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James Horner Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (23)  | Personal Quotes (10)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Los Angeles, California, USA
Died in Santa Barbara County, California, USA  (plane crash)
Birth NameJames Roy Horner
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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 later completed his Ph.D. in Music Composition and Theory at UCLA. Horner began scoring student films for the American Film Institute in the late 1970s, which paved the way for scoring assignments on a number of small-scale films. His first large, high-profile project was composing music for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), which would lead to numerous other film offers and opportunities to work with world-class performers such as the London Symphony Orchestra. Currently, with over 75 projects to his name, and work with people such as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Oliver Stone, and Ron Howard, Horner has firmly established himself as a strong voice in the world of film scoring. In addition, Horner composed a classical concert piece in the 1980s, called "Spectral Shimmers", which was world premiered by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (1)

Sara Elizabeth Nelson (June 1985 - 22 June 2015) ( his death) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (5)

Frequently used a chorus or soloist (e.g. Glory (1989), Titanic (1997), A Beautiful Mind (2001))
His scores had two or three main themes and one or two motifs
Frequently used the sakuhachi (Ex: Braveheart (1995))
Frequently represented bad guys with a distinctive four-note motif
Frequently composed for James Cameron

Trivia (23)

Attended University of the Pacific in Stockton, California
Has tagged several scores with a distinctive four-note trumpet blast during an important moment in the film.
Many of his scores contain a wordless female voice (like Ennio Morricone often does).
Often uses a "crashing piano" to symbolize genius in his scores (A Beautiful Mind (2001), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)).
Son of Harry Horner.
Brother of Christopher Horner.
His end-title themes for Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) and Glory (1989) have been heavily reused for various movie trailers.
Although he studied piano, he doesn't consider himself to be a good pianist.
Has followed Jerry Goldsmith by composing the scores for two sequels to movies Goldsmith scored: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and Aliens (1986).
Was nominated for Film Composer of the Year in 2009 by the International Film Music Critics Association.
Is close friends with score engineer Simon Rhodes. Rhodes also served as album co-producer on several of Horner's scores.
His score for Titanic (1997) is reportedly the biggest-selling orchestral soundtrack in history.
Wrote and conducted a special medley at the World Premiere of 'Titanic 3D' at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
Wrote the theme for the Universal Pictures logo used between 1990 and 1997.
Has received the Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award at the 2013 Hollywood in Vienna gala, awarded for exceptional achievements in the art of film music.
Cited Dmitri Shostakovich as one of his main influences.
Served as composer on three Oscar Winners for Best Pictures: Braveheart (1995), Titanic (1997), and A Beautiful Mind (2001).
All three of his 2015 musical scores (for Southpaw (2015), Wolf Totem (2015) and The 33 (2015)) were long-listed for the Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Horner was cremated. His ashes were given to his family.
Bishop's Countdown from Aliens (1986) is the 5th most used track for trailer cues, according to www.filmdetail.com, with a total of 24 times used (as of 2011).
All three of the scores he conducted for James Cameron (Aliens (1986), Titanic (1997), and Avatar (2009)) were nominated for Best Original Score. His score for Titanic won.
He contributed with the musical score of seven films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Dresser (1983), Field of Dreams (1989), Braveheart (1995), Apollo 13 (1995), Titanic (1997), A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Avatar (2009). Of those, Braveheart (1995), Titanic (1997), A Beautiful Mind (2001) are winners in the category, with Horner winning two Oscars for Score and Original Song for Titanic.
He died in a plane crash on June 22, 2015 while soloing in his S312 Tucano T MKI 1 two-seater trainer in low altitude aerobatic maneuvers in Quatal Canyon, California.

Personal Quotes (10)

I had no idea who Jerry Goldsmith or John Williams were before I did The Hand (1981). I'm sure that I was influenced by Goldsmith's large orchestral scores when I started out, and that was because the people who employed me wanted that kind of sound. I wasn't in a position to say, 'Go to Hell!'
[from an interview in December, 2014] I'm much choosier. I don't want to be doing these movies that now 85 or 90 composers want, as opposed to five or six. And now all these movies, action movies. I don't get offered all the movies obviously, but I see a lot of them and I do get asked to do a lot of them, and I just know they're not asking me to do something that I can do something original, they're asking me to do a formula and I'm too rebellious.
[from 2009] My job -- and it's something I discuss with Jim [James Cameron] all the time -- is to make sure at every turn of the film it's something the audience can feel with their heart. When we lose a character, when somebody wins, when somebody loses, when someone disappears -- at all times I'm keeping track, constantly, of what the heart is supposed to be feeling. That is my primary role.
[about his creative process] I don't use a computer when I write and I don't use a piano. I'm at a desk writing and it's very broad strokes and notes as colors on a palette. I think very abstractly when I'm writing. Then as the project moves on it becomes more like sculpting.
What working for Roger [Roger Corman] did for me, was that it helped my procedural skills. How to produce music for literally nothing and how to write the best music for the films that they were.
The mood of a film dictates a certain sound in my head and that is what I try and connect with right away, way before I'm writing melodies or times or anything like that. I'm trying to find an orchestration for the film that says what I want it to say musically.
In all the films I work on, there's always that "What is the heart of the film?," and I try and nail that.
I think for a composer coming out of the world, whether it be a school, streets or whatever, if you want to do something, it's either for commercial use, via the radio, or visual use, in film. I think that's the most viable outlet for a writer. But, I don't think you have to have this crazy education to get there. I think people I've met [who] are brilliant have no education at all, they just had a gift.
[from an interview in 1983] I look at the film and try to assimilate what the producer and director want. Very often they don't know exactly what they want or they know, but don't know how to express it, so it comes out wrong. I try and find out what the director or producer feels, and I try to get them to express it to me in non-musical terms, so that there's no misunderstanding. Then, based on what they want, I do it in my own language, in terms of putting into the score what I want it to have, certain ideas I'll get while actually writing. You can't talk out the whole score ahead of time, a lot of it just happens while you're writing. Ideas come to you.
[from an interview in 1983] I like dramatic scores. I'm not a disco person, and I'm not a rock and roll person. I guess I'd call myself more of a classical composer, and my scores tend to have more of a classical sound. Whether one calls those sounds avant garde or not doesn't matter, they're on the classical side of music rather than on the popular side. I haven't written any jazz scores, there's a possibility I may include some symphonic jazz and modern serious music, which I have an interest in, but I'm not into writing a pop score. This is where the Goldsmith [Jerry Goldsmith] analogy comes in because I find that the pictures that I'm trying to get and the pictures he gets are the same kinds of films. I'm not in his league by any means, but I enjoy doing those kinds of films -- action, dramatic, that type of thing. I also like to do very tender stories that also have dramatic underscoring.

Salary (1)

Titanic (1997) $800,000 (plus $1.2$ per soundtrack CD sold)

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