James Newton Howard

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For the jazz musician, see James Newton. For other persons with the same name, see James Howard.
James Newton Howard
James Newton Howard.jpg
Howard at premiere of The Dark Knight, 2008
Background information
Born (1951-06-09) June 9, 1951 (age 63)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Film scores
Occupation(s) Composer, musician, songwriter
Years active 1975–present
Associated acts Hans Zimmer, Elton John, Toto, Remote Control Productions

James Newton Howard (born June 9, 1951) is an American composer best known for his scores to motion pictures. He is one of the most popular and respected composers for cinema, and has scored over 100 films. The recipient of eight Academy Award nominations, some of Howard's best known film scores include Pretty Woman (1990), The Prince of Tides (1991), The Fugitive (1993), Dinosaur (2000), The Village (2004), King Kong (2005), Batman Begins (2005), I Am Legend (2007), Blood Diamond (2006),The Dark Knight (2008), and, most recently Green Lantern (2011), The Hunger Games (2012), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), The Bourne Legacy (2012), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) and Maleficent (2014). He is known for his frequent collaborations with director M. Night Shyamalan, having scored all his films since The Sixth Sense (1999). Howard also has a reputation of being a fast composer, due to his work on movies such as King Kong and The Hunger Games, both of which were composed in approximately one month.

Early life and career[edit]

Howard was born in Los Angeles, California. He came from a musical family; his grandmother was the Pittsburgh Symphony's concertmaster and violinist during the 1930s and '40s.[1]

Howard began studying music as a child, taking classical piano lessons at the age of four. [1] He went on to attend the Thacher School in Ojai, California, and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. He then attended the University of Southern California, studying at the USC School of Music as a piano performance major, but dropped out after 6 weeks because "He wanted to do other things than practicing the piano".[2] He also studied at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, with Reginald Stewart and Leon Fleischer, and furthered his studies with the orchestrator Marty Paich, who would later conduct some of Newton-Howard's scores. [1]

After Howard left college, he joined a short-lived rock band, then worked for a couple of years as a session musician with artists including Diana Ross, Ringo Starr, and Harry Nilsson. In the early 70s, Howard described himself as being "dirt poor" until his big break which came in 1975 after his manager got him an audition with Elton John.[3] In 1975 joined Elton John's band and Howard toured with them, playing the role of their keyboardist during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was part of the band that played behind John in Central Park, New York, on September 13, 1980. True to his intentions of doing more than just playing the piano, Howard also arranged strings for several of Elton's songs during this period including on the hits "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word", as well as playing additional keyboards and synthesizers on several of Elton's studio albums, including Rock of the Westies (1975), Blue Moves (1976), 21 at 33 (1980), and The Fox (1981).

In 1982, Howard was featured on Toto IV as the strings conductor and orchestrator for "I Won't Hold You Back," "Afraid Of Love," and "Lovers In The Night". A year later, he released the live album James Newton Howard and Friends, which featured Toto's David Paich (keyboards), Steve Porcaro (keyboards), Jeff Porcaro (drums) and Joe Porcaro (percussion).

In 1983, Howard was co-producer, musician (keyboards) and orchestrator in Riccardo Cocciante's album Sincerità.

After briefly touring with Crosby, Stills and Nash, based on the skills he had gathered in music orchestration, Howard took an opportunity brought to him by his manager to write a film score for a small-time movie. This career move he made in the mid-1980s would lead to his path to becoming a famous film music composer. Throughout his career as a composer/musician/songwriter, he has scored films of all scales and genres, earning multiple award nominations for his work.

Amidst his early start in film music, Howard did not entirely abandon his previous musical path and did return for a brief collaboration with Elton John on his Tour De Force of Australia in the fall of 1986. Howard conducted both his own and Paul Buckmaster's arrangements during the second half of the set, which focused on orchestrated performances of selected songs from John's catalog.

