James Horner

James Roy Horner ( born August 14, 1953 in Los Angeles, California) is an American film composer and as such two -time Oscar -winner. He is known especially for the music to the movies Braveheart, Titanic and Avatar - Pandora. Horner composed in a predominantly Tonal style, although occasionally find items from the Modern and World music collection.

  • 5.1 filmography 5.1.1 cinema Rejected film scores

The Early Years

James Horner is the son of Austrian immigrant Harry Horner, who was honored as a production designer in Hollywood twice with the Oscar. The family moved mid-fifties to London. There James Horner studied at the Royal College of Music. Later he moved to the University of Southern California, where he made his M. A.. Afterwards, he began to work at the University of California in Los Angeles working on his doctorate, which he did not consummate.

In 1978 he composed a work for the concert hall named Spectral Shimmers, which was played only once by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in front of about 400 listeners. Further performances were thwarted by the lack of money.

The beginnings

After some work on the American Film Institute (AFI ) in the late 70s, James Horner devoted to composing film music. He first began working for the prolific B-movie producer Roger Corman. The first movie was The Woman in Red ( The Lady in Red ) 1979 was followed by films like Battle Beyond - ruler in space. ( Original title: Battle Beyond The Stars ) and The Lurker Below ( Humanoids from the Deep ) (both 1980). The music budget was so low in these films that the music was recorded by non- AFM orchestras and James Horner personally signed the checks with the salaries for the musicians.

Breakthrough in Hollywood

The breakthrough Horner in 1982 with the music for the second Star Trek movie. Due to the much lower budget of the film returned the composer of the first Star Trek movie adventure, Jerry Goldsmith, not back. Director Nicholas Meyer demanded a soundtrack that is distinctly different from that of part one and brings a certain mentality with sailors for The Wrath of Khan. Today Horner applies musical contribution to the Star Trek films two and three with the music for Star Trek: The Motion as the most successful.

It was followed a year later the soundtracks to Krull and Brainstorm ( Brainstorm ) (both 1983). In the latter Horner resorted to atonal style means. The new recording for the soundtrack release was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra ( LSO). In 1985, he first worked with director Ron Howard for the film Cocoon together, for which he has since repeatedly dubbed films ( Willow, 1988, Apollo 13 1995 bounty - Ransom - Ransom 1996 The Grinch ( How The Grinch Stole Christmas 2000), A Beautiful Mind - Beautiful Mind 2001 The Missing 2003).

1986 James Horner received his first Academy Award nominations for James Cameron's Aliens - The Return and the animated film An American Tail Wanderer (An American Tail ) ( category " Best Song "). Between 1986 and 1995, set to music Horner numerous animated films: In addition to An American Tail walkers also American Tail Wanderer in the Wild West ( An American Tail: Fievel Goes West ), The Land Before Time ( The Land Before Time ), Master Badger and his friends ( Once Upon A Forest ), Four Dinos in New York City ( We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story), Pagemaster ( The Pagemaster ) and Balto. Many of them were produced by Steven Spielberg.

When he traveled to London in 1986, the music for James Cameron's Aliens to begin - to write the return, he realized that Cameron was still spinning and the film re-cut again and again. As long as that was the case, Horner could not begin to compose, because this movie music is way too terms of images, that one could write without the finished film. This meant that he still had to write the night before the recording of the LSO the music for the final scene. Ultimately, large parts of the music were used either elsewhere than originally thought or replaced by music from the first part. Horner wrote for the film in less than two weeks 97 minutes music.

1989 Horner received another Oscar nomination for Field of Dreams ( Field of Dreams ). Composed in the same year Glory received surprisingly no nomination. In 1993, James Horner a very active year, appeared in the ten films set to music by him, for example, the Act ( The Pelican Brief ) and The Man Without a Face ( The Man Without A Face). In 1994 he worked on Edward Zwick's Legends of the Fall ( Legends Of The Fall ) and 1995 to Mel Gibson's Braveheart, which were not only artistically but also commercially very successful. For Apollo 13 and Braveheart, he received two Academy Award nominations, but could not prevail against Luis Bacalovs The Postman ( Il Postino ) itself.

Oscar for Titanic

His most famous work is the soundtrack to the film Titanic, which was directed by James Cameron in 1997. For this purpose, Horner was recognized in 1998 with an Oscar for Best Original Music. He received a second Oscar for My Heart Will Go On as best original song he co-wrote with Will Jennings and in the interpretation of Céline Dion became a worldwide hit. For the soundtrack of Titanic, he also won three Grammy Awards and two Golden Globes. With nearly 30 million copies sold Titanic is one of the most successful soundtracks in film history.

In the movies The Storm ( The Perfect Storm ) (2000 ) and Troy (Troy ) (2004 ), he first worked with Wolfgang Petersen. In the latter, he replaced shortly Gabriel Yared, after his music had been criticized vehemently in some test screenings and was bothersome. However, Horner managed to write in less than ten days, a completely new soundtrack. 2001 and 2003 Academy Award nominations came for A Beautiful Mind - added genius and madness (A Beautiful Mind ) and House of Sand and Fog ( House of Sand and Fog ).

