Alex Heffes

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Alex Heffes (/ˈhɛfəs/)[1] is a British film composer (born 2 September 1971). His film scores include those for the BAFTA-winning Touching the Void, and Oscar-winning movies One Day in September, The Last King of Scotland, and Inside Job. Heffes was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score for his work on Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Heffes was born in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, and learned the piano from an early age. He graduated from Oxford University with first class honours and started his professional life playing keyboards and writing and arranging for commercials and TV (his band is featured playing in jazz club scenes in the film Circus). This led to him becoming assistant to composer Simon Boswell with whom he scored over 20 movies including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Cousin Bette. He also collaborated on Elton John's score to Women Talking Dirty and worked with members of Blur.[3][4]

Film scoring[edit]

In 1999, after a chance meeting with Kevin Macdonald he wrote the score to the Oscar winning documentary One Day in September.[5] This led to a long collaboration with Macdonald, on films such as Touching the Void, State of Play and The Last King of Scotland. During the production of Last King of Scotland he travelled to Uganda to produce the songs and score in the movie.[5] He has worked with many notable directors including Stephen Frears (The Program), Mira Nair (Queen of Katwe), Justin Chadwick (The First Grader, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Peter Webber (Emperor) and Catherine Hardwick (Red Riding Hood). He contributed additional arrangements to Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd.

In 2011 he released his first solo album, Face to Face. The album was created by improvising on location in a series of one on one collaborations with artists such as Regina Spektor, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tunde Jegede. The tracks with Matthew Barley were recorded in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in London.[3]

He has been nominated for a Golden Globe,[2] a BAFTA[6] and won an Ivor Novello Award in 2012 for The First Grader.[7]

He always conducts his own orchestral scores[8] and frequently plays piano on his scores.


Film score[edit]

Year Film Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
1999 One Day in September Kevin Macdonald Passion Pictures -
2000 Circus Rob Walker Circus Pictures
Film Development Corporation
with Simon Boswell
Humphrey Jennings: The Man Who Listened to Britain Kevin Macdonald Figment TV Productions -
A Brief History of Errol Morris Kevin Macdonald Independent Film Channel -
2001 Mind Games Richard Standeven La Plante Productions with Simon Boswell
Late Night Shopping Saul Metzstein FilmFour
Glasgow Film Office
The Parole Officer John Duigan DNA Films -
2002 Offside Rachel Tillotson BBC Short
2003 Touching the Void Kevin Macdonald FilmFour -
2004 Trauma Marc Evans Warner Bros. -
Dear Frankie Shona Auerbach Pathé Pictures -
Out of Reach Po-Chih Leong Franchise Pictures -
2005 Too Fat Too Furious Tim Oliehoek Fu Works -
Imagine Me & You Ol Parker BBC Films -
2006 The Bridge Eric Steel IFC Films -
Shiny Shiny Bright New Hole in My Heart Marc Munden BBC Films -
The Last King of Scotland Kevin Macdonald Fox Searchlight Pictures
DNA Films
2007 My Enemy's Enemy Kevin Macdonald Wild Bunch -
2009 State of Play Kevin Macdonald Universal Pictures
Working Title Films
Jasim Peter Webber SNDCOC Short
2010 Inside Job Charles Ferguson Sony Pictures Classics -
The First Grader Justin Chadwick BBC Films
UK Film Council
2011 The Rite Mikael Håfström New Line Cinema
TriBeCa Productions
Warner Bros. Pictures
Red Riding Hood Catherine Hardwicke Warner Bros.
Appian Way
with Brian Reitzell
Stolen Justin Chadwick BBC -
The Engagement John Duigan First Foot Films -
2012 Emperor Peter Webber Krasnoff Foster Productions
United Performers' Studio
2013 Love and Honor Danny Mooney IFC Films -
Escape Plan Mikael Håfström Emmett/Furla Films
Summit Entertainment
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Justin Chadwick Pathé -
2014 What We Did on Our Holiday Andy Hamilton
Guy Jenkin
BBC Films -
2015 Palio Cosima Spender Palio Pictures -
Ten Billion Peter Webber Oxford Film & Television -
The Program Stephen Frears StudioCanal
Working Title Films
2016 Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang Kevin Macdonald Netflix -
The Take (Bastille Day) James Watkins StudioCanal
Anonymous Content
Queen of Katwe Mira Nair Walt Disney Pictures
ESPN Films
2017 Earth: One Amazing Day Richard Dale, Lixin Fan, Peter Webber BBC Earth Films Score nominated for an IFMCA Award [9]
2018 Pickpockets Peter Webber Netflix -
2019 Miss Bala Catherine Hardwicke Columbia Pictures -
The Elephant Queen Victoria Stone & Mark Deeble Apple TV+ -
Hope Gap William Nicholson Curzon Artificial Eye -


Year Title Studio/Channel Notes
1997 Killer Net Channel 4 Television Corporation with Simon Boswell
TV Mini-Series
2002 Stan the Man ITV 6 episode miniseries
2006 Tsunami: The Aftermath BBC
HBO Films
2 part miniseries
2012 Secret State Company Pictures
Channel 4
4 episode TV Mini-Series
2016 11.22.63 Bad Robot
Warner Bros. Television
Hulu limited series 8 episodes
Roots History Channel 4 part TV Mini-Series
Black Mirror Series 3 Episode 3: Shut Up and Dance Netflix -
2018 Next of Kin episodes 1-3 Mammoth Screen
6 part Mini-Series, music for episodes 4-6 composed by Peter Bateman -
2020 A Suitable Boy


[6 Episodes Miniseries]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "Alex Heffes on Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Golden Globes page". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b "DeWolfe Music page". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Official website about page". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b " interview". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Bafta Nominations 2007". Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  7. ^ "The First Grader wins Ivor Novello Award". Archived from the original on 10 November 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Film Music Magazine interview". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  9. ^ "IFMCA Award Nominations 2017".
  10. ^ "BAFTA awards site". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  11. ^ "ABC news story". Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  12. ^ "20th annual OFTA Awards winners". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  13. ^ "HMMA award nominees 2016". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  14. ^ Pedersen, Erik. "Justin Timberlake & Alexandre Desplat Among Winners At Hollywood Music In Media Awards". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 18 November 2016.

External links[edit]