James Newton Howard
|James Newton Howard|
Howard at premiere of The Dark Knight, 2008
June 9, 1951 |
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Occupations||Composer, musician, songwriter|
|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
Howard began studying music as a child, taking classical piano lessons at the age of four.  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". 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. 
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. 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).
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.
Howard is now one of the most recognized composers for film. 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. 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 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.
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.
Discography and filmography
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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
|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|
|Signs||Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1|
|Pawn Sacrifice||Directed by Edward Zwick|
|2015||The American Can||Directed by Edward Zwick|
|The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2|
Awards and nominations
In May 2008 he was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music.
- 2001: Emmy Award - Outstanding Main Title Theme Music, Gideon's Crossing
- 2008: Classical Brit Awards - Soundtrack of the Year, Blood Diamond
- 2009: Critics Choice Awards - Best Original Score, The Dark Knight
- 2009: Grammy Award - Best Score Soundtrack Album, The Dark Knight (shared with Hans Zimmer)
- 2011: 26th ASCAP Awards - ASCAP Top Box Office Films Award, The Tourist
- 1991: Academy Award Nomination - Best Original Score, The Prince Of Tides
- 1993: Academy Award Nomination - Best Original Score, The Fugitive
- 1994: Golden Globe Award Nomination - Best Original Song, "Look What Love Has Done" from Junior
- 1994: Academy Award Nomination (1994) Best Original Song, "Look What Love Has Done" from Junior
- 1996: Golden Globe Award Nomination - Best Original Song, "For The First Time" from One Fine Day
- 1996: Academy Award Nomination - Best Original Song, "For The First Time" from One Fine Day
- 1997: Grammy Award Nomination - Best Song Written for a Motion Picture or Television, "For The First Time" from One Fine Day
- 1997: Academy Award Nomination - Best Original Musical or Comedy Score, My Best Friend's Wedding
- 2000: Grammy Award Nomination - Best Instrumental Composition, “The Egg Travels” from Dinosaur
- 2002: Grammy Award Nomination - Best Instrumental Composition, “Main Titles” from Signs
- 2005: Academy Award Nomination - Best Original Score, The Village
- 2005: Golden Globe Award Nomination - Best Original Score, King Kong
- 2006: International Film Music Critics Association Nomination - Film Composer of the Year
- 2007: International Film Music Critics Association Nomination - Film Composer of the Year
- 2008: Academy Award Nomination - Best Original Score, Michael Clayton
- 2008 - Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media, Blood Diamond
- 2009: Golden Globe Nomination - Best Original Score, Defiance
- 2009: Academy Award Nomination - Best Original Score, Defiance
- "James Newton Howard". billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- "USC Thornton School of Music : About Us: Board of Advisors: James Newton Howard". Usc.edu. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "James Newton Howard - Elton John Story". Yamaha All Access on youtube.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- Commentary track of Defiance, 42:10
- "Jews and Oscars". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
- "James Newton Howard - film composer". Mfiles.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "SoundtrackNet : News : James Newton Howard replaces Howard Shore on King Kong". Soundtrack.net. 2005-10-14. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "Bob Edwards Weekend @". Podcast.com. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- [dead link]
- "New Appointments". Royal Academy of Music. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
- "James Newton Howard to Score Disney’s ‘Maleficent’". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
- "James Newton Howard Scoring ‘Cut Bank’". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
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