Bear McCreary

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Bear McCreary
McCreary in 2009
Background information
Born (1979-02-17) February 17, 1979 (age 44)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US
GenresFilm score, contemporary classical, electronic, rock, ambient, chiptune, video game score
InstrumentsPiano, keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, accordion, hurdy gurdy, percussion
Years active2004–present
LabelsLa La Land Records, Sparks and Shadows

Bear McCreary (born February 17, 1979) is an American musician and composer of film, television, and video game scores based in Los Angeles, California. His work includes the scores of the television series Battlestar Galactica (2004), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Outlander, The Walking Dead, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Serpent Queen, the video games Call of Duty: Vanguard, God of War and God of War Ragnarök, and the film Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

McCreary has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series for his work on season one of Outlander[1] and won one Emmy for the main title of Da Vinci's Demons.[2] He has also a two-time winner of the British Academy Games Award for Music for his work on God of War and Ragnarök.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

McCreary spent most of his formative years in Bellingham, Washington. He is the son of author Laura Kalpakian and professor Jay McCreary of University of Hawaii at Manoa. His brother, Brendan McCreary, is also a musician. Bear has directed and produced several music videos for Brendan's band, "Young Beautiful in a Hurry".[4] He graduated from Bellingham High School in 1997.[5]

He is a classically trained pianist and self-taught accordionist.[5][6] He studied under the renowned film score composer Elmer Bernstein during which time he reconstructed and reorchestrated Bernstein's 1963 score for Kings of the Sun. Their collaboration allowed for the complete score to be available as a soundtrack album for the first time in 40 years.[7]

McCreary went to USC Thornton School of Music at the encouragement of Elmer Bernstein becoming his protégé and graduating in 2002 from Screen Scoring.



Battlestar Galactica and Caprica[edit]

In 2003, McCreary worked under primary composer Richard Gibbs on the three-hour miniseries which served as a pilot for the reimagined series of Battlestar Galactica. When the show was picked up, Gibbs opted not to devote full-time to the regular series' production, and McCreary became the sole composer. He worked on the series until it reached its conclusion in 2009, scoring over 70 episodes. To date, six Battlestar Galactica soundtrack albums have been released, and have garnered a great deal of critical acclaim[8][9] and commercial success. The soundtracks for seasons two and three ranked amongst's Top 30 Music Sales on their first days of release.[7]

McCreary composed for the Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica and Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome.

Human Target[edit]

McCreary provided the score for the series Human Target (based on the comic book of the same name). The pilot episode and main theme score had been recorded with a full orchestra.[10] The series has the distinction of having one of the largest orchestras on television.

The score to the finale of season one, "Christopher Chance", used the largest orchestra ever assembled for episodic television, and he took the opportunity to rerecord the main title theme with a new orchestration with this larger ensemble.

In July 2010, he received his first Emmy nomination for the Human Target main title.[11]

In a post on his blog on July 25, 2010, McCreary announced the new creative leadership brought in for season two had not asked him to return for it, and he would be leaving the series.[12]

Black Sails[edit]

The opening title sequence for Black Sails was composed by McCreary with a backing sea shanty inspired theme. It accurately features an instrument of the period in the form of the hurdy-gurdy.[citation needed]


McCreary composed the soundtrack for each of the first five seasons of Outlander. The main title was sung by his long time collaborator and partner, Raya Yarbrough.[citation needed]

In 2015, McCreary was nominated for an Emmy for the pilot Outlander episode "Sassenach" (S01E01; 2014-08-09).[citation needed]

Other series[edit]

During Comic-Con 2010, Bear McCreary attended panels for AMC's The Walking Dead and NBC's The Cape to announce he would be composing the score for both television series.[13][14]

On July 15, 2013, McCreary announced that he would compose the score for ABC's series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.[15] On September 4, 2015, McCreary released the official Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. soundtrack publicly.[16]

McCreary served as orchestral producer for the rock opera Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem airing on Adult Swim on October 27, 2013. This is a continuation of the Metalocalypse universe following the band Dethklok. The music features a 50-piece orchestra. The soundtrack was released on October 29, 2013.[17]

McCreary also composed the score for the television series Snowpiercer which premiered on TNT May 17, 2020. Snowpiercer was also distributed online via Netflix.[18]

The score for the Masters of the Universe: Revelation series on Netflix was composed by McCreary[19]

McCreary composed the theme and music for the television series Foundation, an Apple TV+ series adapted from Isaac Asimov’s novels. The Season 1 soundtrack was released on September 24, 2021.[20]

The following year, he composed the score for the Amazon Prime Video fantasy television series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.[21] McCreary, who wrote the score over a period of 9 months, has been a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien since reading The Hobbit aged 10. He called the job “a dream come true”.[22]


McCreary worked on several films providing additional music and conducting for My Baby's Daddy and Johnson Family Vacation before striking off on his own and scoring Rest Stop and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, both direct to video.

