Michael Kamen (15 April 1948, New York City - 18 November 2003, London) was an American composer (especially of film scores), orchestral arranger, orchestral conductor, song writer, and session musician.
While attending the The High School of Music & Art in New York City, Michael Kamen met and became friends with Martin Fulterman (later known as Mark Snow, who composed the theme music for The X-Files among other projects). While studying the oboe, he formed a rock classical fusion band called New York Rock & Roll Ensemble, together with classmates Fulterman and Dorian Rudnytsky. After graduating high school, Kamen attended The Juilliard School, also in New York City.
Kamen's early work centered on ballets, thirteen in all, then expanding into Hollywood by writing the score for The Next Man in 1976, then into pop and rock arranging, collaborating with Pink Floyd on their album, The Wall.
Kamen became a highly-sought arranger in the realms of pop and rock music. His successes include his work with Pink Floyd,David Gilmour and Roger Waters as well as Queen (orchestration on Who Wants To Live Forever), Eric Clapton(on Edge of Darkness), Roger Daltrey, Aerosmith (live orchestral version of Dream On for MTV), Tom Petty, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Eurythmics, Queensrÿche, Rush, Metallica, Def Leppard, Herbie Hancock, Tim Curry, The Cranberries, Bryan Adams, Jim Croce, Coldplay, Sting, and Kate Bush.
Kamen had a very successful partnership with Bryan Adams and R.J. Lange composing scores and songs. The ballad (Everything I Do) I Do It for You for the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was the number one song of that year, worldwide. Other songs were All For Love for the movie The Three Musketeers in 1993, and Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? the song from the film Don Juan DeMarco in 1995.
Kamen wrote eleven ballets, a saxophone concerto and an electric guitar concerto. Additionally, he wrote a commissioned work, Quintet, for the Canadian Brass. He also provided scores for the films such as The Dead Zone, For Queen and Country, Polyester, Brazil, Someone To Watch Over Me, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Three Musketeers, Highlander, X-Men, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,Licence to Kill, the Lethal Weapon series, the first three films of the Die Hard series, Mr. Holland's Opus, The Iron Giant, Splitting Heirs, Frequency, and many others. In television, Kamen composed music for two series of The Manageress produced by Glenn Wilhide at Zed Productions for Channel 4, but perhaps his best known work was on the 1985 BBC Television serial Edge of Darkness, on which he collaborated with Eric Clapton to write the score. The pair were awarded with a British Academy Television Award for Best Original Television Music for their work and performed the main movie theme with the National Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall of London in 1990 and 1991. In 1994, Kamen conducted an orchestration of The Who's music for Roger Daltrey's 50th birthday concert series entitled Celebration: The Music of Pete Townshend and The Who which was subsequently released on CD and DVD. He also worked with heavy metal band Metallica, on a two-day concert that was held in Berkeley, California, with the San Francisco Symphony.
Kamen was nominated for two Academy Awards and won three Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, two Ivor Novello Awards, an Annie Award and an Emmy.
His involvement with Mr. Holland's Opus, a film about a frustrated composer who finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher, led Kamen to create The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation in 1996. The foundation supports music education through the donation of new and refurbished musical instruments to underserved school and community music programs and individual students in the United States. In 2005 the foundation created an emergency fund for schools and students affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Kamen's His last recorded work appeared on Bryan Adams's album Room Service where he played the oboe and wrote the orchestration to I Was Only Dreamin'.
Works for Winds
- All for Love
- American Symphony, An (arr. Moss) (1996)
- Band of Brothers. See: Symphonic Suite from "Band of Brothers"
- From Earth to the Moon
- I Do It for You
- Mr. Holland's Opus (arr. Bocook) (1995/)
- Robin Hood (arr. Bocook) (1991)
- Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves: Symphonic Suite (arr. Lavender) (1991)
- Selections from "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves"
- Suite from "Band of Brothers" (arr. Nowlin) (2001)
- Symphonic Suite from "Band of Brothers" (arr. Brubaker) (1998/2002)
- Tribute (arr Moss) (arr. Moss) (2004)