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James Hannigan

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James Hannigan
Background information
Born (1971-07-23) 23 July 1971 (age 52)
  • Visceral Games
  • Nettwerk America
  • Extreme Music
  • Universal Music
  • West One Music
  • EA Games Soundtrack
  • Du Vinage Publishing
  • Sumthing Distribution

James Hannigan (born 23 July 1971) is a BAFTA Award winning composer and producer. His credits include entries in the Harry Potter, Command & Conquer, Dead Space, RuneScape, Evil Genius, EA Sports and Theme Park video game series, among numerous others. He has also scored full-cast adaptations of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman (DC Comics/Audible), the Audie Award winning Alien dramas (2016–2019), BBC Radio 4's adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens and Neverwhere.

The composer is known for themes such as the parodic Red Alert 3 Theme - Soviet March. In 2022, James Hannigan composed a new orchestral theme for the Discworld universe.[1][2] Hannigan's music is regularly used in television shows and has been heard in productions including BBC America's Primeval,[3] BBC's Top Gear, Amazon's The Grand Tour, Disney's The World According to Jeff Goldblum and many other productions.


Hannigan, Richard Joseph and Nick Laviers at the BAFTA Interactive Awards 2000

Hannigan's music scores have been nominated five times by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Hannigan won a BAFTA Award with Electronic Arts in 2000 for Sim Theme Park (UK title: Theme Park World). In 2010 his score for the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince video game received a BAFTA nomination[4] and won an International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) award.[5] In 2014, Hannigan was nominated for a Develop Award for his work on RuneScape. His other BAFTA-nominated scores include those of Republic: The Revolution,[6] FA Premier League Manager and Evil Genius.[7] In 2022, The Sandman Act II received a Webby People's Choice Award for Music and Sound Design.

Live recording


Hannigan has worked with the Philharmonia Orchestra, The Skywalker Symphony Orchestra, The Slovak Symphony Orchestra, The Budapest Film Orchestra, and The Chamber Orchestra of London, recording at Abbey Road Studios, AIR Studios and Skywalker Ranch. The composer is known to be an analogue synthesizer enthusiast.[8]

The Sandman (Audible Originals/DC Comics)


On July 15, 2020, Audible released an adaptation of the comic book series as a multi-part audio drama directed by Dirk Maggs with music by James Hannigan. The voice cast included Gaiman as the Narrator, James McAvoy as Dream, Kat Dennings as Death, Taron Egerton as John Constantine, Michael Sheen as Lucifer, Riz Ahmed as the Corinthian, Andy Serkis as Matthew the Raven, Samantha Morton as Urania Blackwell, Bebe Neuwirth as The Siamese Cat, Arthur Darvill as William Shakespeare, and Justin Vivian Bond as Desire. The production spent two months at #1 in The New York Times Best Seller list

The follow-up, The Sandman: Act II, was released on 22 September 2021, and featured most of the original cast. New additions to the cast included: Regé-Jean Page as Orpheus, Jeffrey Wright as Destiny, Brian Cox as Augustus, Emma Corrin as Thessaly, John Lithgow as Joshua Norton, David Tennant as Loki, Bill Nighy as Odin, Kristen Schaal as Delirium, Kevin Smith as Merv Pumpkinhead, and Niamh Walsh as Nuala. Neuwirth also returned, but portrayed Bast.

Interactive music


In the early years of his career in the 1990s, Hannigan worked as composer for Electronic Arts Europe before basing his studio at Pinewood Studios in England for ten years between 1997 and 2007, where he sometimes worked as a sound designer on films alongside composing. His sound design credits include New Line Cinema's Lost in Space, which was nominated for a Golden Reel Award.

One of Hannigan's best-known themes is Red Alert 3 Theme: Soviet March.

Some of Hannigan's early game credits include Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels, Flight of the Amazon Queen, Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, Theme Park World, Sim Theme Park, Conquest: Frontier Wars, Freelancer, Privateer 2: The Darkening, Evil Genius, Grand Prix 4, and various EA Sports games in the F1 and FIFA series. His later game credits include Art Academy, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, Runescape, Command and Conquer 4, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dead Space 3 and Call of Antia.[9]

In 2018, James Hannigan and Jagex released an orchestral album of Runescape music featuring orchestral renditions on earlier Runescape tunes along with new music by Hannigan, entitled Runescape: The Orchestral Collection. The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studio 1 in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Some of his music for Nintendo's Art Academy, such as "Swan Lesson," has subsequently been heard in the Super Smash Bros. game series.

Hannigan has posted videos on the subject of his early interactive music system design for titles such as Republic: The Revolution (designed by Google DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis) on YouTube.

In 2015, he contributed music for Terraria: Otherworld, which was subsequently cancelled. A soundtrack was later released [10] and some of the music has been used in the main Terraria game. After a period away from games, Hannigan returned to the industry to score Steelrising and Evil Genius 2 in 2021.

