Mark Isham

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Mark Isham
Birth nameMark Ware Isham
Born (1951-09-07) September 7, 1951 (age 72)
New York City, U.S.
GenresJazz, electronic, new age
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Instrument(s)Piano, keyboards, trumpet
Years active1976–present
LabelsECM, Windham Hill, Columbia, Virgin

Mark Ware Isham (born September 7, 1951) is an American musician and film composer. A trumpeter and keyboardist, Isham works in a variety of genres, including jazz and electronic.[1][2] He is also an actor.

External image
image icon Portrait of Mark Isham[3].

Life and career[edit]

Isham was born in New York City,[4] the son of Patricia (née Hammond), a violinist, and Howard Fuller Isham, a professor of humanities.[5] He is a Scientologist[6][7] and is married to Donna Isham.[7]

His discography is extensive and varied, including participation with artists including David Sylvian, Group 87, Art Lande, Pharoah Sanders, Van Morrison, David Torn, and sessions with people like Brian Wilson, Joni Mitchell, Terry Bozzio, Bill Bruford, XTC,[4] and Siouxsie Sioux.[8] His musical styles include crossover jazz, post-bop, ambient, progressive electronic, chamber jazz, and new age.[9]

He is also a film composer, having worked on numerous films and television series, including The Hitcher, Point Break, A River Runs Through It, Of Mice and Men, Warrior, Nell, Blade, Crash, The Black Dahlia, The Lucky One, October Sky, and Once Upon a Time.

Isham acted as well in Made in Heaven by Alan Rudolph (1987) and directed The Cowboy and the Ballerina in 1998.


Contributions to soundtracks[edit]


Year Title Director Notes
1983 Never Cry Wolf Carroll Ballard
1984 Country Richard Pearce additional music (uncredited)
1984 Mrs. Soffel Gillian Armstrong
1985 Trouble in Mind Alan Rudolph
1986 The Making of Liberty Charles Guggenheim
1986 The Hitcher Robert Harmon
1987 Made in Heaven Alan Rudolph
1988 The Moderns Alan Rudolph
1988 C.A.T. Squad: Python Wolf William Friedkin "On the Threshold of Liberty" from Vapor Drawings
1988 The Beast Kevin Reynolds
1990 Everybody Wins Karel Reisz
1990 Love at Large Alan Rudolph
1990 Reversal of Fortune Barbet Schroeder
1991 Mortal Thoughts Alan Rudolph
1991 Crooked Hearts Michael Bortman
1991 Point Break Kathryn Bigelow
1991 Little Man Tate Jodie Foster
1991 Billy Bathgate Robert Benton
1992 A Midnight Clear Keith Gordon
1992 Sketch Artist Phedon Papamichael
1992 Cool World Ralph Bakshi
1992 A River Runs Through It Robert Redford Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Nominated for an Awards Circuit Community Award for Best Music.
Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.
1992 The Public Eye Howard Franklin
1992 Of Mice and Men Gary Sinise
1993 Nowhere to Run Robert Harmon
1993 Fire in the Sky Robert Liebarman Nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Music.
1993 Made in America Richard Benjamin
1993 Short Cuts Robert Altman
1993 Romeo Is Bleeding Peter Medak
1994 The Getaway Roger Donaldson
1994 The Browning Version Mike Figgis
1994 Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Alan Rudolph
1994 Quiz Show Robert Redford
1994 Timecop Peter Hyams
1994 Nell Michael Apted Nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score - Motion Picture.
1994 Safe Passage Robert Allan Ackerman
1995 Miami Rhapsody David Frankel
1995 Waterworld Kevin Reynolds Rejected score
Replaced by James Newton Howard
1995 Losing Isaiah Stephen Gyllenhaal
1995 The Net Irwin Winkler
1995 Home for the Holidays Jodie Foster
1996 Last Dance Bruce Beresford
1996 Gotti Steve Shagan
1996 Fly Away Home Carroll Ballard
1996 Night Falls on Manhattan Sidney Lumet
1997 Afterglow Alan Rudolph
1997 Kiss the Girls Gary Fleder
1997 The Defenders: Payback Andy Wolk
1997 The Education of Little Tree Richard Friedenberg
1998 The Defenders: Choice of Evils Andy Wolk
1998 The Gingerbread Man Robert Altman
1998 Blade Stephen Norrington
1998 The Defenders: Taking the First Andy Wolk
1998 Free Money Yves Simoneau
1999 At First Sight Irwin Winkler
1999 Varsity Blues Brian Robbins
1999 Breakfast of Champions Alan Rudolph
1999 October Sky Joe Johnston
1999 Body Shots Michael Cristofer
2000 Rules of Engagement William Friedkin
2000 Where the Money Is Marek Kanievska
2000 Trixie Alan Rudolph
2000 Men of Honor George Tillman, Jr.
2001 Save the Last Dance Thomas Carter
2001 Life as a House Irwin Winkler
2001 Hardball Brian Robbins
2001 Don't Say a Word Gary Fleder
2001 The Majestic Frank Darabont
2002 Impostor Gary Fleder
2002 Moonlight Mile Brad Silberling
2003 The Cooler Wayne Kramer
2004 Spartan David Mamet
2004 Miracle Gavin O'Connor
2004 Highwaymen Robert Harmon
2004 Twisted Philip Kaufman
2004 Crash Paul Haggis
2005 Racing Stripes Frederik Du Chau
2005 Kicking & Screaming Jesse Dylan
2005 In Her Shoes Curtis Hanson
2006 Running Scared Wayne Kramer
2006 Eight Below Frank Marshall
2006 Invincible Ericson Core
2006 Bobby Emilio Estevez
2006 The Black Dahlia Brian De Palma
2007 Freedom Writers Richard LaGravenese
2007 In the Valley of Elah Paul Haggis
2007 Lions for Lambs Robert Redford
2007 Gracie Davis Guggenheim
2007 Reservation Road Terry George
2007 No Reservations Scott Hicks
2007 Next Lee Tamahori
2007 The Mist Frank Darabont
2008 Pride and Glory Gavin O'Connor
2008 The Express: The Ernie Davis Story Gary Fleder
2008 The Secret Life of Bees Gina Prince-Bythewood
2009 Crossing Over Wayne Kramer
2009 Not Forgotten Dror Soref
2009 Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Werner Herzog
2009 Fame Kevin Tancharoen
2010 The Crazies Breck Eisner
2010 The Conspirator Robert Redford
2011 The Mechanic Simon West
2011 Dolphin Tale Charles Martin Smith
2011 Warrior Gavin O'Connor
2012 The Factory Morgan O'Neill
2012 The Lucky One Scott Hicks Won a BMI Award for Film Music.
2013 The Conjuring James Wan
2013 The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete George Tillman, Jr.
2013 42 Brian Helgeland
2013 Homefront Gary Fleder
2014 Beyond the Lights Gina Prince-Bythewood Nominated for a Black Reel Award for Outstanding Original Score.
2015 The Longest Ride George Tillman, Jr.
2016 A Family Man Mark Williams
2016 Mr. Church Bruce Beresford
2016 Mechanic: Resurrection Dennis Gansel
2016 The Accountant Gavin O'Connor
2016 Fallen Scott Hicks
2017 Megan Leavey Gabriela Cowperthwaite
2017 Dirty Dancing Wayne Blair
2018 Duck Duck Goose Chris Jenkins
2019 Bolden Dan Pritzker
2019 A Dog's Journey Gail Mancuso
2019 Togo Ericson Core
2020 Bill & Ted Face the Music Dean Parisot
2020 Honest Thief Mark Williams
2021 Judas and the Black Messiah Shaka King
2021 Needle in a Timestack John Ridley
2022 Blacklight Mark Williams
2022 The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Tom Gormican
2023 Shooting Stars Chris Robinson

