July 4, 1965 |
Inon Zur (born July 4, 1965) is an Israeli American music composer who has won several awards for his work. Originally writing for movies and television, he later moved into composing for video games. He has been described as being "internationally recognized as one of the A-list orchestral composers in the video games industry". During his career to date, Zur has composed the music to over 40 video games, 15 television shows, and 10 movies, as well as many movie trailers. He has been nominated for numerous awards, and has won three—a Telly Award in 1997 for Best Score on Power Rangers: Turbo, a Game Audio Network Guild award in 2004 for Best Original Instrumental track for Men of Valor, and a Hollywood Music in Media Award in 2009 for Best Original Song – Video Game for Dragon Age: Origins. He currently lives in Encino, California, in the United States, and is composing the scores for several unreleased games.
Early life 
Inon Zur was born in Israel. As early as five years old, he was trying to compose harmonies with his mother's singing, and became inspired by classical music. He learned to play french horn as a child, studied piano by the age of eight, and was studying composition by the age of ten. He graduated from the Music Academy of Tel Aviv, and spent four years in the Israeli military. Zur feels that this military experience matured him as a person and taught him to appreciate life and work hard at what he does. He emigrated to the United States in 1990 to study at the Dick Grove School of Music for a year, and then under private tutor Jack Smalley, a television music composer, and others for two years at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Zur began his career in 1994 by working on soundtracks for movies, such as Yellow Lotus, featured at the Sundance Film Festival. He then signed on to compose for Fox Family for six years, and made soundtracks for various children's television shows, including Digimon and Power Rangers. By 2002 he estimated that he had composed the soundtrack to over 360 Power Rangers episodes alone. He won his first award during this period in his career, a Telly Award for his work on Power Rangers: Turbo. While he enjoyed the work, he began to want to go work somewhere "more intriguing, more advanced, and basically a place that people really appreciate music more"; his agent overcame his initial reluctance and convinced him to work in the video games industry. His first video game soundtrack was 2000's Star Trek: Klingon Academy, though he started composing for the game in 1997. Zur quickly moved on to prestigious titles, composing for the award-winning and critically acclaimed Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal in 2001 and Icewind Dale II in 2002, among many others. Icewind Dale II earned him the first of many nominations for video game music awards, that of the Game Audio Network Guild's Music of the Year award. He continued to work on movies and television programs during these years, composing the soundtrack to Au Pair in 1999 and the English version of the 2000 anime series Escaflowne.
Zur's latest movie soundtrack to date was that of 2001's Au Pair II. He has worked on a few television series since then; his last traditional television soundtrack was for The Bachelor in 2002, though he has composed music for three webisode series since then. He continued to work on numerous best-selling video games, including Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones in 2005 and Crysis in 2007. He has also garnered several nominations for video game music awards, including his first win, for Men of Valor in the Best Original Instrumental track category of the 2004 Game Audio Network Guild awards. His latest released titles have been the highly successful Fallout 3 and Prince of Persia in 2008, and 2009's Dragon Age: Origins and the Nintendo DS version of James Cameron's Avatar: The Game. He is currently working on the soundtracks to several unreleased video games, and continues to live in Encino, California. Dragon Age has earned Zur his third career award, that of Best Original Song – Video Game in the 2009 Hollywood Music In Media Awards.
Zur penned the original musical score for The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (Warner Bros.) video game, conducting and recording with the London Philharmonia Orchestra and the Pinewood Singers Choir at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. In an industry first, a dedicated concert of his music from THE LORD OF THE RINGS was performed each evening at the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. The one hour concert series was conducted by Zur and performed by The Hollywood Orchestra and Choir with the participation of The Lyris Quartet and solos from celebrated vocalist Aubrey Ashburn.
Zur's compositions have been played several times in live concerts. The first of these was a concert held in Seoul, South Korea on May 30, 2006 dedicated to his music for Lineage II: Chronicle V: Oath of Blood. On August 20, 2008, music from his soundtrack to Crysis was played in Leipzig, Germany at a Video Games Live concert. His music from Dragon Age: Origins and Prince of Persia was performed at the September 26, 2009 "A Night in Fantasia 2009" concert in Sydney, Australia by the Eminence Symphony Orchestra. Inon Zur was a special guest at the concert.
