James Horner


Born on 14th August 1953 in Los Angeles, Horner went to London to study.  At the Royal College of Music he was taught by Gy├Ârgy Ligeti.  He moved back to LA in 1970 to take a music degree at the University of Southern California, and to improve his compositional and theory skills with a masters degree at UCLA.  He began composing music for films in 1978 for the American Film Institute, and then at New World Pictures, where among the bad sci-fi and horror films he met the emerging directors Ron Howard and James Cameron, for whose films he would later write some of his best works.

His first big film was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), the score a typical example of his early style, combining a small orchestra with synthesisers.  But in the late 80s Horner was writing much bigger works which used exotic instruments as well as a full orchestra - the scores for Willow and The Land Before Time (both 1988) are considered by Horner fans to be two of his best.  He built up experience with many smaller productions before hitting the big time working on a stream of famous films, including Patriot Games (1992), Braveheart and Apollo 13 (1995), and Titanic (1997).  The phenomenal success of this film brought Horner international fame, and he has since worked on many major film releases.

Horner's music has earned him many awards from the film world, including 2 Oscars, 3 Grammys, and 2 Academy Awards and Golden Globes (for the Titanic score), as well as almost countless nominations.  He continues to write for the cinema, which he has believes to be the only place where it is possible to play with the best musicians and be heard by a significant audience in the modern world.

Related composers: WilliamsLigeti, Zimmer

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