After working with Shawn Papazian on Rest Stop: Don't Look Back, the sequel to Rest Stop. McCreary made his theatrical film debut with Step Up 3D[23]

Following Step Up 3D, he scored three films directed by Joe Lynch, Chillerama, Knights of Badassdom and Everly. Everly's soundtrack included a duet McCreary sang with his wife, Raya Yarbrough.

McCreary has only worked with a few directors multiple times: Christopher Landon on three films, Happy Death Day, Happy Death Day 2U and Freaky; and director McG twice on Rim of the World and The Babysitter: Killer Queen.

Other notable film scores include Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Cloverfield Paradox, Child's Play (2019 film), and Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

McCreary's latest feature scores include Ava, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, Freaky and Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank.

Video games[edit]

McCreary made an eight-bit rendition of the Dark Void theme, which was, originally, an April fools joke. However, the theme was used for the prequel, Dark Void Zero.[24] He composed all the songs in an eight-bit fashion by connecting the wires on an actual NES console and cartridge to create authenticity.

He arranged James Rolfe's The Angry Video Game Nerd "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" parody "You're a Mean One, Mr. Nerd" for the 2010 Christmas special, with orchestra and eight-bit audio elements.[25]

McCreary also performed with his orchestra live at Sony's E3 2016 press conference throughout the show and composed the score of the 2018 God of War game.[26] He also composed the music for its 2022 sequel, God of War Ragnarök, for which he also plays a minor character in the game, a Dwarf named Ræb.[27]

In 2021, McCreary composed the score for Call of Duty: Vanguard.[28]

Personal life[edit]

McCreary married singer and songwriter Raya Yarbrough in 2010. They have collaborated on the music of Battlestar Galactica, Outlander, Defiance, Da Vinci's Demons, among other projects.[29][30] Their daughter Sonatine, named after the musical term sonatina, was born on June 2, 2014.[31]


McCreary credits composers Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, Danny Elfman, Ennio Morricone, John Williams, and Shirley Walker as being key to his growing up adoring film music. They were his heroes while he was growing up.[32] Contemporary composers including Hans Zimmer continue to inspire McCreary's growth.



Film scores
Year Title Director Distributor Notes
2006 Rest Stop John Shiban Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Direct-to-video.
2007 Wrong Turn 2: Dead End Joe Lynch 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Direct-to-video; first collaboration with Lynch.
2008 Rest Stop: Don't Look Back Shawn Papazian Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Direct-to-video.
2010 Step Up 3D Jon M. Chu Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Theatrical film debut.
2011 Chillerama Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan, Adam Green and Joe Lynch Image Entertainment Second collaboration with Lynch.
2013 Europa Report Sebastián Cordero Magnolia Pictures
Knights of Badassdom Joe Lynch Entertainment One Third collaboration with Lynch.
2014 Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie Kevin Finn and James Rolfe Indie Rights
Everly Joe Lynch The Weinstein Company Fourth collaboration with Lynch.
2016 The Forest Jason Zada Gramercy Pictures
The Boy William Brent Bell STX Entertainment
10 Cloverfield Lane Dan Trachtenberg Paramount Pictures
Colossal Nacho Vigalondo Neon
2017 Unrest Jennifer Brea Shella Films Documentary film.
Revolt Joe Miale Vertical Entertainment
Rebel in the Rye Danny Strong IFC Films
Animal Crackers Scott Christian Sava and Tony Bancroft Netflix
Happy Death Day Christopher Landon Universal Pictures First collaboration with Landon.
2018 The Cloverfield Paradox Julius Onah Netflix
Tau Federico D'Alessandro
Hell Fest Gregory Plotkin Lionsgate Films
I Still See You Scott Speer
Welcome Home George Ratliff Vertical Entertainment
2019 Happy Death Day 2U Christopher Landon Universal Pictures Second collaboration with Landon.
The Professor and the Madman P. B. Shemran Vertical Entertainment
Rim of the World McG Netflix First collaboration with McG.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters Michael Dougherty Warner Bros. Pictures
Child's Play Lars Klevberg United Artists Releasing
Eli Ciarán Foy Netflix
2020 Crip Camp Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht Documentary film.
Fantasy Island Jeff Wadlow Sony Pictures Releasing
Ava Tate Taylor Vertical Entertainment
The Babysitter: Killer Queen McG Netflix Second collaboration with McG.
Freaky Christopher Landon Universal Pictures Third collaboration with Landon.
2022 Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank Rob Minkoff and Mark Koetsier Paramount Pictures
2023 We Have a Ghost Christopher Landon Netflix Fourth collaboration with Landon.
Additional music and conducting
Year Title Director Distributor Notes
2004 My Baby's Daddy Cheryl Dunye Miramax Films Film score conducted by Richard Gibbs.
Johnson Family Vacation Christopher Erskin Fox Searchlight Pictures