Terrence Malick's film For The New World Horner wrote eight months of music. After turmoil in post-production and more of the music were not used and compositions by Mozart ( Piano Concerto 23 in A major, K. 488 ) and Wagner ( " The Rhine Gold " ) replaced in the final film version. On the soundtrack album released the film's release, however, is only James Horner's original film music.

In January 2013 it was announced that James Horner winners of the Max Steiner Awards 2013 will be at the event Hollywood in Vienna. This price received previously film composers like Lalo Schifrin, Howard Shore and John Barry.

Currently in cinema and future projects

Last Horner was heard in the movie The Amazing Spider -Man in theaters. It is planned that Horner takes over the setting of Vadim Perelman's The Song of Names and of Romeo and Juliet in 2013. He will also write the music for the sci-fi film Ender's Game.


Besides Titanic wait a few other scores with Music in Irish style, so for example, Braveheart, The Devil ( The Devil's Own), and finally Bobby Jones - The Legend Golf (Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius ). Horner is often associated with music such, but much more common Horner orchestral electronic music combined as in The Legend of the Black River ( Where the River Runs Black ), Vibes - The supernatural hunt for the Golden Pyramids or Beyond Borders ( Beyond Borders ). In addition to numerous major productions such as Duell - Enemy at the Gates ( Enemy At The Gates ) (2001 ) or The Mask of Zorro ( The Mask of Zorro ) ( 1998) James Horner is always for smaller film projects such as The Spitfire Grill (The Spitfire Grill ) ( 1996) or The Chumscrubber ( The Chumscrubber ) (2005 ) worked.

He frequently works with famous singers like Annie Lennox (Apollo 13), Sissel Kyrkjebø ( Titanic ), Charlotte Church ( A Beautiful Mind ), Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ( The Four Feathers, Apocalypto ), CaseLine Kunene ( Beyond Borders ), Tanja Tzarovska ( Troy), Hayley Westenra (The New World) together. Also, playing for him regularly musician Tony Hinnigan (ethnic instruments) and Kazu Matsui ( shakuhachi ).

In order to meet the harsh tone of the film meet with the soundtrack to Apocalypto, he renounced a classical orchestra and instead wrote the music for a variety of ethnic instruments (including trumscheit, Fujara, Sipsi and zurna ).

In the music to The Spiderwick Chronicles additionally each one bass accordion, a bass harmonica and harpsichord came to a large orchestra used.

For James Cameron's Avatar - Pandora Horner works with a ethnomusicologist, to create their own music culture for the alien race occurring in the film. In the summer of 2007 and 2008, individual songs were recorded for this film.

A frequently voiced criticism of Horner's compositional style is that of plagiarism. Horner is accused, he repeated, inter alia, his own music dramaturgical pattern too strong, but also regularly Operating the motifs or entire passages of music from the classical period, with the allegations and other known composers such as Hans Zimmer, John Williams or Bill Conti meet.

Horner commented on this subject as follows:

" In the era of Mozart Mozart was all of the best. However, if one uses any fifteen other composers of the time, their music was identical with that of Mozart basically. If you listen to his father or Michael Haydn, so all spoke the same musical language. Film music is because this weird thing where each score must be different from the others, at least tell the lawyers. But for an artist that is impossible. [ ... ] Is classical music for me - serious music -. A wonderful world from which I make use of "

Awards & Nominations

James Horner has so far been nominated 10 times for an Oscar and has not won twice in the category "Best Song" and " Best Original Score ( Drama ) " (both for Titanic ). For the Golden Globes, he was also nominated 10 times, he won the award in 1998 for Titanic (2 awards for the film music and the credits song ).




The original title is - if different - in parentheses.

1978 ( for AFI)

  • The Drought
  • Fantasies
  • Gist and Evans
  • Landscapes
  • Just for a Laugh
  • The Watcher


  • The Woman in Red ( The Lady in Red )
  • Up from the Depths


  • Humanoids from the Deep ( Humanoids from the Deep )
  • Sador - ruler in space ( Battle Beyond the Stars )


  • Faces of the Devil ( Deadly Blessing )
  • The Hand ( The Hand )
  • Escape on the highway ( The Pursuit of DB Cooper)


  • Just 48 hours (48 hours )
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)


  • The In-Laws ( The Dresser )
  • Gorky Park
  • The last Testament ( Testament)
  • The audacious Seven (Uncommon Valor )
  • Brainstorm ( Brainstorm )
  • Krull
  • Evil comes on silent feet ( Something Wicked This Way Comes )



  • Natty Gann's travel adventure ( The Journey of Natty Gann )
  • Everything is at my command ( Volunteers)
  • Commando ( Commando )
  • Cocoon
  • The Himmelsstürmer ( Heaven Help Us), two other film music by Horner were previously rejected


  • The Name of the Rose
  • Off Beat - Let the cops dance ( Off Beat )
  • The Legend of the Black River ( Where the River Runs Black )
  • An American Tail Wanderer (An American Tail )
  • Aliens - The Return ( Aliens )


