|Birth name||James Roy Horner|
|Born||) August 14, 1953|
|Origin||Los Angeles, California|
|Associated acts||Will Jennings, Celine Dion, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Ian Underwood, Randy Kerber, Faith Hill, Josh Groban, Linda Ronstadt, Charlotte Church, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Leona Lewis, Michael Jackson, London Philharmonic Orchestra|
James Roy Horner (born August 14, 1953) is an American composer, conductor, and orchestrator of orchestral and film music. He is noted for the integration of choral and electronic elements in many of his film scores, and for frequent use of Celtic musical elements. His score to the 1997 film Titanic remains the best selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time.
In addition, Horner has scored over 100 films, frequently collaborating with acclaimed directors such as James Cameron and Ron Howard. Other scores he worked on include those of Commando, Braveheart, Willow, Apollo 13, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Cocoon, Legends of the Fall, Aliens, Glory, The Mask of Zorro, Field of Dreams, Enemy at the Gates, Casper, Troy, Bicentennial Man, The Rocketeer, A Beautiful Mind, Mighty Joe Young, The Perfect Storm, Avatar, and more recently, The Amazing Spider-Man.
Horner has won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, three Satellite Awards, three Saturn Awards, and has been nominated for three British Academy Film Awards. His body of work is also notable for including the scores to the two highest-grossing films of all time: Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009), both of which were directed by James Cameron. Horner was greatly influenced by Dimitri Shostakovich.
Horner started playing piano at the age of five. His early years were spent in London, where he attended the Royal College of Music. He subsequently attended Verde Valley High School in Sedona, Arizona. He received his bachelor's degree in music from the University of Southern California, and eventually earned a master's degree and started working on his doctorate at the University of California, Los Angeles where he studied with Paul Chihara, among others. After several scoring assignments with the American Film Institute in the 1970s, he finished his teaching of music theory at UCLA and turned to film scoring.
Film and television scoring
Horner's first major film score was for the 1979 film The Lady in Red. He began his film scoring career by working for B film director and producer Roger Corman, with his first composer credit for Corman's big-budget Battle Beyond the Stars. His works steadily gained notice in Hollywood, which led him to take on larger projects. Horner made a breakthrough in 1982, when he had the chance to score for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, establishing himself as a mainstream composer.
Horner continued composing music for high-profile releases during the 1980s, including 48 Hrs. (1982), Krull (1983), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Commando (1985), Cocoon (1985), Aliens (1986), *batteries not included (1987), Willow (1988), Glory and Field of Dreams (both 1989).
Aliens earned Horner his first Academy Award nomination. He has been nominated an additional nine times since. Horner's scores have been sampled in trailers for other films. The climax of the track Bishop's Countdown from his score for Aliens ranks fifth in the most commonly used soundtrack cues for film trailers. Also, an unused fragment from Aliens was featured in a scene in the 1988 film Die Hard. Several films whose scores were composed by Michael Kamen have had trailers featuring Horner's music; most notably, the music from Willow is substituted for the theme Kamen wrote for the 1993 remake of The Three Musketeers. Horner's "For the Love of a Princess" track from Braveheart was heard in the trailer for Robert Zemeckis's Cast Away.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Horner also wrote orchestral scores for children's films (particularly those produced by Amblin Entertainment), with credits for An American Tail (1986), The Land Before Time (1988), An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991), We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993), and Casper, Jumanji, and Balto (all from 1995). He also composed the theme for the 1990-1997 Universal Pictures logo.
1995 saw Horner produce no fewer than six scores, including his commercially successful and critically acclaimed works for Braveheart and Apollo 13, both of which earned him Academy Award nominations. Horner's greatest financial and critical success would come with the score to the 1997 film Titanic. The album became the best-selling primarily orchestral soundtrack in history, selling over 27 million copies worldwide.
At the 70th Academy Awards, Horner won Oscars for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song for "My Heart Will Go On" (which he co-wrote with Will Jennings). In addition, Horner and Jennings won three Grammy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for the soundtrack and My Heart Will Go On. Titanic also marked the first time in ten years that Horner worked with director James Cameron (following the highly stressful scoring sessions for Aliens, Horner declared that he would never work with Cameron again and described the experience of scoring Aliens as "a nightmare").
Since Titanic, Horner has continued to score for major productions (including The Perfect Storm, A Beautiful Mind, Enemy At The Gates, The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro, House of Sand and Fog and Bicentennial Man).
Aside from scoring major productions, Horner periodically works on smaller projects such as Iris, Radio and Bobby Jones: A Stroke of Genius. He received his eighth and ninth Academy Award nominations for A Beautiful Mind (2001) and House of Sand and Fog (2003), but lost on both occasions to Howard Shore. He frequently collaborates with film director Ron Howard, a partnership that began with Cocoon in 1985. Coincidentally, Horner's end title music from Glory can be heard in the trailer for Howard's Backdraft.
Horner composed the 2006-2011 theme music for the CBS Evening News. The theme was introduced as part of the debut of Katie Couric as anchor on September 5, 2006. It has since been adopted by most other CBS News programs as well.
Horner recollaborated with James Cameron on the 2009 film Avatar, which was released in December 2009 and has since become the highest-grossing film of all time, surpassing Titanic (also directed by Cameron and scored by Horner).
Horner spent over two years working on the score for Avatar, and did not take on any other projects during that time. Horner's work on Avatar earned him numerous award nominations, including his tenth Academy Award nomination as well as Golden Globe Award, British Academy Film Award, and Grammy Award nominations, all of which he lost to Michael Giacchino for Up.
Regarding the experience of scoring Avatar, Horner said, "Avatar has been the most difficult film I have worked on and the biggest job I have undertaken... I work from four in the morning to about ten at night and that’s been my way of life since March. That's the world I'm in now and it makes you feel estranged from everything. I'll have to recover from that and get my head out of Avatar."
