Top 25 Movie Composers

by sergio91 | created - 25 Oct 2013 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public


My Top 25 Movie Composers

1. John Williams

Composer | Star Wars

As one of the best known, awarded, and financially successful composers in US history, John Williams is as easy to recall as John Philip Sousa, Aaron Copland or Leonard Bernstein, illustrating why he is "America's composer" time and again. With a massive list of awards that includes over 41 Oscar ...


He Won Oscar Five Times: Fiddler on the Roof (1971); Jaws (1975); Star Wars (1977); E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982); Schindler's List (1993) .

Was Nominated Oscar For Fifty Times.

2. Ennio Morricone

Composer | The Hateful Eight

A classmate of director Sergio Leone with whom he would form one of the great director/composer partnerships (right up there with Eisenstein & Prokofiev, Hitchcock & Herrmann, Fellini & Rota), Ennio Morricone studied at Rome's Santa Cecilia Conservatory, where he specialized in trumpet. His first ...

3. Hans Zimmer

Composer | Gladiator

German-born composer Hans Zimmer is recognized as one of Hollywood's most innovative musical talents. He featured in the music video for The Buggles' single "Video Killed the Radio Star", which became a worldwide hit and helped usher in a new era of global entertainment as the first music video to ...

4. Nino Rota

Composer | The Godfather

Born in Milan in 1911 into a family of musicians, Nino Rota was first a student of Orefice and Pizzetti. Then, still a child, he moved to Rome where he completed his studies at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in 1929 with Alfredo Casella. In the meantime, he had become an 'enfant prodige', famous...

5. Giya Kancheli

Composer | Kin-dza-dza!

Giya Kancheli was born on August 10, 1935 in Tiflis, Transcaucasian SFSR, USSR as Georgi Aleksandrovitch Kancheli. He was a composer, known for Kin-dza-dza! (1986), The Tree of Life (2011) and Pasport (1990). He died on October 2, 2019 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

6. James Horner

Music_department | Titanic

James Horner began studying piano at the age of five, and trained at the Royal College of Music in London, England, before moving to California in the 1970s. After receiving a bachelor's degree in music at USC, he would go on to earn his master's degree at UCLA and teach music theory there. He ...

7. Danny Elfman

Music_department | The Nightmare Before Christmas

As Danny Elfman was growing up in the Los Angeles area, he was largely unaware of his talent for composing. It wasn't until the early 1970s that Danny and his older brother Richard Elfman started a musical troupe while in Paris; the group "Mystic Knights of Oingo-Boingo" was created for Richard's ...

8. Quincy Jones

Producer | The Color Purple

Considered to be one of the greatest minds in music and television history, Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. was born on March 14, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. He is the son of Sarah Frances (Wells), a bank executive, and Quincy Delight Jones, Sr., a carpenter.

Jones found his love for music while he was ...

9. Alan Silvestri

Composer | Avengers: Endgame

In his ongoing, decades-long career as a composer, Alan Silvestri has blazed an innovative trail with his exciting and melodic scores, winning the applause of Hollywood and movie audiences the world over. With a credit list of over 100 films Silvestri has composed some of the most recognizable and ...

10. Alfred Newman

Composer | All About Eve

Alfred Newman was born on March 17, 1901 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. He is known for his work on All About Eve (1950), Airport (1970) and How the West Was Won (1962). He was married to Martha Montgomery and Mary Lou Dix. He died on February 17, 1970 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA.

11. Howard Shore

Music_department | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Howard Shore is a Canadian composer, born in Toronto. He was born in a Jewish family. He started studying music when 8-years-old, and played as a member of bands by the time he was 13-years-old. He was interested in a professional career in music as a teenager. He studied music at the Berklee ...

12. James Newton Howard

Composer | King Kong

James Newton Howard attended the University of Southern California's music school, but dropped out to tour with Elton John, and eventually compose music for film and television. He started with Head Office (1985) in 1985. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards. He currently is a songwriter, ...

13. Jerry Goldsmith

Music_department | Star Trek: Insurrection

Born on February 10, 1929, Jerry Goldsmith studied piano with Jakob Gimpel and composition, theory, and counterpoint with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. He also attended classes in film composition given by Miklós Rózsa at the Univeristy of Southern California. In 1950, he was employed as a clerk ...

14. Henry Mancini

Soundtrack | Breakfast at Tiffany's

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, but brought up in Pennsylvania, where he played the flute in a local band, as a youth, before sending some arrangements to Benny Goodman. Goodman offered him a job and, after serving in WWII, he joined the rearranged Glenn Miller band. In 1952, he was given a two-week ...

15. Goran Bregovic

Composer | Underground

In the end of '70s and all through the '80s, he was the leader of the most popular Yugoslav band "Bijelo dugme" (from Sarajevo). They published more than 10 LPs, selling altogether more than 15 million copies. He was the first one to introduce "shepperd's rock" (a kind of folk-rock) into popular ...