  • Kid Kane ( P.K. and the Kid )
  • Project X ( Project X )
  • The Miracle on 8th Street ( * batteries not included )


  • In The Land Before Time ( The Land Before Time )
  • Vibes - The supernatural hunt for the Golden Pyramids ( Vibes )
  • Cocoon II - The Return ( Cocoon: The Return )
  • Red Heat
  • Willow


  • Dad
  • Field of Dreams ( Field of Dreams )
  • Glory
  • Back from Hell ( In Country )
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids)



  • An American Tail Wanderer in the Wild West ( An American Tail: Fievel Goes West )
  • A charming disgust ( Once Around )
  • Rocketeer ( The Rocketeer )
  • The law of power ( Class Action )


  • Half-Blood (Thunder Heart )
  • Sneakers - The Silent Ones ( Sneakers )
  • Unlawful Entry ( Unlawful Entry)
  • The Patriot ( Patriot Games )


  • Bopha! - Fight for freedom ( Bopha! )
  • The House of Cards ( House of Cards )
  • Jack the Bear ( Jack the Bear )
  • The Man Without a Face ( The Man without a Face)
  • Master Badger and his friends ( Once Upon A Forest )
  • Searching for Bobby Fischer - A masterpiece is born ( Searching for Bobby Fischer)
  • Swing Kids
  • Four Dinos in New York City ( We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story)
  • The Act ( The Pelican Brief )
  • A Far Off Place - The last great adventure (A Far Off Place)


  • Legends of the Fall ( Legends of the Fall )
  • The Pagemaster - Richie's fantastic journey ( The Pagemaster )
  • The Cartel (Clear and Present Danger )


  • Jade
  • Balto - A dog with the heart of a hero ( Balto )
  • Jumanji
  • Apollo 13
  • Casper
  • Braveheart


  • Bounty - Ransom ( Ransom )
  • Shadow of a Love (To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday)
  • Courage Under Fire (Courage Under Fire )
  • The Spitfire Grill (The Spitfire Grill )


  • Titanic
  • The Devil ( The Devil's Own)


  • Mighty Joe Young ( Mighty Joe Young)
  • The Mask of Zorro ( The Mask of Zorro )
  • Deep Impact


  • The 200-year - Man ( Bicentennial Man)


  • The Grinch ( How the Grinch Stole Christmas )
  • The Storm ( The Perfect Storm )


  • Iris
  • A Beautiful Mind - Beautiful Mind (A Beautiful Mind )



  • House of Sand and Fog ( House of Sand and Fog )
  • The Missing
  • Beyond Borders ( Beyond Borders )
  • They call him Radio ( radio)


  • The Forgotten ( The Forgotten )
  • Troy (Troy )
  • Bobby Jones - The Legend Golf (Bobby Jones - Stroke of Genius )


  • The Chumscrubber ( The Chumscrubber )
  • Flight Plan - Without a trace (Flight Plan)
  • The Legend of Zorro ( The Legend of Zorro )
  • The New World


  • Apocalypto
  • The King's Men ( All The King's Men )



  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas )
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles ( The Spiderwick Chronicles )


  • Avatar - Pandora ( Avatar )


  • Karate Kid


  • Black Gold


  • For the Greater Glory
  • The Amazing Spider -Man
Rejected film scores

Work for television


  • A Few Days in Weasel Creek


  • A Piano for Mrs. Cimino


  • Between Friends


  • Amazing Stories ( episode: Alamo Jobe )
  • Surviving


  • Tales from the Crypt (Episode: Cutting Cards)
  • Extreme close-up


  • Crossroads (Theme)
  • Fish Police ( theme)


  • Freedom Song


  • CBS News

Short Films


  • Let's Go



  • Tummy Trouble ( Roger in distress )


  • Norman and the Killer


  • First in Flight

Concert works

  • Conversations ( 1976)
  • Spectral Shimmers (1977 )
  • A Forest Passage (2000)

Other works

  • Logo music for Universal Pictures and Icon Productions
  • THX Cimarron Trailer
  • Music for the P -51 aerobatic flight team " The Horsemen " (2010)


  • Horner wrote new music for the newscast CBS Evening News, which started with a new presenter on 5 September 2006 in the United States. Later, the station decided to use music composed by Horner for all other newscasts.
  • For two films to their predecessors Jerry Goldsmith composed the music, namely Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Aliens - The Return, Horner wrote the music. In return, Jerry Goldsmith The stop set to music - the so far last Jack Ryan film, whose films Horner also two ( Patriot Games, The cartel ) was accompanied with music. In addition, Goldsmith composed in 1997 by Horner (1990 ) a new fanfare for Universal Pictures.
  • His brother Christopher is also active in the film industry.


"I guess Jerry Goldsmith very much hope, however, that my music is not too similar to his. Those people who are estimated particularly affecting a most and also some classical composers whose works I admire, have influenced me. Therefore, some try to put me in a box and say, now that would be this or that kind of music. However, in fact, most of my movies adventure or horror movies -. Precisely the kind of films that also makes Jerry Goldsmith mainly "