Born on October 18, 1946, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; married Elizabeth Ann Cotnoir, August 3, 1990; children: Mae. Education: Attended Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA. Addresses: Office--Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency, 13245 Riverside Dr., Ste. 450, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423-2172. Website--Howard Shore Official Website: http://www.howardshore.com.
As the creator of scores for more than 50 films, Canadian composer and conductor Howard Shore has led several different musical lives. From the horn player in a sixties rock opera band, to leader of the Saturday Night Live band, to providing the epic musical backdrop to adventures in Middle Earth, Howard Shore has done more than most musicians dream of accomplishing. His award-winning success with the scores for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy echoes what John Williams experienced with his Star Wars scores. Here was a longstanding, well respected film composer who, with the help of a young visionary director, had his themes stamped into the minds of all who watched the films. It would be a challenge to find anyone walking out of a Lord of the Rings film who could not hum Shore's heroic theme for the trilogy. This achievement was the culmination of more than 20 years of film composing and of a life surrounded by music.
Shore studied in Boston at the Berklee School of Music for several years, but it was an encounter he had when he was 14 years old that set him on the path he would follow in his career. At summer camp, Shore and his fellow campers performed sketch comedies and musical acts every Saturday night. One of his fellow campers was none other than future Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. After Michaels became employed by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), Shore was also hired on as a songwriter and composer. Soon after this, Shore joined the Toronto jazz and rock group Lighthouse. The group's epic rock opera sound allowed Shore to work with orchestras and learn the basics of conducting. Lighthouse released eight albums before finally disbanding in 1976.
As Howard Shore searched for his next musical venture, he once again found himself working with his fellow ex-camper Lorne Michaels. Michaels was now starting up what would become the legendary NBC-TV sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Shore became musical director for the show's first five seasons from 1975-80, which launched the careers of comedians like John Belushi, Bill Murray and Chevy Chase. Shore also composed the show's memorable, and still used, theme music. Shore had no idea the show would become as popular as it did. According to Shore in an interview with Index, NBC told him at the outset, "You'll be on at 11:30 p.m. Nobody is going to watch your show, so whatever you do is fine."
Toward the end of his time with Saturday Night Live, Shore was approached by another old friend, fellow Canadian and film director David Cronenberg. Cronenberg was directing the 1979 horror film The Brood, and had remembered Shore's work with CBC. Shore had never composed music for a film before. "I had studied music for years," said Shore in Index, "and I was only using a very small percentage of my ability on television and radio shows. I had grand dreams of what could be done musically. I guess I was an artist who hadn't really come out yet." Just as Shore had never scored a film before, Cronenberg had never directed a film before. The two became close friends, and a film and music partnership was soon born.
Shore's work for The Brood was met with critical acclaim, and the score led to more outstanding film work. For his film work, Shore mixed musical styles from different eras and parts of the world, and used electronic instruments and sampled sounds. Scores for films as diverse as Seven, High Fidelity, Silence of the Lambs, Ed Wood, and Dogma soon followed. Yet, it wasn't until filmmaker Peter Jackson sought out Shore's talents for the film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings fantasy novels that Shore's name became instantly connected with the world of film music. Shore researched the project for months, realizing the enormity of his undertaking--the three films, when shown together, would run for more than twelve hours. Shore handled the daunting task with grace, saying in Index, "Music is just one bar at a time. There are ten bars on a page, and then it's another page. It's a huge task, but you can go at it as efficiently as you can with each bar that you're writing, because you know you are creating a rather large work."
Shore's score for the trilogy's first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, was four hours long by itself. Just as Tolkien and Jackson had created new worlds in their work, so did Shore with the films' scores. From the Celtic-inspired sounds of the Hobbits' homeland to the military march sounds depicting the castle of an evil wizard, Shore's music set the mood perfectly for a fantasy epic. "It was a daunting task," said Shore, in an interview on the CTV website. "This is one of the most loved books, printed in 40 languages. We wanted to make a movie for all of us who love Tolkien. We were fans."