When delving into his family history, twenty-five years after the death of his father, Howard learned that his father's family was Jewish (Howard later became a practicing Reconstructionist Jew).[4][5]

1990s[edit]

Howard scored the surprise blockbuster romantic comedy Pretty Woman (1990) and received his first Academy Award nomination for his score for Barbra Streisand's drama The Prince of Tides (1991). Setting the musical mood for numerous films throughout the decade, Howard's skills encompassed a plethora of genres, including four more best original score Oscar nominations, for the Harrison Ford action feature The Fugitive (1993), the Julia Roberts romantic comedy My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), M. Night Shyamalan's The Village (2004), and most recently, Michael Clayton (2007). In addition, Howard scored the Western epic Wyatt Earp (1994), Kevin Costner's Waterworld (1995), and Primal Fear (1996). His collaborations on tunes for One Fine Day (1996) and Junior (1994) garnered Best Song nods. Along with scoring such smaller, character-driven films as Five Corners (1988), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), and American Heart (1993), Howard proved equally skilled at composing for big-budget Hollywood spectacles, including Space Jam (1996), Dante's Peak (1997) (theme only - score was composed by John Frizzell), and Collateral (2004). He has also scored three Disney feature films which are Dinosaur (2000), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) and Treasure Planet (2002). Though he concentrated primarily on films, Howard has also contributed music for TV series, earning an Emmy nomination in 1995 for his theme to NBC's ratings smash ER (Howard also scored the two-hour pilot); he also provided the themes for The Sentinel and Gideon's Crossing, winning an Emmy for the latter.

He has scored all of Shyamalan's suspense thrillers, The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002), The Village (2004), Lady in the Water (2006), The Happening (2008), and The Last Airbender (2010), notably dropping the intense, yet subtle, opening credit music for The Sixth Sense from the corresponding soundtrack album.

2000s[edit]

Howard is now one of the most recognized composers for film.[6] On October 14, 2005, it was officially announced that James Newton Howard would replace Howard Shore as composer for King Kong, due to "differing creative aspirations for the score" between Shore and director Peter Jackson.[7] The resultant score earned Howard his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score. His work on Michael Clayton earned him an Oscar nomination. He followed in 2008 with his eighth Oscar nomination for Edward Zwick's Defiance. He also collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the scores for Batman Begins and its record-breaking sequel The Dark Knight.

Some of his most recent works are The Happening, his sixth film with M. Night Shyamalan, Blood Diamond, Michael Clayton, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, I Am Legend, Charlie Wilson's War, and the M. Night Shyamalan film adaptation of the Nickelodeon series Avatar: the Last Airbender. Additionally, in a radio interview[8] from early 2008, Howard revealed that he would collaborate with Terrence Malick "in about a year", a project likely to be the director's upcoming Tree of Life. However, it was later announced that Alexandre Desplat would provide the score.

Howard debuted his work for symphony orchestra, I Would Plant A Tree, in February 2009 as part of the Pacific Symphony's annual American Composers Festival. The debut took place at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, California, with the Symphony under the direction of Carl St.Clair.[9]

In 2009, he was awarded a Grammy along with Hans Zimmer for the soundtrack to The Dark Knight.

After being replaced in later seasons, his original theme song for the hit TV show ER returned for the final episode of the series.

In September 2010, he was appointed visiting professor of media composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London.[10]

Discography and filmography[edit]

