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John Powell
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Powell at the premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story in May 11, 2018
Background information
Born 18 September 1963 (age 54)
London, England, United Kingdom
Origin East Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Genres Film scores
Occupation(s) Composer, conductor, producer
Instruments Piano, percussion
Years active 1990–present
John Powell (born 18 September 1963) is an English composer, best known for his scores to motion pictures. He has been based in Los Angeles since 1997 and has composed the scores to over fifty feature films. He is particularly known for his scores for animated films, including Antz, Chicken Run, Shrek (all three co-composed with Harry Gregson-Williams), Robots, Happy Feet (and its sequel), three Ice Age sequels, Rio, How to Train Your Dragon, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, and its 2014 sequel.

He has also scored many live-action films, of which his collaborations with directors Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass are perhaps the best known. These include the first three and the fifth Bourne films, United 93, and Green Zone.

Powell was a member of Hans Zimmer's music studio, Remote Control Productions, and has collaborated frequently with other composers from the studio, including Harry Gregson-Williams and Zimmer himself.

Early life and educationEdit

Powell was born in London, United Kingdom. He originally trained as a violinist as a child, before studying at London's Trinity College of Music. He later ventured into jazz and rock music, playing in a soul band called the Faboulistics. On leaving college, he composed music for commercials, which led to a job as an assistant to the composer Patrick Doyle on several film productions, including Much Ado About Nothing.

Since the age of 6, Powell has been an atheist.

CareerEdit

In 1995, Powell co-founded the London-based commercial music house Independently Thinking Music, which produced scores for more than 100 British and French commercials and independent films.

Powell's first film score was for the 1990 film Stay Lucky. He moved to Los Angeles in 1997, and scored his first major film, Face/Off. This was followed by Antz in 1998, the first film produced by DreamWorks Animation which he co-scored with fellow British composer Harry Gregson-Williams. Two years later the two collaborated again to compose the score to Chicken Run, and again the following year on Shrek, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. All subsequent Shrek films however, have been scored solely by Gregson-Williams. During 2001 he also scored Evolution, I Am Sam, Just Visiting, and Rat Race.

In 2002 Powell was hired to score The Bourne Identity, after Carter Burwell left the project, and has gone on to score all of director Doug Liman's subsequent films. He also returned to score the other two films in the series, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, which were both directed by British director Paul Greengrass.

Following the Bourne films, Powell collaborated with Liman again to score the 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith. That year, he also scored Robots, going on to score all but one of subsequent films by Blue Sky Studios.

In 2006, he scored Greengrass' United 93. He also composed music for Ice Age: The Meltdown, following David Newman, who scored the first Ice Age film, as well as X-Men: The Last Stand, and Happy Feet, for which he won a Film & TV Music Award for Best Score for an Animated Feature Film. The following year he scored The Bourne Ultimatum. In 2008 he collaborated with composer Hans Zimmer to score Kung Fu Panda, and also wrote music that year for Jumper, Hancock, and Bolt. In 2009 he scored the third film of Ice Age series; Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

In 2010, Powell composed the score to How to Train Your Dragon. This was his sixth score for a DreamWorks Animation film, although the first where he composed the whole score himself. It also became his first work to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score. That year, he has also scored Greengrass's Green Zone, and Knight and Day.

In 2013, he took a sabbatical year from film scoring and in April 2014, following the completion of his scores to sequels Rio 2 and How to Train Your Dragon 2, he announced his decision to take another break to compose concert music, including a 45-minute oratorio to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of World War I. The piece, named "A Prussian Requiem", premiered on 6 March 2016 at The Royal Festival Hall, London with Jose Serebrier conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra and a libretto by Michael Petry.

DiscographyEdit

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Notes
1989–1993 Stay Lucky
1996–1997 High Incident

FilmEdit

1990sEdit

Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
1997 Face/Off John Woo Paramount Pictures (North America)
Touchstone Pictures (International)
1998 With Friends Like These... Philip Frank Messina Miramax Films
Antz Eric Darnell
Tim Johnson
Pacific Data Images
DreamWorks Animation
DreamWorks Pictures
Co-composed with Harry Gregson-Williams
1999 Endurance Leslie Woodhead
Bud Greenspan
Walt Disney Pictures
Forces of Nature Bronwen Hughes DreamWorks Pictures
Chill Factor Hugh Johnson Morgan Creek Productions
Warner Bros. Pictures
Co-composed with Hans Zimmer

