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Thomas Newman

Sat 8.3 | It Got Dark


Thomas Newman is acclaimed as one of today’s most prominent composers for film. He has composed music for more than 50 motion pictures and television series and has earned eleven Academy Award nominations and five Grammy Awards. He is the youngest son of Alfred Newman (1900-1970), the longtime musical director of 20th Century Fox and the composer of scores for such films as Wuthering Heights, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Diary of Anne Frank and All About Eve.

Thomas Newman studied composition and orchestration at USC and completed his academic work at Yale University. He also gratefully acknowledges the early influence of the legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, who served as a mentor and champion.

At the age of 27, Newman successfully composed his first film for the 1984 film, Reckless. Since then he has contributed scores to numerous acclaimed films, including Desperately Seeking Susan, The Lost Boys, The Rapture, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Player, Scent of a Woman, Flesh and Bone, The Shawshank Redemption, Little Women, American Buffalo, The People Vs. Larry Flynt, Oscar and Lucinda, The Horse Whisperer, Meet Joe Black, American Beauty, The Green Mile, Erin Brockovich, In The Bedroom, Road to Perdition, Finding Nemo, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Cinderella Man, Jarhead, Little Children, The Good German, Revolutionary Road and Wall-E. Recent projects include The Debt, The Adjustment Bureau, The Help, The Iron Lady, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Skyfall. Newman composed the music for HBO’s Angels in America directed by Mike Nichols; and received an Emmy Award for his theme for the HBO series Six Feet Under.

Newman has also composed several works for the concert stage, including Reach Forth Our Hands, commissioned in 1996 by the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as At Ward’s Ferry, Length 180 ft., a concerto for double bass commissioned in 2001 by the Pittsburgh Symphony. His latest concert piece, It Got Dark, was commissioned as a chamber work by Kronos Quartet in 2009. As part of a separate commission by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the work was expanded and adapted for orchestra and string quartet, and premiered at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2009. With the composer in residence this summer, the Cabrillo Festival will present the work on Saturday, August 3, featuring the Kronos Quartet.

Visit Thomas Newman's page on Nonesuch Records' website

Photo by: Christopher Barr