When you ask someone to sing the theme of Star Wars, Harry Potter or Star Trek, and E.T., everyone can hum some part of it. This is thanks to the amazing composers who gave the films and the stories their own sound. We all have heard their names - Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, John Williams and so on. You don’t have to be a film music expert to know these big name composers — you somehow know them, because they’re so huge from doing these legendary films.
But there are a whole lot of other composers scoring great movies, and this post is about them. We made a list of 10 composers we think everyone should know.
Here it is. The ten composers you should know, in no specific order.
The first woman to compose a Disney feature animated film: Germain Franco got this title for scoring Disney’s animated musical “Encanto”. For this she even received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score, an SCL Award nomination for Outstanding Original Score for a Studio Film, and an Annie Award nomination for Best Music in a Feature.
Germain Franco worked on the score of the film during the pandemic, which was a great challenge, since the story takes place in Colombia. To do her research on Colombian culture and music to make the music sound as authentic as possible, she had to find another way than travelling to Colombia.
“I started listening to music from the early 1800s all the way to current pop and just had so many different videos and scores and songs … What I found was that we have so much in a common, a lot of the Latin American countries, but they’re very different in a different way, (...)
I also bought a bunch of instruments. I had a marimba made in Colombia. It’s called a marimba de chonta. It’s a special marimba that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s made out of a palm tree, so I had it built and shipped to me. I also got a lot of string instruments, like bandolas and tiples. And I actually bought a Colombian harp. I was just like, ‘Well, I can’t go there. Let me bring all the instruments to me,’” Germain Franco said in an interview with Gold Derby.
But before “Encanto”, her fame arose after she worked on Pixar’s “Coco”, where she wrote some great additional soundtracks. Here she brought her unique Latina touch and did a lot of research by visiting Mexico to work with the native musicians, in order to bring an authentic feeling to the music. (In this post you can further read how Franco brings her uniqueness into her work.)
Also known as Hauschka, he is a pianist, composer and experimental musician.
He started his career as a film composer in 2012 scoring the German movie "Glück" (Luck) by Doris Dörries and the German-Israeli documentary “Farewell Herr Schwarz”.
For his score with Dustin O’Halloran for Garth Davis’s film ***“Lion” (*2016), he was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA.
Since his success with the film, he has been super busy, and responds to the question of whether he sees a connection between his many subsequent projects and the success with his work on “Lion” in a very humble way:
Yeah, I would say so. Part of that is the discussions about reliability and responsibility – because of course it’s a question of spending money for something that has to be delivered in a certain amount of time. I think a lot of the questions, when you don’t have a lot of films out there, is if you’re trustworthy enough to get the job and then you might be too far away, say from America anyway. So I think Lion opened that door much more, but at the same time, I have to say, it’s not a guarantee for suddenly being extremely busy. I’ve heard a lot of stories about people who had a year after a nomination where nothing was happening. So I was prepared for not getting the super stardust!
Bertelsmann also worked on various TV shows, for example “Dublin Murders” (2019), Your Honor (2020) and most recently “Downhill” (2020).