(Some of) My favourite Film Music Composers

by benedam-1 | created - 21 Jul 2014 | updated - 23 Jul 2014 | Public

I am a huge film music aficionado with hundreds of scores in my collection. As you can see, I love both the "classics" - such as Steiner (one of my all-time favs), Korngold (another all-time fav), Rózsa, Friedhofer, Salter, Goldsmith, Williams etc. - as well as the "newer" stuff .. including Hans Zimmer (who is the third of my all-time favs, or maybe should I say: first, when it comes to counting CD´s). My favourite scores are highlighted (F).

1. 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).

In my collection:

Twin Peaks The Straight Story (F) Mulholland Drive

2. Klaus Badelt

Composer | Constantine

Composer Klaus Badelt started his musical career writing and producing music for dozens of highly successful movies and commercials in his native Germany. In 1998, Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer invited him to move his musical home to Media Ventures in Santa Monica, CA. Since then, Klaus has ...

In my collection:

The Time Machine (F) Equilibrium Premonition (F)

3. John Barry

Music_department | Out of Africa

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 ...

In my collection:

James Bond (various samplers) Out of Africa (F) Dances With Wolves (F)

4. 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 ...

In my collection:

The Magnificent Seven (F) To Kill A Mockingbird (F) Time of Innocence (F)

5. 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).

In my collection:

Girl with a Pearl Earring (F) The Painted Veil (F) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Carnage

6. 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...

In my collection:

Henry V (F) Needful Things (F)

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 ...

In my collection:

Batman Dolores (F) Spider-Man Wolfman

In my collection:

Krabat (F) John Rabe Night Train to Lisbon

9. 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), ...

In my collection:

Lost (Season 1)

10. 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.

In my collection:

The Man in the Iron Mask (F)

11. 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. ...

In my collection:

Pet Sematary Interview With A Vampire (F) Final Fantasy (F)

12. 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 ...

In my collection:

Planet of the Apes (F) Papillon The Omen (F) Alien (F) Poltergeist (F) Rambo Basic Instinct (F) Star Trek - First Contact L.A. Confidential

13. 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: ...

In my collection:

Spy Game Kingdom of Heaven

14. 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 ...

In my collection (* to be found on various "samplers"):

Citizen Kane (F) The Day the Earth Stood Still The Egyptian Vertigo (F) The 7th Voyage of Sinbad * North by Northwest (F) Journey to the Center of the Earth * Psycho * The 3 Worlds of Gulliver * Jason and the Argonauts * Fahrenheit 451 (F)

15. James Horner

Soundtrack | Las puertitas del señor López

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 ...

In my collection:

Aliens Willow (F) Legends of the Fall Braveheart (F) Titanic (F) Deep Impact The Mask of Zorro A Beautiful Mind House of Sand and Fog Apocalypto (F) Avatar

16. Maurice Jarre

Composer | Lawrence of Arabia

Unlike many musicians who started to learn music while still in their childhood, Maurice Jarre was already late in his teens when he discovered music and decided to make a career in that field. Against his father's will, he enrolled at Conservatoire de Paris where he studied percussions, ...

In my collection:

Laurence of Arabia (F) Witness (F)

17. Ron Jones

Music_department | Family Guy

Ron Jones was born on July 7, 1954 in Kansas City, Kansas, USA as Ronald Jones. He is known for his work on Family Guy (1998), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and The Fairly OddParents (2001).

In my collection:

Star Trek - The Next Generation (F) (Sampler)

18. Jan A.P. Kaczmarek

Composer | Finding Neverland

Jan A. P. Kaczmarek is a composer with a tremendous international reputation that continues to grow. As a successful recording artist and touring musician, Jan turned to composing film scores as his primary occupation. Jan's first success in the United States came in theater. After composing ...

In my collection:

Finding Neverland War & Peace (F)

19. Bronislau Kaper

Composer | Mutiny on the Bounty

Born: February 5, 1902 in Warsaw, Poland Died: April 25, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA Kaper displayed musical talent as early as the age of seven when his family acquired a piano. His inclination to music led him to study both piano and composition, while also taking courses in law to ...

In my collection:

Mutiny on the Bounty (F)

20. Wojciech Kilar

Composer | The Pianist

Wojciech Kilar was born on July 17, 1932 in Lwów, Lwowskie, Poland. He was a composer, known for The Pianist (2002), Dracula (1992) and The Ninth Gate (1999). He was married to Barbara Pomianowska. He died on December 29, 2013 in Katowice, Slaskie, Poland.

In my collection:

Dracula (F) The Pianist

21. Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Composer | The Adventures of Robin Hood

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was the son of a well-known music critic. A child prodigy, he accompanied his father in playing four-handed piano arrangements by the age of five. By the age of eleven he drew his first plaudits from enthusiastic Viennese audiences (including the emperor Franz Josef) with ...

In my collection:

Captain Blood Robin Hood (F) The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex The Sea Hawk (F) Kings Row

22. Dennis McCarthy

Composer | Star Trek: Generations

Dennis McCarthy was born in 1945. He is a composer, known for Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: Enterprise (2001) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). He is married to Patti McCarthy. They have three children.

In my collection:

Star Trek - The Next Generation (F) (Sampler) Star Trek - Generations (F)

23. 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 ...

In my collection:

Once Upon a Time in the West Once Upon a Time in America (F) Hamlet Mission to Mars (F)

24. Mario Nascimbene

Soundtrack | Matchstick Men

Mario Nascimbene was born on November 28, 1913 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy as Mario Ernesto Rosolino Nascimbene. He is known for his work on Matchstick Men (2003), Rome 11:00 (1952) and Pronto... c'è una certa Giuliana per te (1967). He was married to Mara Caterina Ripari and Tamara Adrian. He...

