James Horner in 2012
|Birth name||James Roy Horner|
August 14, 1953 |
James Roy Horner (born August 14, 1953) is an American composer, conductor, and orchestrator of film music. He is noted[by whom?] for the integration of choral and electronic elements in many of his film scores, and for frequent use of Celtic musical elements.
Horner has scored over 100 films. His first major film score was for the 1979 film The Lady in Red, but did not establish himself as a mainstream composer until he worked on the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Horner's score for Titanic is the best selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time while Titanic and Avatar, both directed by James Cameron, are the two highest-grossing films of all time. He has also collaborated multiple times with directors Jean-Jacques Annaud, Mel Gibson, Walter Hill, Ron Howard and Joe Johnston.
Before writing his first film scores, Horner was an accomplished concert hall composer. His first concert work in over 30 years came with Pas De Deux though, and featured Norwegian duo Mari & Hakon Samuelsen.
Horner was born in Los Angeles, the son of Joan and Harry Horner. His father was a set designer and occasional art-director. He has a brother, Christopher, who is a writer and documentary film maker.
Horner started playing piano at the age of five. His early years were spent in London, where he attended the Royal College of Music. He subsequently attended Verde Valley High School in Sedona, Arizona. He received his bachelor's degree in music from the University of Southern California. After he earned a master's degree he started working on his doctorate at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied with Paul Chihara, among others. After several scoring assignments with the American Film Institute in the 1970s, he finished teaching a course in music theory at UCLA and turned to film scoring. Horner is a pilot.
Horner's first major film score was for the 1979 film The Lady in Red. He began his career scoring films by working for B film director and producer Roger Corman. His first composer credit was for Corman's Battle Beyond the Stars. His works steadily gained notice in Hollywood, which led him to take on larger projects. Horner made a breakthrough in 1982, when he had the chance to score for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, establishing himself as a mainstream composer. The film's director Nicholas Meyer famously quipped that he had been hired because the studio couldn't afford to use the first film's composer Jerry Goldsmith again, but by the time Meyer returned to the franchise with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, he found that he couldn't afford Horner.
Horner continued composing music for high-profile releases during the 1980s, including 48 Hrs. (1982), Krull (1983), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Commando (1985), Cocoon (1985), Aliens (1986), *batteries not included (1987), Willow (1988), Glory and Field of Dreams (both 1989).
Aliens earned Horner his first Academy Award nomination. He has since been nominated an additional nine times. Horner's scores have been sampled in trailers for other films. The climax of the track Bishop's Countdown from his score for Aliens ranks fifth in the most commonly used soundtrack cues for film trailers. Also, an unused fragment from Aliens was featured in a scene in the 1988 film Die Hard. Several films whose scores were composed by Michael Kamen have had trailers featuring Horner's music; most notably, the music from Willow is substituted for the theme Kamen wrote for the 1993 remake of The Three Musketeers. Horner's "For the Love of a Princess" track from Braveheart was heard in the trailer for Robert Zemeckis's Cast Away.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s and the 2000s, Horner also wrote orchestral scores for children's films (particularly those produced by Amblin Entertainment), with credits for An American Tail (1986), The Land Before Time (1988), The Rocketeer and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991), Once Upon a Forest and We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (all in 1993), The Pagemaster (1994), and Casper, Jumanji, and Balto (all from 1995) and Mighty Joe Young (1998) and How the Grinch stole Christmas (2000). He also composed the motif for the 1990-1997 Universal Pictures logo.
1995 saw Horner produce no fewer than six scores, including his commercially successful and critically acclaimed works for Braveheart and Apollo 13, both of which earned him Academy Award nominations. Horner's greatest financial and critical success would come with the score to the 1997 film Titanic. The album became the best-selling primarily orchestral soundtrack in history, selling over 27 million copies worldwide.
At the 70th Academy Awards, Horner won Oscars for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song for "My Heart Will Go On" (which he co-wrote with Will Jennings). In addition, Horner and Jennings won three Grammy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for the soundtrack and My Heart Will Go On. Titanic also marked the first time in ten years that Horner worked with director James Cameron (following the highly stressful scoring sessions for Aliens, Horner declared that he would never work with Cameron again and described the experience of scoring Aliens as "a nightmare").
Since Titanic, Horner has continued to score for major productions (including The Perfect Storm, A Beautiful Mind, Enemy At The Gates, The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro, House of Sand and Fog and Bicentennial Man).
Aside from scoring major productions, Horner periodically works on smaller projects such as Iris, Radio and Bobby Jones: A Stroke of Genius. He received his eighth and ninth Academy Award nominations for A Beautiful Mind (2001) and House of Sand and Fog (2003), but lost on both occasions to Howard Shore. He frequently collaborates with film director Ron Howard, a partnership that began with Cocoon in 1985. Coincidentally, Horner's end title music from Glory can be heard in the trailer for Howard's Backdraft.
Horner composed the 2006-2011 theme music for the CBS Evening News. The theme was introduced as part of the debut of Katie Couric as anchor on September 5, 2006. It has since been adopted by most other CBS News programs as well.