Screen Music Connect and other conferences


In 2013, James Hannigan founded popular yearly conference Game Music Connect with friend and industry commentator, John Broomhall. Held each year at London’s Southbank Centre, the event partnered with PRS For Music, Playstation and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Running for three years between 2013 and 2015, events featured numerous panels with leading composers, and keynote speeches from industry executives from Electronic Arts, Sony Interactive Entertainment and others.[11]

In 2018, it was announced that James Hannigan had founded a new London-based conference on film, television, game and virtual reality music, to be known as 'Screen Music Connect'.[12]

The composer has talked at numerous conferences and events, including NY Comic Con alongside Neil Gaiman, Kat Dennings and James McAvoy, Musicworks and The BAFTA Interactive Festival. In 2012 James Hannigan was made the subject of BAFTA's Conversations With Composers, held at the Albert Hall. [13]

Written publications


In 2004, Hannigan wrote "Changing Our Tune", a cover article for the UK's Develop magazine, outlining some of the differences between scoring for games and conventional linear media forms such as film and television.[14] It was the magazine's first audio related cover feature.

In 2010, Hannigan was interviewed for Tom Hoover’s book, “Soundtrack Nation: Interviews with Today's Top Professionals in Film, Videogame, and Television Scoring”.[15]

In 2015, he wrote a series of articles on video game music for Classic FM.[16]

In 2016, Hannigan wrote a foreword for Tim Summer's book, Understanding Video Game Music, published by Cambridge University Press.[17]

The composer started a blog in 2024 and has written on the subject of AI Music and its implications in an article entitled "AI's Hollow Harmony: Technology’s Ever-Evolving Dance with Human Creativity".[18] He has also written on his love of retro technology and the arcades of the 1980s, showcasing his studio arcade. [19]

Public performances


In 2007, a collage of Hannigan's music entitled Welcome to Hogwarts[20] was added to Video Games Live debuting in London at the Royal Festival Hall on 22 October 2007, and featuring the Philharmonia orchestra.

James Hannigan's music from The Sandman has been used for several installations and launch events, including the Dream Portal at New York Comic Con, 2022.[21]

Video Games Music Live performing the Red Alert 3 Theme

Hannigan's 'Soviet March' theme from Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 was performed at 'A Night in Fantasia', by the Eminence Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Australia on 26 September 2009.[22] The popular track can be heard on YouTube.[23] Other public performances include Video Games Music Live and the Games & Symphonies concert series.

On 28 October 2010, a concert of Hannigan's music was held at St. Mary's Church, Nottingham, England. As part of the GameCity 2010 Festival, the concert featured The Pinewood Singers and soloists performing the theme of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1', pieces from Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, Evil Genius and other titles[24]

On 29 June 2012, Hannigan was interviewed in front of a live audience at the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room by presenter Tommy Pearson, as part of the BAFTA Sponsored event 'Conversations With Composers'. The event featured an overview of the composer's work and a live performances of Red Alert 3 Theme - Soviet March.

In May 2018, it was announced that there would be a performance of Hannigan's RuneScape music by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at RuneFest 2018.[25]

James Hannigan's music for RuneScape was performed in 2024 by the Metropole Orkest in the Netherlands as part of the Games in Concert series.

