Having composed the music for more than 100 films, James Horner (1953-2015) was among the world’s most prolific and beloved film composers. He earned two Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for his music from Titanic, eight additional Academy Award nominations, five additional Golden Globe nominations, and won six Grammy awards, including Song of the Year in 1987 (for “Somewhere Out There”) and 1998 (for “My Heart Will Go On”). Horner’s Titanic soundtrack album remains the largest selling instrumental score album in history, having sold nearly 10 million copies in the U.S. and more than 27 million copies worldwide.
Known for his stylistic diversity, his film credits included Avatar, A Beautiful Mind, Enemy at the Gates, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Perfect Storm, The Mask Of Zorro, Courage Under Fire, Braveheart, Apollo 13, Casper, Legends of the Fall, Patriot Games, The Rocketeer, Glory, Field of Dreams, Willow, An American Tail, Cocoon, and Star Trek II.
Equally comfortable with lush orchestral scoring and contemporary electronic techniques, Horner likened his approach to composing to that of a painter, where the film serves as the canvas and where musical colo is used to describe and support the film’s emotional dynamics. He was also noted for his integration of ethnic instruments with the orchestral palette in order to achieve exotic colors and textures. He also composed several concert works, including Spectral Shimmers for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; A Forest Passage for The Cleveland Orchestra; Pas de Deux, a double concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra; and Collage, a concerto for four horns and orchestra commissioned by the Houston Symphony and the International Horn Society.
Horner died in 2015 when the single-engine aircraft he was piloting crashed in a remote area of northern Ventura County, California. He left behind a legacy of some of the most influential and acclaimed music in the history of cinema.