Year Title Notes
2004–2009 Battlestar Galactica 71 episodes
2007–2012 Eureka 32 episodes
2008–2009 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 31 episodes
Terminator themes by Brad Fiedel
2009–2010 Trauma 20 episodes
Caprica 19 episodes
2010 Human Target 12 episodes
2010–2022 The Walking Dead 177 episodes
Composed with Sam Ewing (season 10 and season 11)
2011 The Cape 10 episodes
2012 Day Break 5 episodes
Holliston 17 episodes
Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome 10 episodes
2013 Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem Composed with Brendon Small
2013–2015 Defiance 38 episodes
Da Vinci's Demons 28 episodes
2013–2020 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 136 episodes
Composed with Jason Akers (Season 7)
2014 Intruders 8 episodes
Constantine 13 episodes
2014–2017 Black Sails 38 episodes
2014–present Outlander 68 episodes
2016 Damien 10 episodes
The Omen themes by Jerry Goldsmith
Black Mirror Episode: "Playtest"
2016–2017 Chance 20 episodes
2017–2018 Electric Dreams 3 episodes
2018 Into the Dark Episode: "Pooka"
2019–2022 See 11 episodes
2020–present Snowpiercer 30 episodes
2021 Masters of the Universe: Revelation 10 episodes
2021–present Foundation 10 episodes
2022–present The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power See The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (soundtrack)
2022 The Witcher: Blood Origin 4 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Notes
2010 Dark Void Zero
Dark Void
2011 SOCOM 4 U.S. Navy SEALs
2012 Moon Breakers
2013 Defiance
2015 Assassin's Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper
2018 God of War
League of Legends Ryze: Call of Power
2020 Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy's Edge With Joseph Trapanese & Danny Piccione
2021 Call of Duty: Vanguard
2022 God of War Ragnarök Also plays the role of Ræb
2023 Forspoken With Garry Schyman

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Nominated work Result
2009 ASCAP Film and Television Music Award for Top Television Series Eureka Won
International Film Music Critics Award for Best Original Score for Television Caprica Nominated
International Film Music Critics Award for Best Original Score for Television Battlestar Galactica Won
2010 International Film Music Critics Award for Best Original Score for Television Human Target Won
International Film Music Critics Award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media Dark Void Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music Human Target Nominated
2011 International Film Music Critics Award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Nominated
2013 ASCAP Film and Television Music Award for Top Television Series The Walking Dead Won
International Film Music Critics Award for Best Original Score for Television Da Vinci's Demons Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music Da Vinci's Demons Won
2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music Black Sails Nominated
2015 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series Outlander: Sassenach Nominated
2018 The Game Awards 2018 – Best Score / Music God of War Nominated
2019 British Academy Games Award for Music[3] God of War Won
Game Audio Network Guild Best Original Choral Composition God of War Won
Game Audio Network Guild Best Music in a Casual/Social Game God of War Won
Game Audio Network Guild Music of the Year God of War Won
Game Audio Network Guild Best Cinematic/Cutscene Audio God of War Won
Game Audio Network Guild Best Original Instrumental God of War Nominated
2022 The Game Awards 2022 – Best Score and Music God of War Ragnarök Won
2023 Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media Call of Duty: Vanguard Nominated
British Academy Games Award for Music God of War Ragnarök Won


