Carter Burwell

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Carter Burwell
Born Carter Benedict Burwell[1]
(1955-11-18) November 18, 1955 (age 58)
New York City, New York, United States

Carter Benedict Burwell (born November 18, 1955) is an American composer of film scores.

Life and career[edit]

Burwell was born in New York City, the son of Natalie (née Benedict), a math teacher, and Charles Burwell, who founded Thaibok Fabrics, Ltd.[1] He graduated from King School in Stamford, Connecticut,[2] and Harvard College, where he was a cartoonist for The Harvard Lampoon.

As a film composer, Burwell has had a long-working relationship with the Coen brothers, providing music for every film they have made (except for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, where he provided additional music to a score of traditional songs produced by T-Bone Burnett). He enjoys working with left-field directors, such as Spike Jonze. Among his best known film scores are Miller's Crossing (1990), And the Band Played On (1993), Conspiracy Theory (1997), Hamlet (2000), The Spanish Prisoner (1997), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), In Bruges (2008), Twilight (2008) Where The Wild Things Are (2009), The Blind Side (2009), and Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011).

Burwell studied piano as a child, but eventually quit. His interest in music reignited when Steve Kraemer, a fellow high school student, taught him basic blues improvisation on the piano, which he continued with through college.

Ultimately the ethos of the punk rock movement gave him the impetus to start performing. He performed in New York with several bands, notably The Same, Thick Pigeon and Radiante.

By 1986 he had composed the music for a dance piece, RAB, which premiered at the Avignon Festival. At the same time, he was touring worldwide with The Harmonic Choir, David Hykes' experimental vocal group which specialized in overtone singing.

Burwell used the country music genre as the basis for his score for the Coens' Raising Arizona in 1987. From 1982 to 1987, he worked at the New York Institute of Technology.[3]

His work has alternated between live performance, dance and theatre commissions, and film scoring. His chamber opera "The Celestial Alphabet Event" was presented in New York in 1991 and other theatre pieces include "Mother" (1994) and "Lucia's Chapters" (2007), both with the experimental theatre group Mabou Mines.

In April 2005, Burwell composed and conducted music, performed by The Parabola Ensemble, for the plays "Sawbones" written and directed by the Coen Brothers, "Hope Leaves the Theater" written and directed by Charlie Kaufman and "Anomalisa" written and directed by Francis Fregoli. This was a segment of the sound-only production Theater of the New Ear, which debuted at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY with support from Sirius Satellite Radio, United Talent Agency and Sony Pictures. It was also performed at the Royal Festival Hall in London and as part of the UCLA Live Festival in Los Angeles.

Burwell married Christine Sciulli in 1999.[4]

Thick Pigeon[edit]

Burwell once played in Thick Pigeon with Stanton Miranda. The group released two albums, Too Crazy Cowboys (Factory) and tracks on Miranda Dali (Crepuscule), originally released as a Miranda solo project but later reissued as a Thick Pigeon release. On Burwell's soundtrack for Psycho III, Miranda was a featured singer.

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
1984 Blood Simple Joel Coen Circle Films
(1985)
USA Films
(2000)
N/A
1985 A Hero of Our Time Michael Almereyda N/A Short film
1985 R.A.B.L. Patrice M. Regnier N/A Short film
1986 Psycho III Anthony Perkins Universal Pictures N/A
1987 Raising Arizona Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
(Uncredited)
20th Century Fox N/A
1988 Pass the Ammo David Beaird New Century Vista Film Company N/A
1988 The Beat Paul Mones Vestron Pictures N/A
1988 It Takes Two David Beaird Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
United Artists
N/A
1989 Checking Out David Leland Warner Bros. Pictures N/A
1990 Miller's Crossing Joel Coen 20th Century Fox N/A
1991 Barton Fink Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
(Uncredited)
20th Century Fox N/A
1991 Doc Hollywood Michael Caton-Jones Warner Bros. Pictures N/A
1991 Scorchers David Beaird Goldcrest Films N/A
1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fran Rubel Kuzui 20th Century Fox N/A
1992 Waterland Stephen Gyllenhaal Fine Line Features N/A
1992 Storyville Mark Frost 20th Century Fox N/A
1993 This Boy's Life Michael Caton-Jones Warner Bros. Pictures
Knickerbocker Films
N/A
1993 Kalifornia Dominic Sena Gramercy Pictures
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Propaganda Films
Viacom Films
N/A
1993 A Dangerous Woman Stephen Gyllenhaal Gramercy Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
N/A
1993 And the Band Played On Roger Spottiswoode N/A Television film
1993 Wayne's World 2 Stephen Surjik Paramount Pictures N/A
1994 The Hudsucker Proxy Joel Coen Warner Bros. Pictures
(United States)
Gramercy Pictures
(International)
Silver Pictures
Working Title Films
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
N/A
1994 It Could Happen to You Andrew Bergman TriStar Pictures N/A
1994 Airheads Michael Lehmann 20th Century Fox N/A
1995 Bad Company Damian Harris Touchstone Pictures N/A
1995 A Goofy Movie Kevin Lima Walt Disney Pictures Composed with Don Davis
1995 Rob Roy Michael Caton-Jones United Artists N/A
1995 The Celluloid Closet Rob Epstein
Jeffrey Friedman
TriStar Pictures Documentary
1995 Two Bits James Foley Miramax Films N/A
1996 Fargo Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
(Uncredited)
Gramercy Pictures
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Working Title Films
N/A
1996 Fear James Foley Universal Pictures
Imagine Entertainment
N/A
1996 Joe's Apartment John Payson Geffen Pictures N/A
1996 The Chamber James Foley Universal Pictures
Imagine Entertainment
Davis Entertainment
N/A
1997 Picture Perfect Glenn Gordon Caron 20th Century Fox N/A
1997 Assassin(s) Mathieu Kassovitz N/A French film
1997 Conspiracy Theory Richard Donner N/A
1997 The Locusts John Patrick Kelley Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Orion Pictures
N/A
1997 The Spanish Prisoner David Mamet Sony Pictures Classics N/A
1997 Girls Night Out Myra Paci N/A Short film
1997 The Jackal Michael Caton-Jones Universal Pictures
Mutual Film Company
N/A
1998 Gods and Monsters Bill Condon Lions Gate Films
Regent Entertainment
BBC Films
N/A
1998 The Big Lebowski Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
(Uncredited)
Gramercy Pictures
Working Title Films
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
N/A
1998 Velvet Goldmine Todd Haynes Miramax Films
Newmarket Capital Group
Channel Four Films
N/A
1998 The Hi-Lo Country Stephen Frears Gramercy Pictures
Working Title Films
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
N/A
1999 The Corruptor James Foley New Line Cinema N/A
1999 The General's Daughter Simon West Paramount Pictures N/A
1999 Being John Malkovich Spike Jonze USA Films
Propaganda Films
Gramercy Pictures
N/A
1999 Three Kings David O. Russell Warner Bros. Pictures
Village Roadshow Pictures
N/A
1999 Mystery, Alaska Jay Roach Hollywood Pictures N/A
2000 Hamlet Michael Almereyda Miramax Films N/A
2000 What Planet Are You From? Mike Nichols Columbia Pictures N/A
2000 Before Night Falls Julian Schnabel Fine Line Features N/A
2000 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 Joe Berlinger Artisan Entertainment
Haxan Films
N/A
2001 A Knight's Tale Brian Helgeland Columbia Pictures
Escape Artists
N/A
2001 The Man Who Wasn't There Joel Coen
Ethan Coel

