Friday, April 13, 2012

Who Conducts?

Since most Hollywood composers of the Golden Age began as arrangers, big band conductors or with Broadway experience, it was natural for the composer to also be the conductor for the film score.  The practice has been common throughout the classical world.  Knowing the material best, and being able to instruct the orchestra to their exact ideas is the best reason for this practice.  And who wouldn't love to see "Composed and conducted by...." on their albums?  

This list features a handful of composers who have conducted their own scores for the scoring sessions.  (By no means complete.) Many of these composers have conducted most-to-all of their scores.  Also included are pictures of the composers wielding their batons.  

Top row (l to r): Malcolm Arnold, Miklos Rozsa, Carter Burwell, John Barry, Georges Delerue, Bruce Broughton
2nd row: Randy Newman, Max Steiner, Ennio Morricone, Howard Shore, Alfred Newman, Christopher Lennertz
3rd row: Henry Mancini, Randy Edelman, Alex North, Maurice Jarre, Brian Tyler, James Horner
4th row: Bernard Herrmann, Alan Silvestri, David Newman, Cliff Eidelman, Dimitri Tiomkin, Lalo Schifrin
5th row: Michael Kamen, John Williams, Basil Poledouris, Elmer Bernstein, Alexandre Desplat, Jerry Goldsmith

Not every composer conducts.  Distinguished composers like Hans Zimmer, Michael Giacchino, Danny Elfman and James Newton Howard prefer to stay in the booth and make adjustments from there.   

That still leaves us with more conductors....TO BE CONTINUED


  1. I have a question which I have been googling for and can not easily find. I am trying to find out a list of conductors/musical directors for all of the Academy Awards shows. Do you know if there is such a list?

    1. Here's an article all about the musical directors of the Oscars!