981), none ...

37. Dick Dale

Soundtrack | Escape from L.A.

Hailed as the "King of Surf Guitar, " Dick Dale virtually galvanized the surf rock sound in the 1950s. An avid surfer and accomplished musician, Dale and his band, 'Dick Dale and the Del-Tones', appeared in several of the ever-popular "Beach Party" teen flicks starring Annette Funicello and Frankie...

38. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...

39. tomandandy

Composer | The Strangers

They are Tom Hajdu and Andy Milburn. Andy from Texas and Tom from Canada. They met at Princeton University's Graduate Music Department.

40. 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).

42. 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 ...

43. 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 ...

44. Joel Goldsmith

Music_department | Star Trek: First Contact

One of six children of the legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith, and the oldest son, Joel Goldsmith's own career in film scoring began in 1978, when he collaborated with Richard Band on the score for Laserblast (1978). Joel Goldsmith next worked as sound mixer for another Band project, The Day Time ...

45. Alexander Courage

Music_department | Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Alexander Courage was born on December 10, 1919 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Alexander Mair Courage Jr. He is known for his work on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Star Trek: Beyond (2016) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972). He was married to Shirley Pumpelly. He died on May ...

46. Philip Glass

Composer | The Hours

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 ...

47. John Murphy

Composer | Sunshine

John Murphy is a British film composer from Liverpool. He began composing music scores for films in the early 1990s, working on several successful British movies, enjoying particular success with the soundtracks to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000).

Since 2000, Murphy has ...

48. 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...

49. 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 ...

50. 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 ...

51. Christopher Lennertz

Composer | Lost in Space

Christopher Lennertz was born on January 2, 1972 in Methuen, Massachusetts, USA. He is a composer, known for Lost in Space (2018), Medal of Honor: European Assault (2005) and Sausage Party (2016).

52. 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).

53. Massive Attack

Soundtrack | Mad Max: Fury Road

Massive Attack are an English trip hop group formed in 1988 in Bristol, consisting of Robert "3D" Del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall. The group started as a trio. Andrew Vowles was a founding member, next to Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall, but decided to leave in 1999 because of the ...

54. 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 Juilliard (an elite music school). After studying at Juilliard, he became very fond of pop music. He, Michael Kamen and 3 others ...

55. Mike Post

Composer | Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Mike Post was born in San Fernando, California. He became a musician for acts as varied as Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Kenny Rogers, Sonny Bono and Cher, playing guitar on the latter team's 1965 hit "I Got You, Babe". Two years later, Post won his first Grammy award for producing and arranging ...

56. Herman Beeftink

Soundtrack | X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Herman Beeftink, born in the Netherlands, has made an extensive contribution to film and television with his musical compositions since arriving to America in 1982. He began his path towards musical success while attending the Utrecht Conservatory as a student of piano and composition. His ...

57. Les Claypool

Music_department | Pig Hunt

Les Claypool was born on September 29, 1963 in Richmond, California, USA as Leslie Edward Claypool. He is known for his work on Pig Hunt (2008), Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) and Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008). He has been married to Cheney since 1995. They have two children.

58. Jon Kaplan

Composer | The Face

Jon Kaplan is a composer and writer, known for The Face (2017), The Ghosting (2018) and Zombeavers (2014).

59. Al Kaplan

Composer | The Face

Al Kaplan is a composer and writer, known for The Face (2017), The Ghosting (2018) and Zombeavers (2014).

60. Jay Ferguson

Soundtrack | The Terminator

Also wrote the theme music to Television shows such as Going to Extremes (1992), Viper (1996), The Office and Women's Murder Club. Got into writing TV theme songs after being asked if there were any of his songs lying around that needed some rock songs that would be used for The Terminator movie.

61. Martin O'Donnell

Sound_department | Little Shop of Horrors

Martin O'Donnell is known for his work on Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Halo (2001) and Halo 3 (2007). He is married to Marcie O'Donnell. They have two children.

62. Éric Serra

Music_department | GoldenEye

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;, ...

63. Christophe Beck

Composer | Frozen

Christophe Beck was born in 1972 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as Jean-Christophe Beck. He is known for his work on Frozen (2013), Ant-Man (2015) and The Muppets (2011).

66. Photek

Soundtrack | Stealth

Photek was born on May 13, 1972 in England as Rupert Parkes. He is known for his work on Stealth (2005), Blade (1998) and Stay (2005). He has been married to Stephanie Chao-Parkes since December 22, 2012. They have two children.

67. Joseph Vitarelli

Soundtrack | Pulp Fiction

Son of Joe Viterelli, although he spells his last name differently.

