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Don Davis
Born February 4, 1957 (1957-02-04) (age 52)
Anaheim, California, United States
Occupation Film composer
Spouse(s) Megan MacDonald

Donald Romain Davis (born February 4, 1957) is an American film score composer, conductor, and orchestrator. Best known for his work on The Matrix, he has worked on a variety of films, from horror to comedy.

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Early life

Davis was born in Anaheim, California. He took an early interest in music — he learned how to play the trumpet at the age of 9 (perhaps an explanation for his wide use of brass throughout his cues), and began to write short pieces at the age of 12.

Throughout early life, he found himself interested mainly in the jazz and rock genres. After graduating from high school, Davis enrolled at UCLA. He continued his study of musical composition with tutor Henri Lazarof. Additionally, he learned orchestration from Albert Harris. During their orchestration lessons, Harris introduced Davis to the TV composer Joe Harnell, who supported Davis during his search for work — the first of which being for composer Mark Snow's Hart to Hart, a TV show based on the popular 1930's film series The Thin Man. He also worked as additional orchestrator for Michael Kamen on the film Die Hard 2: Die Harder.

Film and television scoring

Davis wrote scores mostly for television series up until 1995, in which he wrote a few of the cues for the animated Disney motion picture A Goofy Movie. He continued to score television series until the two then young directors, the Wachowski brothers, hired him to score their neo-noir film Bound. It was reasonably successful at the box office. Bound was the film which led Davis into becoming the composer for the entire Matrix trilogy. Subsequently, Davis has composed scores for films such as Jurassic Park III (recommended to the filmmakers by John Williams, the composer of the scores for the first two films in the series), House on Haunted Hill, Behind Enemy Lines, and The Unsaid.

Davis' magnum opus is Matrix trilogy: The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions. It was set apart from other film scores of its time for its atonality and avant garde style of composition, with influences from polytonal minimalist works like John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine and cluster-like techniques prominent in the works of composer Witold Lutosławski. All three scores garnered wholly positive reviews from critics and fans, and the CDs sold decently.

Opera

Don is currently working on a new opera, Río de Sangre, which will be premiering with The Florentine Opera Company in October 2010. Previously, excerpts from the opera were performed in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Master Chorale on November 6, 2005, and the New York City Opera on May 13, 2007.

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Film

Television

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