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James Horner

In 2003, James Horner added four films to his illustrious filmography, which already includes more than 130 film and television projects. He collaborated for the seventh time with director Ron Howard on his Western drama The Missing, while beginning a new creative partnership with first-time director Vadim Perelman on the dramatic thriller House of Sand and Fog (for which Horner received his ninth Academy Award nomination). He also scored the inspirational Radio, and the romantic adventure Beyond Borders.

In film music circles, rarely has there been a more meteoric success story than that of James Horner. Having composed the music for dozens of the most memorable and successful films of the past two decades, Horner is among the world's most prolific and celebrated film composers. He has earned two Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for his music from James Cameron's Titanic (one for Best Original Score and one for the Best Original Song My Heart Will Go On), seven additional Academy Award nominations, five additional Golden Globe nominations, and has won six Grammy awards, including Song of the Year in both 1987 (for Somewhere Out There) and 1998 (for My Heart Will Go On). In April of 1998, Horner's Titanic soundtrack album on Sony Classical completed an unprecedented run of 16 weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart, setting a new record for the most consecutive weeks at number 1 for a score album. It remains the largest selling instrumental score album in history, having sold nearly 10 million copies in the US and more than 27 million copies worldwide. Sony Classical's multi-platinum sequel soundtrack album Back to Titanic featured additional music from the film as well as several new compositions by Horner based upon themes from his original score.

Known for his stylistic diversity, his other film credits include Stroke of Genius, House of Sand and Fog, The Missing, Windtalkers, A Beautiful Mind, Iris, Enemy at the Gates, Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Perfect Storm, Freedom Song, Bicentennial Man, Mighty Joe Young, The Mask Of Zorro, Deep Impact, The Devil's Own, Ransom, Courage Under Fire, To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday, The Spitfire Grill, Braveheart, Apollo 13, Casper, Legends of the Fall, Clear and Present Danger, The Pagemaster, Bopha, The Pelican Brief, The Man Without a Face, Patriot Games, Thunderheart, Sneakers, The Rocketeer, Glory, In Country, Field of Dreams, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, The Land Before Time, Willow, An American Tail, The Name Of The Rose, Gorky Park, Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return, 48 Hours and Another 48 Hours, and Star Treks II and III.

Born in Los Angeles in 1953, Horner spent his formative years living in London where he attended the prestigious Royal Academy of Music. His initial interest was to become a composer of serious, avant-garde classical music. Returning to his native California, Horner continued his music education at the University of Southern California where he received a Bachelor of Music in Composition. He then transferred to the Masters program at UCLA where he earned his Doctorate in Music Composition and Theory. In 1980, Horner was approached by the American Film Institute and asked to score a short film entitled The Drought. It was then that he discovered his passion for composing music for film.

After scoring a number of films for the AFI, Horner left the academic world and began working for Roger Corman at New World Pictures. It was in this milieu of low-budget horror films (Brainstorm, Battle Beyond the Stars) that Horner developed his craft. It was also where he became acquainted with a number of young directors including Ron Howard, for whom he would later score such films as Willow, Cocoon, and the hit Apollo 13. Also during his time at New World, Horner met a young cameraman named James Cameron, with whom he would later collaborate on the hit sequel Aliens and, of course, Titanic. In the ensuing years, Horner has gone on to collaborate with many of Hollywood's most noted and successful filmmakers, including Ed Zwick, Joe Johnston, Phil Alden Robinson, Steven Spielberg, William Friedkin, Mel Gibson, Oliver Stone, Philip Noyce, Michael Apted, Lasse Hallstrom, Norman Jewison and Francis Ford Coppola.

Equally comfortable with lush orchestral scoring and contemporary electronic techniques, Horner has likened his approach to composing to that of a painter, where the film serves as the canvas and where musical color is used to describe and support the film's emotional dynamics. He is also noted for his integration of unusual ethnic James instruments into the traditional orchestral palette in order to achieve exotic colors and textures. An accomplished conductor, Horner prefers to conduct his orchestral film scores directly to picture and without the use of click tracks or other mechanical timing devices. He has also composed several concert works, including a work entitled Spectral Shimmers which was performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Horner's most recent concert work is A Forest Passage, commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreational Area in Ohio.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

James Horner Facts

BirthdayAugust 14, 1953 (70)
BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, USA

Selected Filmography

Hollywood in Vienna: The World of James Horner
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Charlie Rose with Gary Locke & James Devine; James Horner; Rebecca Walker
Alien Planet
Half A Sixpence
The Pursuit of D.B.Cooper AKA: Pursuit / EUROPEAN PAL EDITION / A Perseguição / Caccia implacabile / D. B. Cooper üldözése / Die Jagd / 200 000 dollars en cavale / Based on Free Fall by J.D. Reed
Pueblo Terror
Stanlio & Ollio
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