Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Fistful of Orchestrators, Part II

So, what do orchestrators do?  For each composer, the orchestrator’s job differs.  Basically the orchestrator is handed a sketch/demo of the music composed.  The sketch differs from composer to composer, as some are known to give almost complete sketches.  Others write MIDI demos and need the orchestrator to write harmony and counter melodies.  An orchestrator’s background might be helpful for only certain cues, rather than the whole movie.  Some of the earliest Hollywood orchestrators came from the world of Broadway. 

So here is another smattering of orchestrators of past and present: 
John Neufeld
Composer Collaborators: John Williams, James Horner
Score Examples: Home Alone, Rocketeer, Far and Away, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Star Wars Episode I, Catch Me if You Can 

Thomas Pasatieri

Composer Collaborators: Thomas Newman, James Horner, Alan Menken
Score Examples: The Little Mermaid, The Shawshank Redemption, Legends of the Fall, American Beauty, Finding Nemo, The Good German, Wall-E 

Conrad Pope 

Composer Collaborators: Alexandre Desplat, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, James Horner, Alan Silvestri, John Williams, Hans Zimmer
Score Examples: The Rocketeer, Schindler’s List, Star Wars Episode I, Sleepy Hollow, Harry Potter 1, The Polar Express, Memoirs of a Geisha, King Kong, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Last Airbender, Harry Potter 7

Edward B. Powell (1909-1984)
Composer Collaborations: Alfred Newman, Franz Waxman, Alex North

Score Examples: Young Mr Lincoln, How Green Was My Valley, Song of Bernadette, Miracle on 34th Street, Captain from Castile, All About Eve, Twelve O’Clock High, The Robe, The Egyptian, Diary of Anne Frank 

J.A.C. Redford 
 Composer Collaborators: James Horner, Thomas Newman
Score Examples: Bicentennial Man, The Perfect Storm, Spiderwick Chronicles, Wall-E, Revolutionary Road, Avatar 

William Ross  
Composer Collaborators: Alan Silvestri, Michael Kamen
Score Examples: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Father of the Bride, Forrest Gump, The Mummy Returns, Van Helsing, The Polar Express 

Jonathan Sacks

Composer Collaborators: Michael Kamen, Randy Newman
Score Examples: Mr Holland’s Opus, The X-Files, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Meet the Parents, Monsters Inc, Seabiscuit, Cars, The Princess and the Frog, Toy Story 3 

Conrad Salinger (1901-1962)
Composer Collaborators: George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Frederick Loewe
Score Examples: Gunga-Din, Lady Be Good, Girl Crazy, Meet Me In St Louis, Easter Parade, On the Town, An American in Paris, Singin in the Rain, Brigadoon, Gigi 

Tim Simonec
Composer Collaborators: Michael Giacchino, Graeme Revell
Score Examples: Titan A.E., Daredevil, The Incredibles, Mission Impossible III, Ratatouille, Star Trek, Up, Cars 2 

David Slonaker
Composer Collaborators: Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri
Score Examples: Sleepy Hollow, The Mummy Returns, Spiderman, Tomb Raider 2, Van Helsing, Milk, Alice in Wonderland 

Herbert Spencer (1905-1992)
Composer Collaborators: John Williams, Alfred Newman
Score Examples: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Carousel, Jaws, A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Cocoon, Home Alone 

John Ashton Thomas

Composer Collaborators: John Powell, Alan Silvestri, James Newton Howard
Score Examples: United 93, X-Men 3, Night at the Museum, Beowulf, Kung Fu Panda, Astro Boy, How to Train Your Dragon, The Last Airbender, Rio 

Danny Troob
Composer Collaborators: Alan Menken
Score Examples: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Enchanted, Tangled 

Eugene Zador (1894 – 1977)
Composer Collaborators
: Miklos Rozsa

Score Examples: Double Indemnity, Spellbound, The Lost Weekend, Adam’s Rib, Ben-Hur, King of Kings, El Cid


  1. This is a great list.

    Even as a score fan, I'm really only somewhat familiar with orchestrators.

  2. Hi, I think you missed out Steve Bartek, who's Danny's main orchestrator.

  3. Steve Bartek (and many others) are in Part I here:

  4. Oh sorry, I didn't see Part I, where Bartek's name is!