Year Title Notes
1974 James Newton Howard
1982 Toto IV Conductor/Orchestrator(Strings) for I Won't Hold You Back, Afraid Of Love, and Lovers In The Night.
1983 James Newton Howard and Friends Recorded live, direct-to-disc. Features David Paich (keyboards), Steve Porcaro (keyboards), Jeff Porcaro (drums) and Joe Porcaro (percussion).
1985 Head Office Film scoring debut
1986
Wildcats (with Hawk Wolinski) Soundtrack released by Warner Bros. Records with songs co-written by Howard and one score cue
8 Million Ways to Die
Tough Guys
Nobody's Fool
1987 Campus Man
Five Corners Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
First Howard score album release
Russkies Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1988 Promised Land Soundtrack released by Private Music
Off Limits Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Some Girls
Go Toward the Light television film
Everybody's All-American Soundtrack released by Capitol Records with one song co-written by Howard; no score included
1989 Tap Soundtrack released by Epic Records with one song co-written by Howard; no score included
Men TV series pilot and theme
Major League Soundtrack released by Curb Records with two songs co-written by Howard and two score cues
The Package Soundtrack released by Prometheus Records
1990 The Image television film
Coupe de Ville
Pretty Woman Cue "She Rescues Him Right Back" written by Thomas Pasatieri.
Soundtrack released by EMI America; no score included
Revealing Evidence: Stalking the Honolulu Strangler television film
Flatliners
Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture television film
Marked for Death Soundtrack released by Delicious Vinyl with one score cue
3 Men and a Little Lady Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records with 20 mins. of score
Descending Angel television film
1991 King Ralph
Guilty by Suspicion Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande with 13 mins. of score
End Title composed with Alan and Marilyn Bergman
One of the few James Newton Howard film scores to be conducted by the composer
Dying Young Soundtrack released by Arista Records with 28 mins. of score
The Man in the Moon Soundtrack released by Reprise Records
My Girl Soundtrack released by Columbia Records with one score cut
Grand Canyon Soundtrack released by Milan
Expanded edition later released by La-La Land Records
The Prince of Tides (Oscar Nomination) Replaced John Barry
Soundtrack released by Columbia Records with 44 minutes of score
Includes song co-written by Howard and performed by Barbra Streisand not used in the film
1992 A Private Matter television film
Diggstown Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande; conducted by Howard
2000 Malibu Road TV series theme
Glengarry Glen Ross Soundtrack released by Elektra with just over 16 mins. of score; conducted by Howard
American Heart
Night and the City Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records with two songs co-written by Howard and one score cue
1993 Alive Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records
Falling Down Replaced Graeme Revell
Soundtrack released by Intrada
Dave Soundtrack released by Big Screen Records - cover erroneously credits Howard as the conductor (score actually conducted by Marty Paich); expanded edition later released by La-La Land
The Fugitive (Oscar Nomination) Soundtrack released by Elektra; complete score later released by La-La Land
The Saint Of Fort Washington Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1994 Intersection Soundtrack released by Milan
Wyatt Earp Soundtrack released by Warner Bros. Records
ER (Emmy Nomination) TV series theme and pilot score
Soundtrack released by Atlantic Records with Howard's theme in TV and complete versions
Junior (Oscar Nomination) Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1995 Just Cause Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Outbreak Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
French Kiss Soundtrack released by Mercury Records with one score cue
Waterworld Replaced Mark Isham (who did only demos; his music box melody remains in the movie)
Soundtrack released by MCA
Restoration Soundtrack released by Milan with 44 minutes of score
1996 Eye for an Eye
The Juror Replaced John Barry
Primal Fear Soundtrack released by Milan with 28 and a half minutes of score
The Trigger Effect
The Rich Man's Wife Theme only; score by John Frizzell
Space Jam Separate score and song albums released by Atlantic Records
Song album includes one track co-written by Howard
One Fine Day Soundtrack released by Columbia Records with a song co-written by Howard and one score suite
The Sentinel TV series theme only; score by Steve Porcaro
Soundtrack released by Sonic Images with Howard's theme in main and end title versions
1997 Dante's Peak Theme and some cues; majority of score by John Frizzell
Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Liar Liar Theme only; score by John Debney
Soundtrack released by MCA
Fathers' Day
My Best Friend's Wedding (Oscar Nomination) Soundtrack released by Sony/Work with one score suite
For Your Consideration promo with just over 24 minutes issued
The Devil's Advocate Soundtrack released by TVT with just over 39 minutes of score
The Postman Soundtrack released by Warner Bros. Records with just under 50 minutes of score
1998 From the Earth to the Moon Score for part 6: "Mare Tranquilitatis"
Soundtrack released by Epic Soundtrax with period pop songs and Michael Kamen's opening and closing theme music; no episode scores
A Perfect Murder Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1999 Runaway Bride Soundtrack released by Sony; no score
Stir of Echoes Soundtrack released by Nettwerk with 17 and a half minutes of score
The Sixth Sense Replaced a yet unknown composer
Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Mumford Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records with just under 25 minutes of score
Snow Falling on Cedars Soundtrack released by Decca Records
Wayward Son (with Steve Porcaro)
