James Newton Howard
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|James Newton Howard|
|Born||June 9, 1951
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupations||Composer, Musician, Songwriter|
Early life and career
Howard was born in Los Angeles, California. Throughout his career as a composer/musician/songwriter, he has scored films of all scales and genres, earning multiple award nominations for his work. Howard began studying music as a child and went on to attend the Thacher School in Ojai, California, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and then majored in piano performance at the University of Southern California. After Howard left college, he toured with Elton John as a keyboardist during the late 1970s and early 1980s (he was part of the band that played behind John in Central Park, New York, on Sept. 13, 1980). Howard also arranged strings for several of Elton’s songs during this period including on the hits “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word“, as well as playing additional keyboards and synthesizers on several of Elton’s studio albums, including “Rock of The Westies” (1975), “Blue Moves” (1976), “21 At 33” (1980), and “The Fox” (1981). After his tenure with John, Howard toured briefly with Crosby, Stills and Nash before moving into film music in the mid-1980s. Howard did, however, return for a brief collaboration with Elton John on the final night of John’s Australia tour in December 1987. Howard conducted both his own and Paul Buckmaster’s arrangements during second half of the set, which focused on orchestrated performances of selected songs from John’s catalog.
He had a brief marriage to Rosanna Arquette in 1986 which lasted until 1987.
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 most recently, Michael Clayton (2008). In addition, Howard scored the Western epic Wyatt Earp (1994), Kevin Costner‘s Waterworld (1995), and Primal Fear (1996). His collaborations on tunes for One Fine Day (1996) and Junior (1994) garnered Best Song nods. Along with scoring such smaller, character-driven films 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 feature films which are Dinosaur (2000), Treasure Planet and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Though he concentrated primarily on films, Howard has also contributed music for TV series, earning an Emmy nomination in 1995 for his theme to NBC‘s ratings smash ER.
He married wife Sofie 1991 in a marriage that lasted 15 years, and has 2 children with her.
Howard is now one of the most recognized composers for film. On October 14, 2005, it was officially announced that James Newton Howard would replace 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.
Some of his most recent works are The Happening, his sixth film with M. Night Shyamalan, Blood Diamond, Michael Clayton, The Water Horse, I Am Legend and Charlie Wilson’s War. It was also rumored, which has since been confirmed, that he will be composing music for the M. Night Shyamalan movie adaptation of the Nickelodeon series “Avatar: the Last Airbender.” Additionally, in a radio interview from early 2008, Howard revealed that he would collaborate with Terrence Malick “in about a year,” a project likely to be the director’s upcoming Tree of Life (2010). However, it was later revealed that Alexandre Desplat will provide the score.
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 along with Hans Zimmer for the soundtrack to The Dark Knight.
His theme song for the hit TV show ER was used for the final episode of the series.
Discography and filmography
Awards and nominations
In May 2008 he was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music.
- 2009: Grammy Award – Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media, The Dark Knight (shared with Hans Zimmer)
- 2009: Critics Choice Awards – Best Original Score, The Dark Knight
- 2008: Classical Brit Awards – Soundtrack of the Year, Blood Diamond
- 2001: Emmy Award – Outstanding Main Title Theme Music, Gideon’s Crossing
- 1991: Academy Award Nomination – Best Original Score, The Prince Of Tides
- 1993: Academy Award Nomination – Best Original Score, The Fugitive
- 1994: Golden Globe Award Nomination – Best Original Song, “Look What Love Has Done” from Junior
- 1994: Academy Award Nomination (1994) Best Original Song, “Look What Love Has Done” from Junior
- 1996: Golden Globe Award Nomination – Best Original Song, “For The First Time” from One Fine Day
- 1996: Academy Award Nomination – Best Original Song, “For The First Time” from One Fine Day
- 1997: Grammy Award Nomination – Best Song Written for a Motion Picture or Television, “For The First Time” from One Fine Day
- 1997: Academy Award Nomination – Best Original Musical or Comedy Score, My Best Friend’s Wedding
- 2000: Grammy Award Nomination – Best Instrumental Composition, “The Egg Travels” from Dinosaur
- 2002: Grammy Award Nomination – Best Instrumental Composition, “Main Titles” from Signs
- 2005: Academy Award Nomination – Best Original Score, The Village
- 2005: Golden Globe Award Nomination – Best Original Score, King Kong
- 2007: International Film Music Critics Association Nomination – Film Composer of the Year
- 2008: Academy Award Nomination – Best Original Score, Michael Clayton
- 2008 – Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media, Blood Diamond
- 2009: Golden Globe Nomination – Best Original Score, Defiance