Horner recollaborated with James Cameron on the 2009 film Avatar, which was released in December 2009 and has since become the highest-grossing film of all time, surpassing Titanic (also directed by Cameron and scored by Horner).
Horner spent over two years working on the score for Avatar, and did not take on any other projects during that time. Horner's work on Avatar earned him numerous award nominations, including his tenth Academy Award nomination as well as Golden Globe Award, British Academy Film Award, and Grammy Award nominations, all of which he lost to Michael Giacchino for Up.
Regarding the experience of scoring Avatar, Horner said, "Avatar has been the most difficult film I have worked on and the biggest job I have undertaken... I work from four in the morning to about ten at night and that’s been my way of life since March. That's the world I'm in now and it makes you feel estranged from everything. I'll have to recover from that and get my head out of Avatar."
Horner composed the score for the 2010 version of The Karate Kid, replacing Atli Örvarsson. This film—the first that Horner worked on after Avatar—was released in 2010. In 2011, Horner scored Cristiada (aka For Greater Glory) which was released a year later and Black Gold. In 2012 Horner scored The Amazing Spider-Man, which starred Andrew Garfield and premiered on July 3. In a recent interview on his website, Horner revealed why he didn't return to compose the second movie; that he didn't like how the movie resulted in comparison to the first movie, and even called the movie "dreadful." Upon his departure, he was replaced by Hans Zimmer.
At the beginning of 2015 Horner wrote the music for Jean-Jacques Annaud's adventure film Wolf Totem, which marked his fourth collaboration with Annaud and also Horner's first film score in three years.
Horner's future projects include the music for the forthocming film The 33 for director Patricia Riggen, which will be released in 2015. He will also write the music for Southpaw, a sports drama film directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams. The film is scheduled for release on July 31, 2015.
In 2014 Horner composed the commission piece Pas de Deux, a Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, which was premiered on November 12, 2014, by Mari and Hakon Samuelsen with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko. The work was commissioned to mark the 175th season of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Horner also composed Collage, a Concerto for Four Horns, which premiered on March 27, 2015, at the Royal Festival Hall in London by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jaime Martin, with David Pyatt, John Ryan, James Thatcher and Richard Watkins as soloists.
Many of James Horner's works incorporate passages from his earlier compositions, and feature brief excerpts or rework themes from other classical composers. For example, his scores from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock include excerpts from Alexander Nevsky and Romeo and Juliet, both by Prokofiev, while the heroic theme from Willow is based on that of Robert Schumann's Rhenish Symphony. The climactic battle scene in Glory includes excerpts from Wagner and Orff. Borrowing from his own work, Horner re-used and extended a passage from The Wrath of Khan for incidental music in Cocoon, while the Wrath of Khan finale came to be used as Horner's musical signature in subsequent films, such as The Rocketeer.
Although "musical borrowing" has been commonplace since medieval times, and was practiced by composers such as Georg Friedrich Händel, who borrowed extensively from composers such as Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti and Georg Philipp Telemann,[i] a frequent criticism of Horner is that his tendency to borrow passages from other composers and his own earlier work make his compositions inauthentic or unoriginal.
List of scores
- 1978 The Drought (for the American Film Institute)
- 1978 Fantasies (for the American Film Institute)
- 1978 Gist and Evans (for the American Film Institute)
- 1978 Landscapes (for the American Film Institute)
- 1978 Just for a Laugh (for the American Film Institute)
- 1978 The Watcher (for the American Film Institute)
- 1979 The Lady in Red
- 1979 Up from the Depths
|2010||The Karate Kid||Harald Zwart||Columbia Pictures|
|2011||Day of the Falcon||Jean-Jacques Annaud||Image Entertainment|||
|2012||Cristiada||Dean Wright||ARC Entertainment|
|The Amazing Spider-Man||Marc Webb||Columbia Pictures|
|2015||Aviation: The Invisible Highway||Brian J. Terwilliger||Documentary|
|Wolf Totem||Jean-Jacques Annaud|
|One Day in Auschwitz||Steve Purcell||Documentary|
|The 33||Patricia Riggen|
|2017||Avatar 2||James Cameron||20th Century Fox|
|2018||Avatar 3||James Cameron||20th Century Fox|
- 1981 A Few Days in Weasel Creek
- 1981 Angel Dusted
- 1982 A Piano for Mrs. Cimino
- 1982 Rascals and Robbers: The Secret Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn
- 1983 Between Friends
- 1985 Amazing Stories (Episode: "Alamo Jobe")
- 1985 Faerie Tale Theatre (Episode: "The Pied Piper of Hamelin")
- 1985 Surviving
- 1990 Tales from the Crypt (Episode: "Cutting Cards")
- 1990 Extreme Close-Up
- 1992 Crossroads (theme)
- 1992 Fish Police (theme and pilot episode)
- 2000 Freedom Song
- 2006 CBS Evening News
- 2015 One Day in Auschwitz
- 1985 Let's Go
- 1986 Captain EO (shown at Walt Disney theme parks worldwide)
- 1989 Tummy Trouble
- 1991 Norman and the Killer
- 2012 First in Flight
- 1976: Conversations
- 1977: Spectral Shimmers
- 1998: Titanic Suite
- 2000: A Forest Passage
- 2012: Titanic 3D Premiere
- 2013: Flight
- 2014: Pas de Deux - Double concerto for violin and cello
- 2015: Collage, Concerto for Four Horns
- Logo music for Universal Pictures (1990–1997), Lionsgate, Icon Productions and CBS Films.