2000 Dinosaur Soundtrack released by Walt Disney Records
Gideon's Crossing (Emmy Winner) TV series theme
Unbreakable Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records
Vertical Limit Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2001 Atlantis: The Lost Empire Soundtrack released by Walt Disney Records
73-minute FYC promo issued
America's Sweethearts Soundtrack released by Atlantic Records with one score suite
2002 Big Trouble
Signs Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records
Unconditional Love
The Emperor's Club Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Treasure Planet Replaced Alan Silvestri
Soundtrack released by Walt Disney Records with about 47 and a half minutes of score
2003 Dreamcatcher Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Peter Pan "Flying" later used in commercials for Disneyland Paris
Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2004 Hidalgo Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records
The Village (Oscar Nomination) Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records
Collateral (with Tom Rothrock and Antonio Pinto) Soundtrack released by Hip-O Records with three Howard cues
2005 The Interpreter Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Batman Begins (with Hans Zimmer) Soundtrack released by Warner Bros. Records
Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D (with Blake Neely) Theme only; score by Blake Neely
King Kong (with Blake Neely and Chris P. Bacon) Replaced Howard Shore
Soundtrack released by Decca Records
2006 Freedomland (with Mel Wesson) Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Sony Pictures Animation ID
RV (with Stuart Michael Thomas and Blake Neely)
Lady in the Water Soundtrack released by Decca Records
Blood Diamond Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande with 51 and a half minutes of score
2007 The Lookout (with Clay Duncan and Stuart Michael Thomas) Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records as an iTunes exclusive
Michael Clayton (Oscar Nomination) Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
I Am Legend Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep Soundtrack released by Sony Classical with 46 minutes of score
iTunes release includes 12 more minutes of score
Charlie Wilson's War Replaced Ry Cooder
Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
One track co-written by Gingger Shankar
The Great Debaters (with Peter Golub) Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2008 Mad Money (with Marty Davich)
The Happening Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
The Dark Knight (with Hans Zimmer) Soundtrack released by Warner Bros. Records in one-disc and two-disc editions
Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love (with Marty Davich) Soundtrack released by Nonesuch with one score track
Defiance (Oscar Nomination) Soundtrack released by Sony Classical
2009 Confessions of a Shopaholic Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records with one score suite
Duplicity Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Wings Over the Rockies
It's Complicated Some additional music with Hans Zimmer
2010 Nanny McPhee & The Big Bang Took over from Thomas Newman (who left and did not do a score)
Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
Salt Soundtrack released by Madison Gate Records
The Last Airbender Soundtrack released by Lakeshore Records
Inhale
Love & Other Drugs
The Tourist Replaced Gabriel Yared
Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande (includes one track retained from Yared's thrown-out score)
2011 Larry Crowne Soundtrack released by Rhino Records with one score track
Water for Elephants Soundtrack released by Sony Classical
The Green Hornet Replaced Danny Elfman due to a scheduling conflict
Gnomeo & Juliet Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records and Walt Disney Records
Green Lantern Soundtrack released by Watertower Music
Darling Companion
2012 The Hunger Games Replaced Danny Elfman due to a scheduling conflict
Score album released by Universal Republic
Snow White and the Huntsman Soundtrack released by Universal Republic
The Bourne Legacy Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2013 After Earth Soundtrack released by Sony Masterworks
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Score album released by Universal Republic
Parkland Soundtrack released by Rhino as a digital download
2014 Maleficent [11]
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Cut Bank Confirmed[12]
Pawn Sacrifice Directed by Edward Zwick
Nightcrawler
2015 The American Can Directed by Edward Zwick
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Awards and nominations[edit]

In May 2008 he was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music.

Wins[edit]

Nominations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "James Newton Howard". billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  2. ^ "USC Thornton School of Music : About Us: Board of Advisors: James Newton Howard". Usc.edu. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  3. ^ "James Newton Howard - Elton John Story". Yamaha All Access on youtube.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  4. ^ Commentary track of Defiance, 42:10
  5. ^ "Jews and Oscars". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  6. ^ "James Newton Howard - film composer". Mfiles.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  7. ^ "SoundtrackNet : News : James Newton Howard replaces Howard Shore on King Kong". Soundtrack.net. 2005-10-14. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  8. ^ "Bob Edwards Weekend @". Podcast.com. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "New Appointments". Royal Academy of Music. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  11. ^ "James Newton Howard to Score Disney’s ‘Maleficent’". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  12. ^ "James Newton Howard Scoring ‘Cut Bank’". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 

External links[edit]