2000sEdit

Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
2000 The Road to El Dorado Don Paul
Bibo Bergeron
DreamWorks Pictures
DreamWorks Animation
Co-composed with Hans Zimmer
Chicken Run Peter Lord
Nick Park
Aardman
DreamWorks Pictures (US)
Pathé (UK/Europe)
Co-composed with Harry Gregson-Williams
2001 Just Visiting Jean-Marie Poiré Gaumont
Hollywood Pictures
Shrek Andrew Adamson
Vicky Jenson
DreamWorks Pictures
DreamWorks Animation
Songs, Co-composed with Harry Gregson-Williams
Evolution Ivan Reitman The Montecito Picture Company
DreamWorks Pictures (US)
Columbia Pictures (International)
Rat Race Jerry Zucker Fireworks Entertainment
Paramount Pictures (US)
Pathé (UK)
I Am Sam Jessie Nelson Bedford Falls Productions
New Line Cinema
Additional music by Heitor Pereira
2002 D-Tox Jim Gillespie DEJ Productions (US)
United International Pictures (UK)
The Bourne Identity Doug Liman The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Universal Pictures
Drumline Charles Stone III 20th Century Fox
The Adventures of Pluto Nash Ron Underwood Castle Rock Entertainment
Village Roadshow Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures
Two Weeks Notice Marc Lawrence Castle Rock Entertainment
Village Roadshow Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures
2003 Stealing Sinatra Ron Underwood Showtime Networks Television film
Agent Cody Banks Harald Zwart Maverick Films
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
The Italian Job F. Gary Gray Paramount Pictures
Gigli Martin Brest Casey Silver
Revolution Studios
Columbia Pictures
Paycheck John Woo Davis Entertainment
Paramount Pictures (US)
DreamWorks Pictures (International)
2004 The Bourne Supremacy Paul Greengrass The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Universal Pictures
Mr. 3000 Charles Stone III The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Spyglass Entertainment
Dimension Films
Touchstone Pictures
Alfie Charles Shyer Paramount Pictures
2005 Be Cool F. Gary Gray Jersey Films
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Robots Chris Wedge 20th Century Fox
Blue Sky Studios
Mr. & Mrs. Smith Doug Liman Weed Road Pictures
Regency Enterprises
Summit Entertainment
20th Century Fox
2006 Ice Age: The Meltdown Carlos Saldanha 20th Century Fox
Blue Sky Studios
United 93 Paul Greengrass Sidney Kimmel Entertainment
Working Title Films
Studiocanal
Universal Pictures
X-Men: The Last Stand Brett Ratner Marvel Entertainment
20th Century Fox
Happy Feet George Miller Animal Logic
Kennedy Miller
Village Roadshow Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures
Co-composed with Gia Farrell
2007 The Bourne Ultimatum Paul Greengrass The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Universal Pictures
PS, I Love You Richard LaGravenese Alcon Entertainment
Warner Bros. Pictures (US)
Momentum Pictures (UK)
2008 Jumper Doug Liman Regency Enterprises
20th Century Fox
Horton Hears a Who! Jimmy Hayward
Steve Martino
20th Century Fox
Blue Sky Studios
Additional music by James McKee Smith, Josh Ashton Thomas, and Paul Mounsey.
Stop-Loss Kimberly Peirce MTV Films
Paramount Pictures
Kung Fu Panda John Stevenson
Mark Osborne
Paramount Pictures
DreamWorks Animation
Co-composed with Hans Zimmer
Hancock Peter Berg Overbrook Entertainment
Relativity Media
Columbia Pictures
Bolt Chris Williams
Byron Howard
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Animation Studios
2009 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Carlos Saldanha 20th Century Fox
Blue Sky Studios

2010sEdit

Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
2010 Green Zone Paul Greengrass Working Title Films
Universal Pictures
How to Train Your Dragon Chris Sanders
Dean DeBlois
Paramount Pictures
DreamWorks Animation
nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
Fair Game Doug Liman River Road Entertainment
Summit Entertainment
Knight and Day James Mangold Media Rights Capital
Dune Entertainment
Regency Enterprises
20th Century Fox
2011 Mars Needs Moms Simon Wells Walt Disney Pictures
ImageMovers Digital
Rio Carlos Saldanha 20th Century Fox
Blue Sky Studios
Kung Fu Panda 2 Jennifer Yuh Nelson Paramount Pictures
DreamWorks Animation
Co-composed with Hans Zimmer
Happy Feet Two George Miller Village Roadshow Pictures
Kennedy Miller Mitchell
Warner Bros. Pictures
2012 Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Chris Renaud Universal Pictures
Illumination Entertainment
Ice Age: Continental Drift Steve Martino
Mike Thurmeier
20th Century Fox
Blue Sky Studios
2014 Rio 2 Carlos Saldanha 20th Century Fox
Blue Sky Studios
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Dean DeBlois 20th Century Fox
DreamWorks Animation
2015 Pan Joe Wright RatPac-Dune Entertainment
Warner Bros. Pictures
2016 Jason Bourne Paul Greengrass Perfect World Pictures
Captivate Entertainment
Pearl Street Films
The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Universal Pictures
Co-composed with David Buckley
2017 Ferdinand Carlos Saldanha 20th Century Fox
Blue Sky Studios
2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story Ron Howard Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Original score, with adaptation of "Han Solo Theme" and original Star Wars music by John Williams
2019 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Dean DeBlois Universal Pictures
DreamWorks Animation

Studio Albums Edit

 
Year Title Notes Label
2018 Hubris: Choral Works by John Powell Classical Music, Concert Music 5 Cat Studios

Awards and nominationsEdit

AwardsEdit

NominationsEdit

External linksEdit