68. Rob Lane

Composer | John Adams

One of the most versatile and sought-after composers working today, Rob is a multi-award winning composer with a huge array of credits across many genres. A BAFTA winner for his score for Channel 4's Elizabeth starring Helen Mirren, he has also received 3 Ivor Novello awards, 3 RTS awards and 4 ...

69. Johnny Klimek

Music_department | Cloud Atlas

Formed the band Pale 3 with Tom Tykwer and Reinhold Heil.

70. Reinhold Heil

Music_department | Cloud Atlas

Reinhold Heil is a German-born, L.A.-based Golden Globe nominated film and television composer. Prior to Reinhold's career as a film composer, he was well known throughout Germany and Europe for his monster synth chops. At 21, he became a fixture in the Berlin music scene as the keyboardist of a ...

71. 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 ...

73. Mark T. Williams

Composer | Masterchef

Mark T. Williams was born on July 29, 1976 in Norfolk, Virginia, USA as Mark Thomas Williams. He is known for his work on Masterchef (2010), Shark Tank (2009) and The Biggest Loser (2004).

76. Kevin Sargent

Composer | The Hour

Kevin Sargent is a composer and actor, known for The Hour (2011), The Wrong Mans (2013) and Crush (2001).

77. Elia Cmiral

Composer | Ronin

Elia Cmiral (pronounced smear-al)'s first break came when his father let him score "Cyrano de Bergerac" at his theater when he was just eighteen years old. But before he could build a career in Czechoslovakia, he escaped to Sweden and, to his surprise, was soon asked to score a full-length battle ...

78. Trevor Jones

Composer | The Last of the Mohicans

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...

79. Chuck Cirino

Composer | A Doggone Adventure

Chuck grew up in South Florida making short 8mm films as a teen. His voracious quest to shoot, edit and show others his work landed him his first job as a station manager creating local public access TV content in Pennsylvania. Soon the adventure and mystique of Hollywood called him West where he ...

80. John Carpenter

Writer | The Fog

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 ...

81. Clinton Shorter

Composer | District 9

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

82. 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.

83. Patrick Doyle

Composer | Rise of the Planet of the Apes

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...

84. John Massari

Music_department | Disneyland

John Massari is a cherished American film composer whose recent works include the world's first virtual reality feature-length film, "Jesus VR: The Story of Christ". The epic emotional score for this film will connect audiences with a historic first-ever, powerful virtual reality experience. This ...

86. Nathan Furst

Music_department | Punch-Drunk Love

Son of actor/director/writer Stephen Furst and Lorraine Furst.

87. 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 ...

88. Murray Gold

Composer | Doctor Who

Five-time BAFTA nominee Murray Gold has been the composer of Doctor Who (2005) since its 2005 re-launch. One of the most inspired and uncompromising composers in his field, Gold composes for theatre, film, and television.

In addition to his two BAFTA nominations for Doctor Who, Gold earned BAFTA ...

89. Kevin Bassinson

Composer | Cyborg

Kevin Bassinson is known for his work on Cyborg (1989), 100 Girls (2000) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again (2016).

90. 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).

91. Nathan Whitehead

Composer | The Purge: Election Year

Nathan Whitehead is best known for composing the dark, textural scores for the blockbuster film franchise The Purge. As a composer, arranger, and producer, Nathan's work has spanned genres ranging from the comedies Keanu and Killing Hasselhoff to the action thrillers The Purge: Election Year and ...

92. Jim Dooley

Composer | Pushing Daisies

Jim Dooley is a graduate of New York University where he majored in Music Composition. Upon completion of his degree, he moved to Los Angeles to study the art of film composing with such prolific scoring legends as Christopher Young, Elmer Bernstein and Leonard Rosenman. He joined Media Ventures (...

93. James S. Levine

Composer | Glee

James S. Levine is known for his work on Glee (2009), American Horror Story (2011) and The Last Ship (2014).

95. Alex Wurman

Composer | Four Christmases

Emmy Award-winning composer Alex Wurman is highly versatile with a broad musical palette. He can traverse the film-score landscape by writing a critically-acclaimed score for an Oscar®-winning film, to supporting comedy with musical punctuation for box office giants, to capturing the essence of ...

96. Kevin Kiner

Composer | CSI: Miami

Kevin Kiner was born on September 3, 1958 in San Bernardino, California, USA as Kevin David Kiner. He is known for his work on CSI: Miami (2002), Ghost in the Shell (2017) and Walker, Texas Ranger (1993).