16. Randy Newman

Soundtrack | The Princess and the Frog

Randy Newman was born on November 28, 1943 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Randall Stuart Newman. He has been married to Gretchen Preece since 1990. They have two children. He was previously married to Roswitha Schmale.

17. Thomas Newman

Music_department | Skyfall

Thomas Newman is an American film score composer. He was born in Los Angeles. His father was notable film score composer Alfred Newman (1900-1970). The Newman family is of Russian-Jewish descent, and includes several other well-known musicians. Thomas' mother Martha Louis Montgomery (1920-2005) ...

18. Alan Menken

Soundtrack | Beauty and the Beast

New York-songwriter and film composer, Alan Menken is best known for his unforgettable music for Disney movies like Calypso music of The Little Mermaid (1989), the tale as old as time of Beauty and the Beast (1991), the Arabian tale Aladdin (1992) or the beloved song Colors of the Wind from ...

19. Dario Marianelli

Composer | Atonement

Dario Marianelli was born in Pisa and studied piano and composition in Florence and London. After a year as a postgraduate composer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he spent 3 years at the National Film and Television School, from which he graduated in 1997. Dario's film scores include '...

20. Alexandre Desplat

Composer | The King's Speech

Composer and conductor Alexandre Desplat, Oscar winner and seven-time Academy Award nominated, for his prolific filmography and his collaborations with Stephen Frears, Terrence Malick, Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Jacques Audiard, Wes Anderson, Roman Polanski, George Clooney or Matteo Garrone is one ...

21. Gustavo Santaolalla

Music_department | Brokeback Mountain

Argentine musician and leader of the now defunct bands "Arco Iris" and "Soluna", Gustavo Santaolalla was one of the references of his country's national music by the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s. During the 70s he relocated to the United States, where he formed the band Wet Picnic, ...

22. Clint Mansell

Composer | Black Swan

Clint Mansell was born on January 7, 1963 in Coventry, West Midlands, England. He is a composer, known for Black Swan (2010), The Fountain (2006) and Moon (2009).

23. Marco Beltrami

Composer | I, Robot

Marco Beltrami was born on October 7, 1966 in New York City, New York, USA. He is known for his work on I, Robot (2004), World War Z (2013) and Knowing (2009).

24. Michael Giacchino

Composer | Star Trek

Michael Giacchino is an American composer of music for films, television and video games.

Giacchino composed the scores to the television series Lost, Alias and Fringe, the video game series Medal of Honor and Call of Duty and many films such as The Incredibles (2004), Star Trek (2009), Up (2009), ...

25. Dimitri Tiomkin

Music_department | High Noon

Dimitri Tiomkin was a Russian Jewish composer who emigrated to America and became one of the most distinguished and best-loved music writers of Hollywood. He won a hallowed place in the pantheon of the most successful and productive composers in American film history, earning himself four Oscars ...

26. Lalo Schifrin

Music_department | Rush Hour

Immensely talented, Argentinian born pianist, conductor and composer who has written over 100 scores for both television & the cinema including the memorable themes to Mission: Impossible (1966), Mannix (1967), Starsky and Hutch (1975), Cool Hand Luke (1967), and Bullitt (1968). Schifrin has ...

27. Michel Legrand

Composer | The Thomas Crown Affair

Michel Legrand is a three-time Academy Award-winning French composer, conductor and pianist who composed over 200 film and television scores as well as recorded over a hundred albums of jazz, popular and classical music.

He was born on February 24, 1932, in Becon-les-Bruyeres, in the Paris suburbs, ...

28. John Barry

Music_department | Dances with Wolves

John Barry was born in York, England in 1933, and was the youngest of three children. His father, Jack, owned several local cinemas and by the age of fourteen, Barry was capable of running the projection box on his own - in particular, The Rialto in York. As he was brought up in a cinematic ...

29. Alex North

Music_department | Spartacus

Alex North studied music at the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, then won a scholarship to Juilliard in New York (1929) and the Moscow Conservatoire (1933), making him the first-ever American to become a member of the Union of Soviet Composers. In Europe, he worked as music director for the ...

30. Max Steiner

Composer | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Austrian composer Max Steiner achieved legendary status as the creator of hundreds of classic American film scores. He was born Maximilian Raoul Walter Steiner in Vienna, Austria, the son of Marie Mizzi (Hasiba) and Gabor Steiner, an impresario, and the grandson of actor and theater director and ...

31. Philip Glass

Soundtrack | The Truman Show

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Glass worked in his father's radio store and discovered music listening to the offbeat Western classical records customers didn't seem to want. He studied the violin and flute, and obtained early admission to the University of Chicago. After graduating in mathematics ...

32. Randy Edelman

Music_department | The Last of the Mohicans

Randy Edelman was born on June 10, 1947 in Paterson, New Jersey, USA. He is known for his work on The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Six Days Seven Nights (1998) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008). He has been married to Jackie DeShannon since June 3, 1976. They have one child.

