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James Horner

August 14, 1953 - June 22, 2015
born in Los Angeles, CA, composed during the Contemporary period
James Horner is one of the most famous film composers. He is the son of Harry Horner, a motion picture set designer. When he was quite young, the family moved to England, where he acquired an English accent. He spent his teenage years back in Los Angeles, but returned to England to attend the Royal College of Music in London. His composition teacher there was György Ligeti, a leading avant-garde composer whose music was used in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Horner's intent was to become a classical composer.

Believing his chances in serious music (which he concluded required getting a university post) were greater in the U.S., Horner transferred to the University of Southern California, where he obtained an undergraduate degree. He took his masters and doctorate in music theory and composition at UCLA and was offered a teaching position there. He wrote an orchestral work, Spectral Shimmer. After a frustrating effort to get it performed, it was played once (for an audience of 400, he says) by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Then Horner received an offer to score documentaries for the American Film Institute and "got hooked" on the process of writing music and immediately hearing it performed by an orchestra. He decided to become a film composer.

He went to work for Roger Corman's company, New World Pictures, and Horner became adept a writing scores quickly. He became known for an ability to obtain a large Hollywood sound with minimal means. The best-known of his scores from the Corman years is Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) but the same year he did his first important film, Lady in Red. After that, he began to work for major studios and drew his first prominent assignment inn 1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The score was notable both for its warmth and from its eschewing unusual instrumentation or "spacey" effects. This led to other special effects action films, Krull and Brainstorm, in the latter of which he used a fascinating mix of orchestral, choral, and synthesized sound. He became noted for his touching, warm-hearted music in Ron Howard's Cocoon (1985).

In 1986 he was reunited with another Corman alumnus, director James Cameron, on Aliens. The experience was nearly disastrous -- Cameron gave him only ten days to complete the score, and during that period tried to get Horner to do rewrites, which was impossible. Horner vowed never to work with Cameron again. Nevertheless, Horner received his first Academy Award nomination for that score, which is notable for having a very different musical effect and no common musical elements from the first Alien film (scored by Jerry Goldsmith).

He has composed nearly 100 soundtracks with sounds ranging from Russian (Gorky Park), world music (Where the River Runs Black), and American rural (Field of Dreams) to medieval (The Name of the Rose). He often scores "against type," as in the case of the Civil War epic Glory, noted for its elegiac tone rather than explicit battle music. Other notable films scored by Horner are The Rocketeer, Legends of the Fall, Clear and Present Danger, The Mask of Zorro, The Perfect Storm, and Enemy at the Gates.

But he is best known for his score to Cameron's Titanic, the most profitable soundtrack recording in history. Horner reversed his stand on working with Cameron on reading the script and approached the director, who in the meantime had deeply admired Horner's music for Braveheart and Apollo 13.

Now the rather shy composer (who lives a comfortable distance from Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters) is often recognized and asked for autographs. ~ Joseph Stevenson, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Title: Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, Film Score

Comments

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cehuffman121 7
Don't read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least five songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen on big letters this is so scary because it actually works!
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Yeah that's right
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wb201822
Your music has given hope to a world mired in itself.
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Such a beautiful score. Makes me cry every time I hear it. We will miss you, James Horner, and your amazing God given gift of music.
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He will be our favorite composer forever
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Here here and amen
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sean.connoll y 0 0 1
Amazing composer. Sorry for his loss.
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mikkelbenson 2 0 1 1
Rip James horner.
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mikkelbenson 2 0 1 1
I like it.
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I wept when I heard the news of Mr. Horner's death. He represents an era in music that corresponds to that era in my life, personal but sweeping, intimate but all encompassing . His heart will go on.
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Rest in peace, James Horner. He really was a one in a million composer, and so unique! No one will forget you.
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We lost a great composer recently. I know that his music has influenced and been a part of any lives, mine included. You will live on in your music James Horner. Rest in peace.
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James Horner, your music has touched so many hearts and people. It was the key to leaving scenes the way they are. It was profound yet beautifully done. I love your music so much and I love it forever. You were truly an incredible composer of our time and time to come. You will be missed. RIP.
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You will be my favorite composers of film. You have left behind something that will be remembered for ages. RIP
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I love his score for the film Titanic
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Rest In Peace you will be truly missed by everyone
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shayewils
I just love his avatar and 1998 titanic!!!!!
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Rest in peace your music will be remembered ❤️
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Your music was amazing,your beautifull talent will live on forevet.than k y o u !
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jerry.enoch2 7
One of my favorite composers. Your music will live on forever. What a beautiful thing to leave behind. RIP
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What a tragic loss with the death of James Horner...his beautiful film scores will live on....
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stephaniesto k e s 1
Brilliant ! You are already truly missed as the sounds of the backdrop of life are only composed from you and another human.
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Rest in peace, James Horner
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Love this movie so much
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clairesabati e r 2
Wrath. Of. Khan avatar. And. Field
Of. Dreams. Are. So. Good. ???/:)
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alexislazo.1 9 8 9
Im really disappointed that bicentennial man's score is not on pandora its one of my all time faves
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10acecard
Amazing!!
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bernerz2
Titanic is so sad! My grandpa sings me the theme song.
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bethpowersfa m i l y
See fir dry my bee fer
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FREEDOM!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! !
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dwyer816
Wrath of khan, avatar and field of dreams are so good!!!!!!
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dwyer816
Wrath
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glinkasktr
Willow !!!!������
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I love his wrath of khan film score
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Luv the movies
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cremtu
James horners scores let you close your eyes and see the movies. The score makes the great movies what they are.
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Nice
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Khhaaaaaaaaa a a a a a n n n n n n n ! ! ! ! ! !
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mobjewelry
Great composers put u in the movie. His work in wrath of Kahn is masterful
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Avatar awesome
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top 5 behind titanic 4th

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nkheyfets4
Lets get real TITANIC is and always will be the best movie ever, OK because come on people, it's TITANIC we're talking about
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This is AWESOME!!! But probably my all time favorite composer would be Hans Zimmer
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All-time favorite movie is still Braveheart. Great acting, great music, passion, strength, power. Great directing. Three of Mel Gibson's movies are in my top 5.
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:)
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I a total nerd when it comes to the titanic movie because I really recite word for word the first 5 scenes of the movie
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So cool they have him because I am a geek of titanic
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Such beautiful music
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@MetroGnome, ha, ha. Good thinking.
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Beautiful music
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