Horner composed the score for the film The Karate Kid, replacing Atli Örvarsson. This film—the first that Horner worked on after Avatar—was released in 2010. In 2011, Horner scored The Song of Names, Cristiada (aka For Greater Glory) which was released a year later, Black Gold and in 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man, which starred Andrew Garfield and premiered on July 3.
Horner, like many other film composers, has been criticised for transposing hooks, orchestral motifs, or larger passages from other scores of his own or of other composers. These contentions are points of fierce debates between his supporters and his detractors.
List of scores
- 1978 The Drought (for the American Film Institute)
- 1978 Fantasies (for the American Film Institute)
- 1978 Gist and Evans (for the American Film Institute)
- 1978 Landscapes (for the American Film Institute)
- 1978 Just for a Laugh (for the American Film Institute)
- 1978 The Watcher (for the American Film Institute)
- 1979 The Lady in Red
- 1979 Up from the Depths
- 2010 The Karate Kid
- 2011 Black Gold
- 2012 Cristiada (aka For Greater Glory)
- 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man
- 2013 Romeo and Juliet
- 2013 The Song of Names
- 1981 A Few Days in Weasel Creek
- 1982 A Piano for Mrs. Cimino
- 1983 Between Friends
- 1985 Amazing Stories (Episode: "Alamo Jobe")
- 1985 Faerie Tale Theatre (Episode: "The Pied Piper of Hamelin")
- 1985 Surviving
- 1990 Tales from the Crypt (Episode: "Cutting Cards")
- 1990 Extreme Close-Up
- 1992 Crossroads (theme)
- 1992 Fish Police (theme and pilot episode)
- 2000 Freedom Song
- 2006 CBS Evening News
- 1985 Let's Go
- 1986 Captain EO (shown at Walt Disney theme parks worldwide)
- 1989 Tummy Trouble
- 1991 Norman and the Killer
- 2012 The Lost Berserker
- 2012 First in Flight
- 1976: "Conversations"
- 1977: "Spectral Shimmers"
- 1998: "Titanic Suite"
- 2000: "A Forest Passage"
- 2012: "Titanic 3D Premiere'
- Logo music for Universal Pictures (1990–1997), Lionsgate, Icon Productions and CBS Films.
- THX trailer "Cimarron"
- Music for the P-51 aerobatic flight team "The Horsemen"
Awards and nominations
Horner has won two Academy Awards, for Best Original Dramatic Score (Titanic) and Best Original Song ("My Heart Will Go On") in 1998, and has been nominated for an additional eight Oscars. He has also won two Golden Globe Awards, three Satellite Awards, three Saturn Awards, and has been nominated for three British Academy Film Awards.
In October 2013 James Horner will receive the Max Steiner Award at the Hollywood in Vienna Gala, an award given for extraordinary achievements in the field of film music. Thus, Horner will be fifth composer to receive this award, after John Barry, Howard Shore, Alan Silvestri and Lalo Schifrin.
In 2005, the American Film Institute unveiled their list of the top twenty-five American film scores. Five of Horner's scores were among 250 nominees, making him the most nominated composer to not make the top twenty-five:
List of accolades
- 1988: An American Tail - Best Album of Original Instrumental Background Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television
- 1988: "Somewhere Out There" (from: An American Tail, Winner) - Song of The Year
- 1988: "Somewhere Out There" (from: An American Tail, Winner) - Best Song Written Specificially For a Motion Picture or Television
- 1990: Field of Dreams - Best Album of Original Instrumental Background Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television
- 1991: Glory (Winner) - Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television
- 1996: "Whatever You Imagine" (from: The Pagemaster) - Best Song Written Specificially For a Motion Picture or Television
- 1999: "My Heart Will Go On" (from: Titanic, Winner) - Record of The Year
- 1999: "My Heart Will Go On" (from: Titanic, Winner) - Song of The Year
- 1999: "My Heart Will Go On" (from: Titanic, Winner) - Best Song Written For A Motion Picture or for Television
- 2003: A Beautiful Mind - Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
- 2011: Avatar - Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
- 2011: "I See You" (from: Avatar) - Best Song Written For A Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
- Clemmensen, Christian. "James Horner (1953-)". Filmtracks.com. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- USA Today coverage of Horner's work
- Clemmensen, Christian (18 November 1997, Revised 16 April 2012). "Titanic (James Horner)". Filmtracks.com. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- Harry Horner's films as art director
- MacDonald, Laurence E. The invisible art of film music: a comprehensive history. Ardsley House Publishers, 1998: p. 328 
- "Top 100 Frequently Used Cues". soundtrack.net. Retrieved December 19, 2007.
- New mom Dion back with new album, Vegas deal
- Horner's win at the 70th annual Oscar telecast
- HFPA – Awards Search
- Clemmensen, Christian (25 January 2010, revised 2 August 2011). "Up: (Michael Giacchino)". Filmtracks.com. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- Times Online
- Horner assigned to The Karate Kid film remake
- The Song of Names (2011) – Full cast and crew
- Thomas Muething, "Wen immer es angeht" (To Whom It May Concern), in: Der Deutsche Film Musik-Dienst, Nr.30/1995 (in German)
- Alex Ross, "Oscar Scores", in The New Yorker, March 9, 1998.
- Lukas Kendall & Jeff Bond, "Letters about James Horner's Titanic," in Film Score Monthly, 1997.
- – filmmusicreporter.com
- James Horner to receive Max Steiner Award, January 24th, 2013, retrieved March 4th, 2013
- "AFI's 100 Years Of Film Scores". American Film Institute. 2005. Retrieved 24 May 2012.