(Uncredited)
USA Films
Working Title Films
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
N/A
2002 The Rookie John Lee Hancock Walt Disney Pictures N/A
2002 Searching for Paradise Myra Paci N/A N/A
2002 S1m0ne Andrew Niccol New Line Cinema N/A
2002 Adaptation. Spike Jonze Columbia Pictures
Good Machine
Intermedia
Propaganda Films
Saturn Films
N/A
2003 Intolerable Cruelty Joel Coen
Ethan Coen

(Uncredited)
Universal Pictures
Imagine Entertainment
N/A
2004 The Ladykillers Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
Touchstone Pictures N/A
2004 The Alamo John Lee Hancock Touchstone Pictures
Imagine Entertainment
N/A
2004 Kinsey Bill Condon Fox Searchlight Pictures
American Zoetrope
Myriad Pictures
N/A
2006 Fur Steven Shainberg Picturehouse N/A
2006 The Hoax Lasse Hallström Miramax Films
The Mark Gordon Company
N/A
2007 No Country for Old Men Joel Coen
Ethan Coel
Miramax Films
Paramount Vantage
N/A
2007 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Sidney Lumet ThinkFilm N/A
2008 In Bruges Martin McDonagh Focus Features
Film4 Productions
N/A
2008 Burn After Reading Joel Coen
Ethan Coel
Focus Features
Relativity Media
StudioCanal
Working Title Films
N/A
2008 Twilight Catherine Hardwicke Summit Entertainment N/A
2009 A Serious Man Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
Focus Features
Relativity Media
StudioCanal
Working Title Films
N/A
2009 Where the Wild Things Are Spike Jonze Warner Bros. Pictures
Legendary Pictures
Village Roadshow Pictures
Playtone
N/A
2009 The Blind Side John Lee Hancock Warner Bros. Pictures
Alcon Entertainment
N/A
2010 Howl Rob Epstein
Jeffrey Friedman
Oscilloscope Laboratories N/A
2010 The Kids Are All Right Lisa Cholodenko Focus Features Composed with Nathan Larson and Craig Wedren
2010 True Grit Joel & Ethan Coen Paramount Pictures
Skydance Productions
Amblin Entertainment
N/A
2011 Midnight Run Neil Shelley N/A Short film
2011 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Bill Condon Summit Entertainment N/A
2011 Moving Gracefully Towards the Exit Jean-Bernard Andro
Patrice M. Regnier
N/A N/A
2012 Seven Psychopaths Martin McDonagh CBS Films
(United States)
Momentum Pictures
(International)
N/A
2012 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Bill Condon Lionsgate
Summit Entertainment
N/A
2013 The Fifth Estate Bill Condon Touchstone Pictures/DreamWorks Studios Fifth film with director Bill Condon.

Television[edit]

Year Title Studio(s) Notes
1990 Clash! N/A Theme music only
2011 Mildred Pierce HBO Miniseries
2011 Enlightened HBO Episode: "Pilot"
2014 Olive Kitteridge[5] HBO Miniseries

References[edit]

External links[edit]