- THX trailer "Cimarron"
- Music for the P-51 aerobatic flight team "The Horsemen"
- Music for Living in the Age of Airplanes (2015)
Awards and nominations
Horner has won two Academy Awards, for Best Original Dramatic Score (Titanic) and Best Original Song ("My Heart Will Go On") in 1998, and has been nominated for an additional eight Oscars. He has also won two Golden Globe Awards, three Satellite Awards, three Saturn Awards, and has been nominated for three British Academy Film Awards.
In October 2013 James Horner received the Max Steiner Award at the Hollywood in Vienna Gala, an award given for extraordinary achievements in the field of film music. Thus, Horner will be fifth composer to receive this award, after John Barry, Howard Shore, Alan Silvestri and Lalo Schifrin.
In 2005, the American Film Institute unveiled their list of the top twenty-five American film scores. Five of Horner's scores were among 250 nominees, making him the most nominated composer to not make the top twenty-five:
List of accolades
- 1988: An American Tail - Best Album of Original Instrumental Background Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television
- 1988: "Somewhere Out There" (from: An American Tail, Winner) - Song of The Year
- 1988: "Somewhere Out There" (from: An American Tail, Winner) - Best Song Written specifically For a Motion Picture or Television
- 1990: Field of Dreams - Best Album of Original Instrumental Background Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television
- 1991: Glory (Winner) - Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television
- 1996: "Whatever You Imagine" (from: The Pagemaster) - Best Song Written specifically For a Motion Picture or Television
- 1999: "My Heart Will Go On" (from: Titanic, Winner) - Record of The Year
- 1999: "My Heart Will Go On" (from: Titanic, Winner) - Song of The Year
- 1999: "My Heart Will Go On" (from: Titanic, Winner) - Best Song Written For A Motion Picture or for Television
- 2003: A Beautiful Mind - Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
- 2011: Avatar - Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
- 2011: "I See You" (from: Avatar) - Best Song Written For A Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
- Clemmensen, Christian. "James Horner (1953-)". Filmtracks.com. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- Harrington, Richard (July 25, 1982). "Sounds Of the Summer Screen". The Washington Post. p. L1.
- USA Today coverage of Horner's work
- Clemmensen, Christian (April 16, 2012) [November 18, 1997]. "Titanic (James Horner)". Filmtracks.com. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- All Time Worldwide Box Office Grosses
- Salter, Susan (2003). Contemporary Musicians.
- MacDonald, Laurence E. The invisible art of film music: a comprehensive history. Ardsley House Publishers, 1998: p. 328 
- Kauh, Elaine (December 2014). "WNat Geo To Release Aviation Documentary". avweb.com. Aviation Publishing Group. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
- "Top 100 Frequently Used Cues". soundtrack.net. Retrieved December 19, 2007.
- New mom Dion back with new album, Vegas deal
- Horner's win at the 70th annual Oscar telecast
- HFPA – Awards Search
- Clemmensen, Christian (August 2, 2011) [January 25, 2010]. "Up: (Michael Giacchino)". Filmtracks.com. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
- Times Online
- Horner assigned to The Karate Kid film remake
- "CONVERSATION WITH JAMES HORNER". James Horner Film Music. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
- DATES ANNOUNCED FOR HORNER'S DOUBLE CONCERTO, jameshorner-filmmusic.com, May 17, 2014, Retrieved September 19, 2014
- Horner Concerto for 4 Horns - London, british-horn.com, Retrieved September 19, 2014
- Alan Rogers, "My Favourite Scenes–1938" in Reel Music, 4 Nov. 2011..
- Bond, Jeff (1999). The Music of Star Trek. Lone Eagle Publishing Company. p. 114. ISBN 1-58065-012-0.
- "Glory", in Filmtracks: Modern Soundtrack Reviews (1998, 2006).
- Thomas Muething, "Wen immer es angeht" (To Whom It May Concern), in: Der Deutsche Film Musik-Dienst, Nr.30/1995 (in German)
- Alex Ross, "Oscar Scores", in The New Yorker, March 9, 1998.
- Lukas Kendall & Jeff Bond, "Letters about James Horner's Titanic," in Film Score Monthly, 1997.
- – filmmusicreporter.com
- Thurber, Matt (10 April 2015). "Living in the Age of Airplanes". Aviation International News. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- "Living in the Age of Airplanes" website
- James Horner to receive Max Steiner Award, January 24, 2013, retrieved March 4, 2013
- "AFI's 100 Years Of Film Scores" (PDF). American Film Institute. 2005. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
- Very comprehensive website about James Horner
- James Horner at the Internet Movie Database
- James Horner interview (1983) from CinemaScore magazine