Our 9 Favorite Film Composers Of All Time
January 11, 2018
Classic movies and the wonderful stories they tell wouldn’t move along as beautifully without a composer to amplify them. We’re talking about the musical storytellers that intensify the plot before you. On Friday, January 19th, New World Symphony will be taking you to the cinema with a night filled with some of the greatest scores of all time. PULSE: Late Night at The Movies bridges symphony with DJ once again but this time as a tribute to cinematic classics. To get ready, we thought it’s time to breakdown our favorite scores, and the composers behind them:
You can’t start a composer list without the man who created the sound behind the adventure of a lifetime for multiple generations. John Williams has composed the score for some of the most popular and recognizable films of all time and has more Academy Award nominations than anyone else in history.
Notables: Star Wars series, Jaws, E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial, Superman, Harry Potter series, Indiana Jones series.
A personal favorite on this list, Alexandre Desplat has emerged as one of the most creative composers out there. He’s worked on both independent and major pictures, and is known most popularly as a frequent collaborator with director, Wes Anderson.
Notables: The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zero Dark Thirty, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 & 2.
Another kind of fantasy and adventure films, Howard Shore magnifies the already colossal productions with his talent and creativity. Many critics call him refined in his work, subtly bringing out the best in the stories before him.
Notables: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series, Silence of the Lambs, The Aviator, Seven, Gangs of New York.
Head of the music department at DreamWorks, Hans Zimmer has had an impressive compositional career spanning over 150 films. Working with such a lighthearted production agency shouldn’t fool you though, his dark scores for many Christopher Nolan projects are intense to say the least.
Notables: The Lion King, Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean.
When we think of scores, television usually doesn’t come to mind first. But when a composer like Danny Elfman comes along, he proves that shows should have just as much attention to scores as films do. Aside from being an actor and musician himself, Elfman is best known for his Tim Burton collaborations.
Notables: The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman, Men in Black series, Edward Scissorhands, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.
People in the film and music world know the name Ennio Morricone as a legendary and innovative creator beyond his medium. As a former trumpet player, composer, and conductor, he’s widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time. And he’s still going at 89.
Notables: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Untouchables, The Hateful Eight.
A contemporary compositional master, Thomas Newman has has a long career in the music industry starting from an early age. One of his first mentors as a composer was none other than Stephen Sondheim. His film scores range in every genre and have touches many audiences.
Notables: The Shawshank Redemption, Finding Nemo, James Bond (Skyfall and Spectre), The Green Mile, The Help.
Michael Giacchino‘s compositions range from film and television to the world of video games. His genres span a variety of audiences and age ranges. The award-winning composer has shown himself to be among some of the greats.
Notables: Lost, Call of Duty, The Incredibles, Rogue One, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Star Trek, Up, Coco.
We had to round out the list with another epic musical storyteller. James Horner has long been considered an innovative composer for his use of electronic and choral elements in his pieces. His creative approach transforms films into sagas that have lasted decades.
Notables: Titanic, Avatar, Braveheart, Aliens, Jumanji, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Apollo 13.
Honorable mention: Goes out to Nino Rota, the Italian composer responsible for The Godfather.
Make sure to watch many of these cinematic favorites come to life at PULSE: Late Night at The Movies next Friday. Grab your tickets here.