Musical style and influences 
Zur's compositions frequently are focused on full orchestras, choir and, in some games like Prince of Persia, ethnic instruments like Arabic flutes and the woodwind duduk. He has often collaborated with the Northwest Sinfonia orchestra from Seattle, though he has on occasion used other orchestras. Whenever Zur works with a real orchestra, he always conducts it himself. He has named some of his musical influences as classical artists such as Sergey Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, and Beethoven, movie composers like John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith, and jazz artists like George Gershwin and Henry McFeeny. While he would one day like to compose music not intended to be part of a larger piece of media, he finds that the pressure of a deadline and the feedback from the developers are crucial in his development process. He feels that his music sounds best when it is in the context given by the media is was made for, though he feels that performances of the music by itself transforms it "from just a soundtrack to an art form on its own". Zur sometimes collaborates with other musicians while composing his game soundtracks; for example, he worked with Florence and the Machine to create a unique rendition of "I’m Not Calling You A Liar" for the Dragon Age II soundtrack.
Zur typically is brought in to compose for a game once it is mostly complete, though he notes that that is earlier than for films and television—where nothing changes after he starts besides post-production effects—making video game music composition a more "flexible" process. He finds that it is "crucial" for him to play a game before he can compose music for it, even if it only a development version. Rather than compose music based around the setting in the game where it will be played, Zur composes music around the emotion that he wants the player to feel at that point in the game. While he feels that music composition technology has come far enough in recent years to no longer be a limiting factor in his music, he does feel that the music budgets for games limit what he can create. Zur feels that he is considered in the industry to be a very fast composer, which he attributes to his tendency to compose music "intuitively", rather than spending a lot of time planning it out. When not composing, Zur likes to play video games, especially those he has composed for, as well as play basketball and spend time with his family. The types of projects that he would like to work on in the future that he has not yet done are children's games and soundtracks incorporating jazz music.
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- Valley of the Dolls (1994)
- Big Bad Beetleborgs (1996)
- Beetleborgs Metallix (1997)
- Power Rangers: Turbo (1997)
- Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog (1998)
- Power Rangers in Space (1998)
- Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot (1999)
- Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (1999)
- Escaflowne (2000) – anime series (English version)
- Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue (2000)
- State of Grace (2001)
- Digimon (2001)
- Power Rangers Time Force (2001)
- Extra (2002)
- The Bachelor (2002)
- Jericho (2006) – webisode series
- Ghost Whisperer: The Other Side (2007) – webisode series
- Iron Man (2007) – webisode series
Video games 
- Star Trek: Klingon Academy (2000)
- Star Trek: New Worlds (2000)
- Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War (2000)
- Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel (2001)
- Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal (2001)
- Star Trek: Starfleet Command: Orion Pirates (2001)
- Icewind Dale II (2002)
- War and Peace: 1796–1815 (2002)
- Run Like Hell (2002)
- Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle (2003)
- Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader (2003)
- SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs (2003)
- Champions of Norrath (2004)
- Syberia II (2004)
- Crusader Kings (2004)
- Combat: Task Force 121 (2004)
- Power Rangers Dino Thunder (2004)
- Shadow Ops: Red Mercury (2004)
- Men of Valor (2004)
- Champions: Return to Arms (2005)
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Winter Assault (2005)
- Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (2005)
- Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows (2005)
- Twisted Metal: Head On (2005)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow (2006)
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade (2006)
- Lineage II: Chronicle V: Oath of Blood (2006)
- EverQuest II: Echoes of Faydwer (2006)
- Exteel (2007)
- Naruto: Rise of a Ninja (2007)
- Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (2007)
- EverQuest II: Rise of Kunark (2007)
- Crysis (2007)
- EverQuest II: The Shadow Odyssey (2008)
- Naruto: The Broken Bond (2008)
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm (2008)
- Fallout 3 (2008)
- Prince of Persia (2008)
- Dragon Age: Origins (2009)
- James Cameron's Avatar: The Game (2009) – Nintendo DS version
- EverQuest: Underfoot (2009)
- Fallout 3: Broken Steel (2009)
- Prince of Persia: Epilogue (2009)
- EverQuest II: Sentinel's Fate (2010)
- EverQuest: House of Thule (2010)
- Fallout: New Vegas (2010)
- Ace Combat: Joint Assault (2010)
- Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening (2010)
- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (2011)
- Rift (2011)
- Dragon Age II (2011)
- The Exiled Realm of Arborea (2011)
- Thor: God of Thunder (2011)
- Soulcalibur V (2012)
Awards and nominations 
|1997||Telly Award||Best Score||Power Rangers: Turbo||Won|
|2002||Game Audio Network Guild||Music of the Year||Icewind Dale II||Nominated|
|2003||Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Instrumental Song||SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALS – "Main Theme"||Nominated|