Partial list of credited works



  • Steelrising (Spiders Studio/NACON)
  • Discworld (by Terry Pratchett; Penguin Random House)
  • The Sandman (Acts ii and iii, By Neil Gaiman; DC Comics/Audible/Amazon; Webby People's Voice Award, Best Score and Sound Design)
  • The Sandman (Act i, By Neil Gaiman; DC Comics/Audible/Amazon)
  • Evil Genius 2 (Rebellion Developments)
  • Call of Antia (FunPlus)
  • Alien III (By William Gibson; Audible)
  • RuneScape: The Orchestral Collection
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Additional Music; Nintendo)
  • Unseen Academicals (Audible/Amazon)
  • Alien: Sea of Sorrows
  • Alien: River of Pain (Audible/Amazon)
  • Alien: Out of the Shadows (Audible/Amazon)
  • Dead Space 3 (Electronic Arts)
  • Terraria: Otherworld (as guest composer)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (EA/Warner Bros. 'Best of 2007', IGN; 'Best VG Score', Movie Music UK Awards 2007).
  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U (Nintendo)
  • Transformers Universe
  • Neverwhere (BBC)
  • RuneScape (Jagex Studio)
  • Good Omens (BBC)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (EA Bright Light Studio)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (EA Bright Light Studio)
  • Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (Electronic Arts)
  • Command and Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight (EA LA)
  • Harry Potter audio books (Nar: Stephen Fry; Pottermore)
  • Primeval (Impossible Pictures/ITV)
  • Art Academy (Nintendo/Headstrong)
  • The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest (Headstrong/Warner Bros.)
  • Freelancer (Digital Anvil/Microsoft)
  • Harry Potter audiobook series (Read by Stephen Fry; Audible)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Electronic Arts/Warner Bros; BAFTA nomination, 2010)
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Ubisoft/Sony Pictures)
  • Saints Row IV (additional music)
  • Evil Genius (VU Games. BAFTA Nomination, Music, 2005)
  • Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 Uprising (EA LA)
  • Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 Commander's Challenge (EA LA)
  • Republic The Revolution (Eidos. BAFTA Nomination, Music, 2004)
  • Conquest: Frontier Wars (Digital Anvil/Ubisoft)
  • Dance Moms (Tribal Council, The Hostage)
  • Warhammer: SotHR (Mindscape; Games Workshop)
  • NASCAR Thunder 2004 (2003), Electronic Arts, Inc.
  • NASCAR Racing 2002 Season (2002), Sierra Entertainment, Inc.
  • NASCAR Thunder 2003 (2002), Electronic Arts, Inc.
  • F1 2000 (EA Sports)
  • F1 Manager (EA Sports)
  • FIFA 96, FIFA 98 (EA Sports)
  • Theme Park World (Sim Theme Park in US) (EA/Bullfrog; BAFTA Award, 2000)
  • Hasbro Family Game Night 3 (EA Bright Light)
  • Grand Prix 4 (Infogrames)
  • Brute Force (Digital Anvil/Microsoft. Co-composed with Jesper Kyd and Mike Reagan)
  • Catwoman (EA/Warner Bros.)
  • Reign of Fire (KUJU/BAM)
  • Mr. Bean (VG)
  • Lost In Space (Sound Design; New Line Cinema)
  • Theme Park Inc. (Simcoaster in US) (EA/Bullfrog)
  • Warhammer: Dark Omen (Electronic Arts; Sound Design)
  • Action Man (Hasbro/Intelligent Games; multiple titles in the series)
  • Privateer: The Darkening (Electronic Arts, Origin Systems)
  • FA Premier League Manager(EA Sports; BAFTA Nomination, 2000)
  • FIFA Soccer Manager (EA Sports)
  • Cutthroat Island (Software Creations)
  • Short Cuts series (Chappell)
  • Big Screen (West One Music)
  • Distorted Reality (Chappell)
  • Jetix (multiple titles in the series)
  • Flight of the Amazon Queen (Renegade)
  • Yamaha SuperCross
  • ATV Racing
  • Infestation (Frontier Developments)
  • MoHo (Lost Toys)
  • Ball Breakers
  • Beasts and Bumpkins (Electronic Arts)
  • Gummy Bears Crazy Golf (Beyond Reality Games)
  • Darklight Conflict (Electronic Arts; additional music)
  • Space Hulk (Electronic Arts/Games Workshop; music for the PlayStation version)


  1. ^ Alex (8 December 2022). "Watch a Live Orchestra perform the full Discworld theme". Terry Pratchett. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  2. ^ Turning Terry Pratchett's Discworld into Audiobooks, retrieved 12 July 2023
  3. ^ "James Hannigan". IMDb.com. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  4. ^ "List of 2010 BAFTA Games Award Winners". Bafta.org. 19 March 2010. Archived from the original on 3 May 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  5. ^ "IFMCA Award Winners 2009". Filmmusiccritics.org. March 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  6. ^ "BAFTA: Winners & Nominees". Archived from the original on 10 June 2004. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  7. ^ "BAFTA: Winners & Nominees". Archived from the original on 8 June 2005. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  8. ^ "James Hannigan • The website of the BAFTA award-winning composer". Jameshannigan.com. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  9. ^ "James Hannigan". IMDb. Retrieved 24 February 2024.
  10. ^ Postlude - Credits, 17 June 2020, retrieved 24 February 2024
  11. ^ "Game Music Connect". Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  12. ^ "New conference Screen Music Connect to explore audio for film, TV and interactive media - Audio Media International". 28 July 2018. Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  13. ^ www.royalalberthall.com https://www.royalalberthall.com/about-the-hall/news/2012/june/conversations-with-screen-composers-james-hannigan-29-june-2012/. Retrieved 24 February 2024. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ "Changing Our Tune by James Hannigan". Jameshannigan.com. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  15. ^ [1] [dead link]
  16. ^ "Video Game Music: Is it Art by James Hannigan". Classicfm.com.
  17. ^ Summers, Tim; Hannigan, James (2016). Understanding Video Game Music. Cambridge.org. doi:10.1017/CBO9781316337851. ISBN 9781316337851.
  18. ^ "AI's Hollow Harmony – JAMES HANNIGAN". Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  19. ^ "High Scores: A Composer's Passion for Arcade Gaming – Part 1: Studio Arcade – JAMES HANNIGAN". Retrieved 24 February 2024.
  20. ^ Welcome to Hogwarts on YouTube
  21. ^ Dream Portal on YouTube
  22. ^ Eminence Symphony Orchestra Eminence Symphony Orchestra
  23. ^ Soviet March on YouTube
  24. ^ "James Hannigan concert report in Develop". Develop-online.net. 21 October 2010. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  25. ^ "Runefest 2018 Tickets Now On Sale". Mmohuts.com. 22 May 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  26. ^ "BIOGRAPHY - The website of composer James Hannigan".
  27. ^ "James Hannigan". IMDb.