James Newton Howard

From Wind Repertory Project
James Newton Howard


James Newton Howard (9 June 1951, Los Angeles) is an American composer, conductor, music producer and musician.

Howard came from a musical family; his grandmother was the Pittsburgh Symphony's concertmaster and violinist during the 1930s and '40s. Howard began studying music as a child, taking classical piano lessons at the age of four. He went on to attend the Thacher School in Ojai, California, and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California with Reginald Stewart and Leon Fleischer. He then attended the University of Southern California for a short time.

After Howard left college, he joined a short-lived rock band, then worked for a couple of years as a session musician with artists including Diana Ross, Ringo Starr, and Harry Nilsson. In the early '70s, he described himself as being "dirt poor", until his big break in 1975 when his manager got him an audition with Elton John. He joined Elton's band and toured with them as keyboardist during the late '70s and early '80s.

In 1982, Howard was featured on Toto IV as the strings conductor and orchestrator for I Won't Hold You Back, Afraid of Love, and Lovers in the Night. A year later, he released the live album James Newton Howard and Friends.

After briefly touring with Crosby, Stills and Nash, he took an opportunity brought to him by his manager to write a film score for a small-time movie. This career move would lead to his becoming a successful film music composer.

Throughout his career, Howard has scored over 100 films of all scales and genres, earning multiple award nominations for his work. He is the recipient of a Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and eight Academy Award nominations. His best known film scores include Pretty Woman (1990), The Prince of Tides (1991), The Fugitive (1993), The Sixth Sense (1999), Treasure Planet (2002), The Village (2004), King Kong (2005), Batman Begins (2005), I Am Legend (2007),Blood Diamond (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Hunger Games (2012), The Bourne Legacy (2012), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. He has frequently collaborated with director M. Night Shyamalan, having scored nine of his films since The Sixth Sense. He is renowned for being a fast composer due to his work on large-scale films such as King Kong and The Hunger Games, both of which were composed in approximately one month.

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