James Newton Howard
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|James Newton Howard|
Howard at the premiere of The Dark Knight, 2008
|Born||June 9, 1951|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Composer, songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Keyboards, acoustic piano|
James Newton Howard (born June 9, 1951) is an American composer, conductor, and music producer. He has scored over 100 films and is the recipient of a Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and eight Academy Award nominations. His film scores include Pretty Woman (1990), The Fugitive (1993), The Devil's Advocate (1997), Dinosaur (2000), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), Treasure Planet (2002), King Kong (2005), Batman Begins (2005), Blood Diamond (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), The Bourne Legacy (2012), The Hunger Games series (2012–2015) and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016). He has collaborated with directors M. Night Shyamalan, having scored nine of his films since The Sixth Sense, and Francis Lawrence, having scored all of his films since I Am Legend.
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 with Reginald Stewart and Leon Fleischer. He then attended the University of Southern California, studying at the 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."
After Howard left college, he joined a short-lived rock band called Mama Lion. The band was led by Neil Merryweather and featured vocalist Lynn Carey, Coffi Hall on bass, and Rick Gaxiola on guitar. Mama Lion recorded two full-length albums. Members of Mama Lion also formed the band Heavy Cruiser with Merryweather singing lead, recording two albums in the Heavy Prog Psyche genre. He 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, he described himself as being "dirt poor", until his big break in 1975 when his manager got him an audition with Elton John. He joined John's band and toured with them as keyboardist during the late 70s and early 80s. He was part of the band that played Central Park, New York, on September 13, 1980. Howard also arranged strings for several of John's songs during this period including the hits "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word", and played additional keyboards and synthesizers on 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).
After briefly touring with Crosby, Stills and Nash, he took an opportunity brought to him by his manager to write a film score for a small-time movie. This career move would lead to his becoming a successful film music composer. During this early foray into film music, he did not entirely abandon his previous musical path and returned for a brief collaboration with Elton John on his Tour De Force of Australia in the fall of 1986. He 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 the Elton John catalog.
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 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 songs for One Fine Day (1996) and Junior (1994) garnered Oscar nominations for Best Song. Along with scoring small-scaled, independent films such 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 animated feature films: Dinosaur (2000), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) and Treasure Planet (2002). Although he concentrates primarily on films, Howard has also contributed music for TV, 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.
On October 14, 2005 Howard replaced 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.
Further works were 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 Shyamalan's film adaptation of the Nickelodeon series Avatar: the Last Airbender.
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 alongside 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.
From 2012-2015, James Newton Howard scored the music for the critically acclaimed Hunger Games franchise.
From 2014-2015, Howard saw major success with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 when he composed the score for the movie, which included "The Hanging Tree", featuring vocals from actress Jennifer Lawrence. The song peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the highest-charting single from The Hunger Games movies and both Howard's and Lawrence's first chart single.
On April 7, 2016, it was announced that Howard would compose the score for the upcoming fantasy drama Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spin-off/prequel of the Harry Potter film series. In November 2016, Howard confirmed his return as composer for the sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
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|1974||Goodnight Vienna||Ringo Starr||Synthesizer for "Snookeroo"|
|Rock 'n' Roll Survivors||Fanny||Synthesizer and clavinet|
|James Newton Howard|
|1975||Playing Possum||Carly Simon||Electric piano and synthesizer for "Look Me in the Eyes"|
|He Don't Like You, Like I Love You||Tony Orlando and Dawn||Keyboards|