Television series[edit]

Year Title Episode(s) Notes
1994 Chicago Hope "Pilot"
1996 EZ Streets 2
1997 Michael Hayes "Prequel"
1997 Nothing Sacred TV series theme
1998 From the Earth to the Moon 2
1999 Family Law 18
2007 The Black Donnellys 18
2008–2009 Crash 26
2011–2018 Once Upon a Time 147
2012 Beauty and the Beast "Pilot"
2013–2014 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 7
2015 Blood & Oil 10
2015 American Crime 21
2017 Black Mirror "Arkangel"
2018–2019 Marvel's Cloak & Dagger 20
2019 Godfather of Harlem 10
2020 Little Fires Everywhere 8
2020 Amazing Stories "The Rift"
2021 The Nevers
2021 Sex/Life 8
2022 The Cleaning Lady
2023 Justified: City Primeval

Documentaries and shorts[edit]

Year Title Director Notes
1984 The Times of Harvey Milk Rob Epstein
1985 Portraits of Anorexia
1985 Rabbit Ears: The Steadfast Tin Soldier
1990 Tibet
1993 Hawaii: Born in Paradise Robert Hillmann
1993 Hidden Hawaii Robert Hillmann
1998 The Blood Tide
1999 Galapagos
2001 From the Ground Up Laura Nix
2011 "Morning" Dror Soref
2017 Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982–1992 John Ridley


As director

Year Title Director Notes
1998 The Cowboy and the Ballerina Mark Isham

As screenwriter

Year Title Director Notes
1998 The Cowboy and the Ballerina Mark Isham

As actor

Year Title Director Notes
1987 Made in Heaven Alan Rudolph

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Mark Isham Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  2. ^ "Movies". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  3. ^ Source : official bio.
  4. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 649/50. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  5. ^ "Mark Isham Biography (1951-)". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Richardson, John M. (September 11, 1993). "The Scientology Church of Hollywood". The Globe and Mail. Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.
  7. ^ a b Wright, Lawrence (February 14, 2011). "The Apostate: Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  8. ^ Siouxsie on Hector Zazou's 'Songs from the Cold Seas' - CD Columbia, Columbia CD, 1995, liner notes for Siouxsie's song "The Lighthouse", featuring Mark Isham on trumpet, recorded in Paris, in February 1994
  9. ^ Artist Biography by Steve Huey on
  10. ^ Nickerson, Thomas (November 9, 2006). "The making of Army Strong". United States Army. Retrieved May 19, 2011.

External links[edit]