In my collection:

The Vikings (F)

25. Javier Navarrete

Composer | El laberinto del fauno

Javier Navarrete was born in 1956 in Teruel, Aragón, Spain. He is known for his work on Pan's Labyrinth (2006), Wrath of the Titans (2012) and Byzantium (2012).

In my collection:

Pan´s Labyrinth (F)

26. Alfred Newman

Composer | How the West Was Won

Alfred Newman was born on March 17, 1901 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. He is known for his work on How the West Was Won (1962), All About Eve (1950) and V for Vendetta (2005). He was married to Martha Montgomery and Mary Lou Dix. He died on February 17, 1970 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California,...

In my collection:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (F) All About Eve (F)

27. 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) ...

In my collection:

The Shawshank Redemption The Horse Whisperer Meet Joe Black American Beauty (F) The Green Mile (F) In the Bedroom (F) Finding Nemo

28. 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, ...

In my collection:

King Kong (F) Blood Diamond (F) Defiance (F)

29. Alex North

Music_department | Spartacus

Alex North studied music at the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, then won a scholarship to Juilliard in New York (1929) and the Moscow Conservatoire (1933), making him the first-ever American to become a member of the Union of Soviet Composers. In Europe, he worked as music director for the ...

In my collection:

Cleopatra (F) 2001 (F) In the Shoes of the Fisherman (F)

30. Michael Nyman

Composer | The Piano

Michael Nyman studied piano, harpsichord and music history with Alan Bush at the Royal Academy of Music, and musicology with Thurston Dart at King's College, London. Between 1968 and 1978 he worked as a music critic and in 1977 he founded the Campiello Band, later renamed the Michael Nyman Band. ...

In my collection:

The Piano (F)

31. 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...

In my collection:

Valkyrie (F)

32. 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...

In my collection:

Conan the Barbarian (F) It´s my Party

33. Rachel Portman

Composer | Never Let Me Go

Rachel Portman was born on December 11, 1960 in Haslemere, Surrey, England as Rachel Mary Berkeley Portman. She is known for her work on Never Let Me Go (2010), Chocolat (2000) and Emma (1996). She has been married to Uberto Pasolini since 1995. They have three children.

In my collection:

The Cider House Rules (F)

34. 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...

In my collection:

The Godfather Trilogy (F)

35. Miklós Rózsa

Composer | Ben-Hur

A child prodigy, Miklos Rosza learned to play the violin at the age of five and read music before he was able to read words. In 1926, he began studying at the Leipzig Conservatory where he was considered a brilliant student. He obtained his doctorate in music in 1930. Moving to Paris the following ...

In my collection:

Quo Vadis Ben Hur (F) El Cid (F)

36. Hans J. Salter

Composer | It Started with Eve

Wrote most of his scores for films and television shows made by Universal; he was with them for nearly thirty years.

In my collection:

House of Frankenstein

37. 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 ...

In my collection:

The Silence of the Lambs The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (F)

38. 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 ...

In my collection:

Bodyguard Forrest Gump (F) Contact (F)

39. 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...

In my collection:

King Kong (F) She Gone With the Wind (F) Casablanca (F) The Adventures of Mark Twain (F) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

40. Dimitri Tiomkin

Music_department | High Noon

Dimitri Tiomkin was a Russian Jewish composer who emigrated to America and became one of the most distinguished and best-loved music writers of Hollywood. He won a hallowed place in the pantheon of the most successful and productive composers in American film history, earning himself four Oscars ...

In my collection:

High Noon (F) The Fall of the Roman Empire (F)

41. Tom Tykwer

Composer | Lola rennt

Director, writer, producer and composer Tom Tykwer was born in 1965 in Wuppertal, Germany. He showed an interest in film-making from childhood, making super 8 films from the age of 11. Among his first jobs was working at a local art-house cinema. Tykwer eventually relocated to Berlin, first working...

In my collection:

Perfume Cloud Atlas (F)

42. Vangelis

Composer | Alexander

Vangelis is a composer and performer who works almost exclusively with electronic instruments. He is probably most well known for his Chariots of Fire (1981) and Blade Runner (1982) soundtracks or for the tracks used in the Cosmos (1980) television series. He has been involved in many musical ...

In my collection:

Chariots of Fire (F) Blade Runner (F) The Bounty 1492 - Conquest of Paradise (F) Alexander

43. Franz Waxman

Composer | Sunset Blvd.

Franz Waxman (Wachsmann) pursued his dream of a career in music despite his family's misgivings. He worked for several years as a bank teller and paid for piano, harmony and composition lessons with his salary. He later moved to Berlin, where he continued his study and progress as a musician. He ...

In my collection (* to be found on a "sampler"):

Rebecca (F) Sunset Boulevard (F) Prince Valiant * Return to Peyton Place * Taras Bulba *

44. 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 ...

In my collection:

Jaws (F) Family Plot (F) Star Wars (1-6) (F) Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind Indiana Jones (1-4) E.T. (F) Far and Away Jurassic Park (F) Schindler´s List (F) Seven Years in Tibet Amistad A.I. (F) Harry Potter (1-3) (F) Minority Report The Geisha (F)

45. 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, ...

In my collection:

Hellraiser Stark (F) Shipping News (F)

46. 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 ...

In my collection:

K2 Crimson Tide Peacemaker The Thin Red Line (F) Gladiator Hannibal Pirates of the Caribbean (1-3) Last Samurai (F) King Arthur Laura´s Star Batman Begins The Da Vinci Code (F) The Dark Knight Frost/Nixon Illuminati Sherlock Holmes (F) Inception Sherlock Holmes 2 (F) Man of Steel (F)



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