James Horner: Wikis


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James Horner
Birth name James Roy Horner
Born August 14, 1953 (1953-08-14) (age 56)
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres film score
Occupations Composer
Years active since 1979
Associated acts Will Jennings, Celine Dion, Sissel, Mike Hinnigan, Ian Underwood, Randy Kerber, Faith Hill, Linda Ronstadt, Celine Dion, Charlotte Church, Kazu Matsui, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Leona Lewis

James Roy Horner (born August 14, 1953) is an American composer, orchestrator and conductor 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.

Horner is today one of the most popular and respected film score composers. In a career that spans over three decades, he has composed several of Hollywood's famous film scores. He is possibly best known for his critically acclaimed work on the score to the 1997 film Titanic, which remains the best selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time.[1] Other popular works include the scores Braveheart, Apollo 13, Glory, The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro, Enemy at the Gates, The Missing, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, A Beautiful Mind, and most recently, Avatar.

Horner is a two-time Academy Award-winner, and has received a total of 10 Oscar nominations. He has won numerous other awards, including the Golden Globe Award and the Grammy Award.


Early life

Horner was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Austrian immigrants Joan (née Fraenkel) and Harry Horner, who was a production designer, set designer and occasional film director.[2]

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 received his bachelor's degree in music from the University of Southern California, and eventually earned a master's 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. Also, like his other counterpart Les Baxter, he began his film scoring career by working for B movie 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 in the 1980s, including 48 Hrs. (1982), Krull (1983), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Commando (1985), Cocoon (1985), Aliens (1986), 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 film trailers for other movies. The climax of the track Bishop's Countdown from his score for Aliens ranks second in the most commonly-used soundtrack cues for film trailers.[3] Also, an unused fragment from Aliens was featured in a scene from 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 also added his nominated Braveheart "For the Love of a Princess" single for Robert Zemeckis's Theatrical Trailer of "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 and Balto (both 1995).

In 1990 Horner composed the music for Universal's 75th Anniversary logo, which premiered with Back to the Future Part III and lasted in various forms until 1997.

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 in 1997, with the score to the motion picture, Titanic, which was greatly influenced by the music of Clannad.[4] The album became the best-selling primarily orchestral soundtrack in history, selling over 27 million copies worldwide.[5] 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.[6][7][8]

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. Horner described the experience of scoring the film 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.

Horner 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 current 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's most recent work is the score to James Cameron's latest film Avatar, which was released in December 2009 and has since become the highest-grossing film of all time, surpassing Cameron's previous Titanic (which Horner also scored and won two Oscars for his work). Horner's work on Avatar earned him his tenth Academy Award nomination, although he lost the award to Michael Giacchino for Up.

Critical debate

Horner has been accused of transposing hooks, orchestral motifs, or larger passages from other scores of his own or of other composers.[9][10][11] These contentions are points of fierce debates between supporters of Horner and his detractors.[12]

List of film scores

1978 (for the AFI)

  • The Drought
  • Fantasies
  • Gist and Evans
  • Landscapes
  • Just for a Laugh
  • The Watcher





  • 48 Hrs.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan




























  • Avatar (Golden Globe, BAFTA & Oscar Nominee)

Television scores


  • A Few Days in Weasel Creek


  • A Piano for Mrs. Cimino


  • Between Friends




  • Crossroads (theme)
  • Fish Police (theme and pilot episode)


  • Freedom Song


  • CBS News

Short films


  • Let's Go



  • Tummy Trouble


  • Norman and the Killer

Concert works

  • "Conversations" (1976)
  • "Spectral Shimmers" (1977)
  • "A Forest Passage" (2000)

Miscellaneous works

Awards and nominations

Horner has received 10 Academy Award nominations, 8 for Best Original Music Score, and twice for Best Original Song. Out of these nominations, Horner has won two Oscars, for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for Titanic.

Horner has also received five Golden Globe nominations, all in the category of Best Original Score, winning one, for Titanic, as well as seven Grammy Award nominations, winning for Glory (Best Score), An American Tail, and Titanic, the latter two being in the category of Best Song. He has also received three BAFTA nominations, but has not yet won.

Academy Award
  • 1987: Aliens (best original score)
  • 1987: "Somewhere Out There" (from: An American Tail, best original song)
  • 1990: Field of Dreams (best original score)
  • 1996: Apollo 13 (best original drama score)
  • 1996: Braveheart (best original drama score)
  • 1998: "My Heart Will Go On" (from: Titanic, best original song, Winner)
  • 1998: Titanic (best original drama score, Winner)
  • 2002: A Beautiful Mind (best original score)
  • 2004: House Of Sand And Fog (best original score)
  • 2010: Avatar (best original score)
Golden Globe
  • 1987: "Somewhere Out There" (from: An American Tail, best original song)
  • 1990: Glory (best original score)
  • 1992: "Dreams To Dream" (from: An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, best original song)
  • 1995: Legends of the Fall (best original score)
  • 1996: Braveheart (best original score)
  • 1998: "My Heart Will Go On" (from: Titanic, best original song, Winner)
  • 1998: Titanic (best original score, Winner)
  • 2002: A Beautiful Mind (best original score)
  • 2009: "Avatar" (best original score)
  • 1988: An American Tail
  • 1988: "Somewhere Out There" (from: An American Tail, Winner)
  • 1990: Field of Dreams
  • 1991: Glory (Winner)
  • 1996: "Whatever You Imagine" (from: The Pagemaster)
  • 1999: "My Heart Will Go On" (from: Titanic, Winner)
  • 2003: A Beautiful Mind
Satellite Awards
  • 1998: "My Heart Will Go On" (from: Titanic, Winner)
  • 1998: Titanic (Winner)
  • 2002: "All Love Can Be" (from: A Beautiful Mind, Winner)
  • 2002: A Beautiful Mind
  • 2004: The Missing
BAFTA Awards
  • 2009: Avatar
  • 1997: Titanic
  • 1995: Braveheart


External links

Simple English

James Honer is a music director. He scored the music for the 1997 movie Titanic.

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