  1. ^ "67th Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners". Television Academy. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  2. ^ Weisman, Jon. "LIVE From the Creative Arts Emmys". Variety. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "BAFTA Games Awards winners 2019". March 11, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  4. ^ McCreary, Bear (October 13, 2011). "'I Don't Want to Die a Virgin' Music Video!". Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Relyea, Kie (January 12, 2005). "Score for the Stars: Bellingham High grad now composes for 'Battlestar Galatica'". The Bellingham Herald. Archived from the original on October 29, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2017 – via
  6. ^ McCreary, Bear (June 7, 2006). "ScoreKeeper interviews Battlestar Galactica's Bear McCreary!!!". Interviewed by ScoreKeeper. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Biography". Archived from the original on April 6, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
  8. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (June 22, 2008). "Sepinwall on TV: Michael Giacchino and Bear McCreary, score keepers". The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on March 21, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  9. ^ Ryan, Maureen (June 16, 2008). "'Battlestar Galactica' provides some Earth-shattering 'Revelations'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on March 29, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  10. ^ McCreary, Bear (July 25, 2009). "Human Target Screens Today". Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  11. ^ Burlingame, Jon (July 8, 2010). "Emmy Music Nominations Announced". Archived from the original on August 17, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  12. ^ McCreary, Bear (July 25, 2010). "I Am Leaving 'Human Target'".
  13. ^ Fitzpatrick, Kevin (July 23, 2010). "Comic Con 2010: The Cape Casts a Mighty Shadow". UGO Entertainment. Archived from the original on July 27, 2010.
  14. ^ Nguyen, Hanh (July 23, 2010). "'Walking Dead' reveals trailer, taps Bear McCreary as composer". Archived from the original on August 28, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  15. ^ Boucher, Geoff. "'Agents of SHIELD': Clark Gregg's 'commanding presence' calls the tune for composer Bear McCreary". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 18, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  16. ^ "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Original Soundtrack Album)". Amazon. September 4, 2015. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  17. ^ Hartmann, Graham (October 17, 2013). "Dethklok, 'Blazing Star' – Exclusive Song Premiere". Townsquare Media. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  18. ^ "Bear McCreary Scoring TNT's 'Snowpiercer' TV Series". filmmusicreporter. Film Music Reporter. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  19. ^ "Kevin Smith Reacts to Masters of the Universe: Revelations Score". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  20. ^ "Foundation: Season 1, Lakeshore Records". Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  21. ^ "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (2022) TV Series". Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  22. ^ "In 'Rings of Power', Bear McCreary Scored the Show of His Childhood Dreams". Esquire. September 15, 2022. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  23. ^ Yamato, Jen (July 2, 2010). "Exclusive: 'Step Up 3D' Billboard Art Premiere!". Archived from the original on July 4, 2010. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  24. ^ Diener, Matt (April 2011). "Interview with Bear McCreary (April 2011)". Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  25. ^ Napolitano, Jayson (December 16, 2010). "Bear McCreary Vs. The Angry Video Game Nerd: A Christmas Special". Original Sound Version. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  26. ^ Davis, Justin (June 13, 2016). "E3 2016: New God of War Announced". Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  27. ^ Santa Monica Studio [@SonySantaMonica] (November 8, 2022). "#GodofWarRagnarok composer @bearmccreary adds a new credit to his name. Tomorrow, on November 9th, you'll not only be able to hear Bear's incredible score throughout your adventure – you'll also be able to meet him ⁱⁿ⁻ᵍᵃᵐᵉ! Introducing Ræb 🎵" (Tweet). Retrieved November 9, 2022 – via Twitter.
  28. ^ Tucker, Jake (August 19, 2021). "'Call Of Duty: Vanguard' composer Bear McCreary discusses "raw and exposed" soundtrack". NME. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  29. ^ McCreary, Bear (February 24, 2009). "I'm Getting Married!!". Archived from the original on June 5, 2009. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  30. ^ "Malibu Wedding Photographer". Archived from the original on September 5, 2010. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  31. ^ McCreary, Bear. "Sonatine Yarbrough McCreary".
  32. ^ Barnett, Barbara (July 29, 2016). "A Conversation with Outlander Composer Bear McCreary". Original Sound Version. Retrieved July 29, 2016.

External links[edit]