|Melissa||Melissa Manchester||Electric piano, clavinet, ARP synthesizer, organ, piano, celeste keyboards|
|It's in Everyone of Us||David Pomeranz||Electric piano and synthesizer for "The Hit Song of All Time" and "If You Walked Away"|
Synthesizer for "Flying" and "Greyhound Mary"
|Rock of the Westies||Elton John||Clavinet, ARP synthesizer, Elka Synthex, harpsichord, Mellotron, electric piano|
|1976||...That's the Way It Is||Harry Nilsson||Keyboards|
|Blue Moves||Elton John||Conductor/arrangement for "Tonight", "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word", and "Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)"|
Co-writer for "One Horse Town" and "The Wide-Eyed and Laughing"
Synthesizer, electric piano, organ, Mellotron
|The Faragher Brothers||The Faragher Brothers||ARP synthesizer for "Never Get Your Love Behind Me"|
|Help Is on the Way||Melissa Manchester||String arrangement for "Be Somebody", "Help Is on the Way", "Dirty Work", and "There's More Where That Came From"|
Electric piano for "Be Somebody"
|The Movies||The Movies||Synthesizer on "Satellite Touchdown"|
|Endless Flight||Leo Sayer||Synthesizer on "Reflections" and "When I Need You"|
|Better Days & Happy Endings||Melissa Manchester||ARP synthesizer|
|Beautiful Noise||Neil Diamond||ARP synthesizer on "If You Know What I Mean", "Home Is a Wounded Heart", and "Jungletime"|
|Something New||Barbi Benton||Keyboards|
|1977||Kiki Dee||Kiki Dee||Piano for all tracks except "Standing Room Only" and "First Thing in the Morning, Last Thing at Night"|
Writer for "Sweet Creation"
Arrangement for "Sweet Creation", "Night Hours", and "In Return"
ARP synthesizer for "Sweet Creation" and "Standing Room Only"
Mellotron for "Into Eternity"
Organ for "Standing Room Only", "Keep Right On", and "In Return"
Electric piano and strings for "Night Hours"
|1978||Wild Child||Valerie Carter||Producer, various keyboards,
co-writer (Taking the Long Way Home, Lady In The Dark)
|1980||Black Rose||Black Rose / Cher||Producer of the album, co-writer of the song (and first single) "Never Should've Started".|
|1982||Toto IV||Toto||Conductor/Orchestrator (strings) for "I Won't Hold You Back", "It's a Feeling", "Afraid of Love" and "Lovers in the Night".|
|1983||James Newton Howard and Friends||James Newton Howard
David Paich (keyboards)
Steve Porcaro (keyboards)
Jeff Porcaro (drums)
Joe Porcaro (percussion)
|Recorded live, direct-to-disc|
|1984||The Magazine||Rickie Lee Jones||Produced with Rickie Lee Jones|
James Newton Howard on the synthesizer
Works as composer
|1988||Go Toward the Light||Mike Robe||RHI Entertainment||Television film|
|1989||Men||Various||ABC||TV series pilot and theme|
|1990||The Image||Peter Werner||Home Box Office||Television film|
|Revealing Evidence: Stalking the Honolulu Strangler||Michael Seitzer||MCA Television Entertainment||Television film|
|Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture||Frank Pierson||Home Box Office
MCA Television Entertainment
|Descending Angel||Jeremy Kagan||Home Box Office||Television film|
|1992||A Private Matter||Joan Micklin Silver||Mirage Enterprises
Home Box Office
|2000 Malibu Road||Various||Spelling Television||TV series theme|
Warner Bros. Television
|TV series theme and pilot score|
Soundtrack released by Atlantic Records with Howard's theme in TV and complete versions
|1996||The Sentinel||Various||Paramount Network Television||TV series theme only; scores by Steve Porcaro and John M. Keane|
Soundtrack released by Sonic Images with Howard's theme in main and end title versions
|1998||From the Earth to the Moon||Various||Home Box Office||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
|2000||Gideon's Crossing||Various||Heel and Toe Films
|TV series theme|
|2016||All the Way||Jay Roach||Amblin Entertainment
|2017||A Series of Unfortunate Events||Barry Sonnenfeld and Mark Palansky||Netflix
What is the Question?
Sonnenfeld Productions, Inc.
Scored 5 episodes
|1996||Imagine Entertainment ID||Logo theme|
|2006||Sony Pictures Animation ID||Logo theme|
- "James Newton Howard". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- "USC Thornton School of Music : About Us: Board of Advisors: James Newton Howard". Usc.edu. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010. 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
- Fowler, Lilly (February 19, 2009). "Family Secret, Persistent Bias Inspire Soul of 'Defiance' Score". Jews and Oscars. Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
- "SoundtrackNet : News : James Newton Howard replaces Howard Shore on King Kong". Soundtrack.net. October 14, 2005. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Pacificsymphony.org Archived February 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "New Appointments". Royal Academy of Music. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
- "Honorary Members (Hon RAM)" (PDF). Royal Academy of Music. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- "The Max Steiner Award". hollywoodinvienna.com.
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