33. Yann Tiersen

Composer | Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain

Yann Tiersen was born on June 23, 1970 in Brest, Finistère, France. He is a composer, known for Amélie (2001), Good Bye Lenin! (2003) and Inescapable (2012).

34. Bernard Herrmann

Soundtrack | Taxi Driver

The man behind the low woodwinds that open Citizen Kane (1941), the shrieking violins of Psycho (1960), and the plaintive saxophone of Taxi Driver (1976) was one of the most original and distinctive composers ever to work in film. He started early, winning a composition prize at the age of 13 and ...

35. Maurice Jarre

Composer | Lawrence of Arabia

Unlike many musicians who started to learn music while still in their childhood, Maurice Jarre was already late in his teens when he discovered music and decided to make a career in that field. Against his father's will, he enrolled at Conservatoire de Paris where he studied percussions, ...

36. Elmer Bernstein

Composer | Far from Heaven

Elmer Bernstein was educated at the Walden School and New York University. He served in the US Army Air Corps in World War II. A prolific and respected film music composer, he was a protégé of Aaron Copland, who studied music with Roger Sessions and Stefan Wolpe. Bernstein worked in various ...

37. Jonny Greenwood

Soundtrack | The Master

Jonny Greenwood was born on November 5, 1971 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England as Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood. He has been married to Sharona Katan since 1995. They have three children.

38. Steven Price

Composer | Gravity

Steven Price is an Academy Award-winning composer. In 2014 his groundbreaking score for Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity won him not only the Academy Award but also the BAFTA, the Critics' Choice Award, the Satellite Award, and ASCAP's first-ever Film Composer of The Year Award. He has since scored Fury, ...

39. Ramin Djawadi

Composer | Game of Thrones

Ramin Djawadi was born on July 19, 1974 in Duisburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He is a composer, known for Game of Thrones (2011), Iron Man (2008) and Westworld (2016). He is married to Jennifer Hawks. They have two children.

40. Carter Burwell

Music_department | Carol

Carter Burwell was born on November 18, 1954 in New York City, New York, USA as Carter Benedict Burwell. He is known for his work on Carol (2015), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) and Fargo (1996). He has been married to Christine Sciulli since 1999.

41. Christopher Young

Composer | Sinister

Composer Christopher Young was born on April 28, 1957 in Red Bank, New Jersey. After graduating from Hampshire College in Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music, Young went on to pursue his post-graduate studies at North Texas State University. Christopher moved to Los Angeles, ...

42. Dmitri Shostakovich

Soundtrack | Children of Men

Dmitri Shostakovich, one of Russian culture's most acclaimed intellectuals who was censored under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, was an internationally recognized composer whose music was in over 100 films.

He was born Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich on September 25, 1906, in St. Petersburg, ...

43. Rupert Gregson-Williams

Composer | Wonder Woman

Rupert Gregson-Williams was born on February 21, 1967 in Tonbridge, Kent, England as Rupert William Gregson-Williams. He is known for his work on Wonder Woman (2017), Hacksaw Ridge (2016) and The Crown (2016). He has been married to Emma Jacobs since 1996. They have one child.

44. Brad Fiedel

Music_department | True Lies

Extremely talented, prolific and versatile composer Brad Fiedel was born on March 10, 1951 in New York City. His mother was a dancer and his father was a composer and musician. Brad started out as a keyboardist for Hall & Oates. Fiedel first began composing music for movies in the mid-70s for such ...

45. Éric Serra

Music_department | GoldenEye

Eric Serra was born on September 9th, 1959 near Paris in France. His mother died when he was only 7 years old. His father, Claude Serra was a well-know songwriter in France in late 50s and 60s. Serra began to learn play the guitar at 11 years old and became a professional musician for Mory Kante;, ...

46. Steve Jablonsky

Composer | Transformers

Steve Jablonsky was born on October 9, 1970 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He is known for his work on Transformers (2007), Desperate Housewives (2004) and Deepwater Horizon (2016).

47. Harry Gregson-Williams

Composer | Shrek

Harry Gregson-Williams is one of Hollywood's most sought-after and prolific composers whose long list of film and television credits underscore the diverse range of his talents. His latest projects include the science fiction action thriller "The Meg," directed by Jon Turteltaub, the action ...

48. John Powell

Composer | Solo: A Star Wars Story

John Powell was born on September 18, 1963 in London, England. He is a composer, known for Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and Rio (2011). He was previously married to Melinda Lerner.

49. Klaus Badelt

Composer | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Composer Klaus Badelt started his musical career writing and producing music for dozens of highly successful movies and commercials in his native Germany. In 1998, Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer invited him to move his musical home to Media Ventures in Santa Monica, CA. Since then, Klaus has ...

50. Mark Mancina

Composer | Speed

Known for his wide-ranging talents, Mark Mancina's film scores traverse almost every genre: drama, action, comedy, suspense, and period epic. His dark, edgy music for the Oscar-winning Training Day (2001), is a benchmark score that expanded the boundaries of scoring street-wise drama, and is widely...



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