|2004||Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Instrumental Song||Men of Valor – "Main Theme"||Won|
|Game Audio Network Guild||Best Live Performance Recording||Men of Valor||Nominated|
|Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Soundtrack Album||Men of Valor||Nominated|
|Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Soundtrack Album||Shadow Ops: Red Mercury||Nominated|
|2006||Canadian Awards for the Electronic & Animated Arts||Best Original Musical Score||Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade||Nominated|
|2007||IGN Best of 2007 Awards||Best Original Score (PC)||Crysis||Runner-up|
|2008||British Academy of Film and Television Arts||Best Original Score||Fallout 3||Nominated|
|Spike Video Game Awards||Best Original Score||Fallout 3||Nominated|
|Golden Joystick Award||Soundtrack of the Year||Fallout 3||Nominated|
|Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Vocal – Choral||Prince of Persia – "Menu Theme"||Nominated|
|Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Instrumental||Prince of Persia – "Healed Land"||Nominated|
|IGN Best of 2008 Awards||Best Original Score||Prince of Persia||Nominated|
|2009||Hollywood Music In Media Award||Best Original Song – Video Game||Dragon Age: Origins – "I Am the One"||Won|
|Hollywood Music In Media Award||Best Original Score – Video Game||Dragon Age: Origins||Nominated|
|Game Audio Network Guild||Music of the Year||Dragon Age: Origins||Nominated|
|Game Audio Network Guild||Best Soundtrack Album||Dragon Age: Origins||Nominated|
|Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Vocal - Pop||Dragon Age: Origins – "I Am the One" (High Fantasy Version)||Nominated|
|Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Vocal - Pop||Dragon Age: Origins – "Lelianna's Song"||Nominated|
|2011||Hollywood Music In Media Award||Best Original Score – Video Game||Dragon Age II||Nominated|
|Hollywood Music In Media Award||Best Original Song – Video Game||Dragon Age II – "Rogue Heart"||Nominated|
|Spike Video Game Awards||Best Song In A Game||Dragon Age II – "I’m Not Calling You A Liar"||Nominated|
|2012||Game Audio Network Guild||Best Original Vocal - Pop||Dragon Age II – "Rogue Heart"||Nominated|
- "Interview with Lineage II: Chronicle V: Oath of Blood Composer Inon Zur". Music4Games. 2006-09-11. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- Beradini, César (2004-08-20). "Inon Zur Interview". IGN. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- Ittensohn, Oliver. "Interview – Inon Zur". GSoundtracks. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- Stiff, Kyle (2009-10-21). "Interview: Dragon Age: Origins Inon Zur". Play. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- McCarroll, John (2002-02-02). "Inon Zur Interview". RPGFan. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- Coleman, Stephan (2004-01-23). "Syberia II to Feature Music by Inon Zur". IGN. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- D., Spence (2004-06-30). "Inon Zur Interview". IGN. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- Berardini, César (2004-08-31). "Men of Valor Soundtrack Released". IGN. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- Zur, Inon. "Inon Zur – Video Games". inonzur.com. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- Zur, Inon. "Inon Zur – Video Games". inonzur.com. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- "Game Audio Network Guild – 3rd Annual Game Awards". Game Audio Network Guild. 2005-03-10. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- Zur, Inon. "Inon Zur – Composer – Biography". inonzur.com. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- "Hollywood Music in Media Awards – 2009 Winners". Hollywood Music in Media. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- "VGL to Premier Crysis in Leipzig!!". Video Games Live. 2008-08-10. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- "Dragon Age to be part of ANIF09 playlist". Eminence Symphony Orchestra. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- "A Night in Fantasia – Concert Program". Eminence Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 2009-12-18.[dead link]
- Burlingame, Jon (2009-04-20). "Video Games: The Top Music Talents". Variety. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- Ladewiq, Bruce (2002-10-11). "Inon Zur Interview". GameSpy. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- "Q&A: Game composer Inon Zur". GameSpot. 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- Blattberg, Eric. "The Best in the Business: Dragon Age II Composer Inon Zur". PlayStation Universe. Retrieved 2011-03-14.
- Markovic, Danny (2009-09-24). "Eminence: Inon Zur Interview". PALGN. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- Zur, Inon. "Inon Zur – Video Games". inonzur.com. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- "IGN Best of 2007 – Best Original Score". IGN. 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- "Past Winners and Nominees – Video Games – Awards – The BAFTA Site – 2008". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 2009-12-17.[dead link]
- "Spike TV Video Game Award Nominees for Best Original Score and Soundtrack 2008". 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Golden Joystick Awards: ONM's Choices!". Official Nintendo Magazine. 2009-09-28. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- Berardini, César (2009-02-17). "7th Annual G.A.N.G. Awards Finalists Announced". IGN. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- "IGN Best of 2008 – Best Original Score". IGN. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- Alexander, Leigh (2010-02-17). "Assassin's Creed II, Uncharted 2 Lead G.A.N.G. Award Finalists". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
- "Game Audio Network Guild – 9th Annual Game Awards". Game Audio Network Guild. 2012-03-08. Archived from the original on 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2012-08-14.