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Rachel Portman

December 11, 1960 -
born in Haslemere, England, composed during the Contemporary period
Rachel Portman is a highly regarded film music composer, the first woman to win a U.S. Academy Award for Best Original Score.

She had strong musical inclinations as a very young child. She learned to play piano, violin, and organ. When she was thirteen, she began composing. She entered Oxford University to study music with no thought of going into films until she was invited to score a student film. The BBC bought the film, named Priviledged [sic], which also featured an acting appearance by her fellow Oxford student Hugh Grant.

She enjoyed the work, and, with Priviledged as an entrée was engaged by the BBC to do some scoring for BBC films, made for television movies which, she says, are the equivalent of small theatrical films in the United States, often with strong acting and dramatic values. Among her titles were Wives and Daughters, The Falkland War, 90 Degrees South, and Cariani and the Courtesans. In 1986, she wrote the score for the British-made Jim Henson TV pilot The Storyteller, then scored eight episodes in 1987 and 1988.

She won the British Film Institute's Young Composer of the Year award in 1988, then the Carlton Award for Creative Originality for Women in Film. She was nominated by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for her scores to The Woman in Black, the three-part drama Oranges are not the Only Fruit, and Where Angels Fear to Tread.

In 1992, the British director Beeban Kidron, with whom she had frequently worked in England, asked her to come to Hollywood to score her film Used People, starring Shirley MacLaine and Marcello Mastroianni. She has continued to work with Kidron. In the same year, Portman wrote the music for Benny and Joon and for Ethan Frome.

In 1993, she wrote the music for a large-scale Hollywood film about the stories of four Chinese immigrant families in San Francisco, The Joy Luck Club, giving her an opportunity to use mildly ethnic influences in her music. She also scored the Australian film Sirens, which starred Hugh Grant.

In 1995, she married the film director Uberto Pasolini; they have had two daughters. In 1996, she wrote the score for Emma Thompson's adaptation of the Jane Austin novel Emma, and for that project she won the Academy Award. She has since been nominated again, for the 1999 film Cider House Rules.

In an age of synthesizers, Portman continues to compose, in the main, in an old-fashioned way, at a piano keyboard with pencil and music paper. Unlike most film score composers, she also fully orchestrates her own music. Her scoring approach generally passes by the typical Hollywood string sound, although her strings can have their own approach to lushness. Lithe rhythms, a generally non-aggressive use of harmonies and rhythms, a strong ability to delineate characters with distinct themes, and a wide emotional palette characterize her work.

However, she does not conduct her scores on the soundtracks. She insists that click tracks (which she thinks make the rhythms of the music sterile) not be used. This makes the job of synchronizing the music exceptionally difficult, so she gives the task to trusted experienced conductors.

Her favorite score, and the one that was the strongest professional challenge for her, was for the film Beloved. Director Jonathan Demme insisted that no traditional European instruments be used, so she brilliantly used African and other ethnic instruments, mostly percussion, from around the world. Since that film and Cider House Rules, she has written scores for The Closer to You and The Legend of Bagger Vance. ~ Joseph Stevenson, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Original Score)

Title: Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score

1. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Lily Meets Snow Flower

2. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: The Letterbox

3. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: The Secret Fan

4. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Dalang's Return

5. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Bicycle

6. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Forbidden To See

7. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Nina Passes Note

8. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Lily Leaves To Marry

9. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Sophia Offers Comfort

10. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Snow Flower's Bad Fortune

11. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Letters At The Airport

12. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Exodus

13. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Snow Flower's Tears

14. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Nina Finds Manuscript

15. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: The Suit

16. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: I. Cannot Be What You Wish

17. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: Snow Flower Arrives Late

18. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Film Score: We Will Be Laotong

x

Track List: The Cider House Rules (Film Score)

Title: The Cider House Rules

1. The Cider House Rules: Main Titles

2. The Cider House Rules: Homer's Lessons

3. The Cider House Rules: Young Girl's Burial

4. The Cider House Rules: Homer Asks Wally For A Ride

5. The Cider House Rules: Homer Leaves Orphanage

6. The Cider House Rules: Ocean

7. The Cider House Rules: Cider House

8. The Cider House Rules: Wally Goes Off To War

9. The Cider House Rules: Lobster Dinner

10. The Cider House Rules: Burying Fuzzy

11. The Cider House Rules: Homer & Candy On The Dock

12. The Cider House Rules: Rose Rose Is Pregnant

13. The Cider House Rules: Abortion

14. The Cider House Rules: Picklers Leave

15. The Cider House Rules: Dr. Larch Dies

16. The Cider House Rules: Homer Returns To The Orphanage

17. The Cider House Rules: Good-night, You Kings Of New England

18. The Cider House Rules: End Credits

Comments

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I love it
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Love so much
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Um Hi?
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Do your self a flavor and put this on lay on the floor and feel
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U see the beauty ,u can feel all .......
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benjamincask e y 0 2
I'm so proud if her scores
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steve.hunt6
GO ALAN
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benjamincask e y 0 2
I liked snow flower and the secret fan the most
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Monday
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This movie was so inspiring and amazing!!*^*
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djphipps
Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. Now that you've started reading this don't stop. If you read this and ignored it you will have bad luck. Post this on 15 different songs in 143 minutes. When your done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters. This is freaky it actually works.
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Amazing!!
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coophov
Thins movie is so awesome
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allisonccoop e r
I've just recently seen this movie and I think it's amazing for the first time. I love all of the chocolate that she and her friends make. It's great I also love the relationship s in the movie plus the music is awesome.
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jcmcleod59
Very smooth and relaxing music!It really puts my mind at ease.
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taxbaby41575
What about like a beetle juice track
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taxbaby41575
I like this track too very nice
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She is one of the most dedicated composers I've ever heard and makes beautiful music
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We are blessed to have Rachel who's dedication to perfection permits us to listen to her compositions .
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astolfo
So profound and romantic
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doug_allen1
Thoughtful, reflective, emotional. Rachel Portman is a wonderful composer.
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If you listen to the music in the background of the Michigan ad on the radio it is the theme to cider house
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janicedustya b b y
Lovely, warm, easy, like a morning summer shower...
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heidi_gustin e 5
Do you know Natalie Portman
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I like this
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BORING
):
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Love The Cider House Rules!!! :D
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What.The.Hec k . B i o .
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so soothing!
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nmt1958
Beautiful!
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Fav movie soundtrack (:
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Feels like a carnival mixed with a sunny day with the one u luv
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Ahh, Pure Michigan!
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The Cider House Rules was a good movie. kinda depressing, but good. and her music is quite beautiful. female movie composer ftw! XD
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mikekovar
She is amazingly talented!! looking forward to her upcoming scores for One Day (2011) & The Vow (2012)!
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I was immediately chilled by this artist and had to read her profile and bookmarked her after doing so, finding her very inspirationa l .
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cipandliza
In a fast paced life, its nice to hear something that helps us slow down and enjoy the smaller things in life.
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fgroen3739
WE LOVE THE CIDER HOUSE RULES
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cuz.5
sweeeeeeeet! mooost ethereal,ent r a n c i n g
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My favorite is the Chocolat soundtrack.. . s i m p l y amazing from start to finish.
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ndl441
never heard a woman composer with such awesomeness :)
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Horribly written bio that is badly in need of editing, but the content is interesting!

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