After the completion of the trilogy, Shore had the honor of winning numerous awards for his scores, including an Academy Award for his work on The Fellowship of the Ring and two Oscar Awards for The Return of the King. In early 2004 Shore returned home to Canada, where he conducted the Montreal Symphony performing his Lord of the Rings score. Shore has shown no signs of stopping his climb to the top. He is composing scores for highly anticipated works like director Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biography film The Aviator, and Peter Jackson's remake of the original monster film King Kong in 2005. For Shore, it's rather simple. In the CTV website interview he said, "The cinematography, the way the actors move, the way they say their lines, the writing, the editing--all of that tells me immediately what the music needs to be. The movies I choose not to do are the ones that I watch but don't have any feeling for. That does happen. But the good ones are the ones I watch, and when the movie's over I've already got the whole thing. I know exactly what it's going to sound like. The movie just tells it to me."
by Jason Gibner
Howard Shore's Career
Released six albums as saxophonist with the group Lighthouse, 1969-72; musical director for Saturday Night Live, 1975-80; began film composing work through a partnership with director David Cronenberg; composed scores for popular The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, 2001-03.
Howard Shore's Awards
Genie Award, Best Achievement in Music: Original Music Score for Dead Ringers, 1988; Saturn Award, Best Music for Ed Wood, 1994; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, Best Score for Ed Wood, 1994; Grammy Award, Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2001; Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2001; Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, Best Composer for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2002; Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Best Original Score for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2002; Flanders International Film Festival, Georges Delerue Prize for Spider, 2002; Grammy Award, Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002; World Soundtrack Awards, Best Original Soundtrack for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2002; Golden Globe Awards, Best Original Score for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Best Original Song for "Into the West" from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, 2003; Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Best Original Score for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, 2003; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, Best Score for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2002; Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, Best Composer for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, 2003; Oscar Awards, Best Music (Score) for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Best Music (Song) for "Into the West" from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, 2003.
- Selected discography
- With Lighthouse
- Lighthouse RCA, 1969.
- Peacing It All Together RCA, 1970.
- Suite Feeling RCA, 1970.
- One Fine Morning Evolution, 1971.
- Thoughts of Movin' On Evolution, 1972.
- Lighthouse Live! Evolution, 1972.
- Sunny Days Edsel, 1972.
- One Fine Light RCA, 1972.
- Can You Feel It Polydor, 1974.
- Good Day Polydor, 1974.
- Sunny Days Again: The Best of Lighthouse MCA, 1999.
- As composer
- I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses Astral, 1978.
- The Brood New World Pictures, 1979.
- Scanners Avco Embassy, 1981.
- Silkwood Rank, 1983.
- Videodrome Universal, 1983.
- Places in the Heart Tri-Star, 1984.
- Nothing Lasts Forever MGM, 1984.
- After Hours Geffen-Warner Brothers, 1985.
- Fire with Fire Paramount, 1986.
- The Fly Twentieth Century-Fox, 1986.
- Nadine Tri-Star, 1987.
- Heaven Island Pictures, 1987
- Big Twentieth Century-Fox, 1988.
- Dead Ringers Twentieth Century-Fox, 1988.
- Moving Warner Brothers, 1988.
- Signs of Life Avenue Entertainment, 1989.
- She-Devil Orion, 1990.
- An Innocent Man Buena Vista, 1990.
- Made in Milan 1990.
- The Lemon Sisters 1990.
- Quick Change Warner Brothers, 1991.
- Postcards from the Edge Columbia, 1991.
- Naked Lunch Twentieth Century-Fox, 1991.
- The Silence of the Lambs Orion, 1991.
- A Kiss before Dying Universal, 1991.
- Single White Female Columbia, 1992.
- Prelude to a Kiss Twentieth Century-Fox, 1992.
- Sliver Paramount, 1993.
- Guilty As Sin Buena Vista, 1993.
- M. Butterfly Warner Bros., 1993.
- Mrs. Doubtfire Twentieth Century-Fox, 1993.
- Philadelphia TriStar, 1993.
- Ed Wood Buena Vista, 1994.
- Nobody's Fool Sogepaq Distribution, 1994.
- The Client Warner Bros., 1994.
- Seven New Line Cinema, 1995.
- Moonlight and Valentino Gramercy, 1995.
- White Man's Burden Twentieth Century-Fox, 1995.
- Before and After Buena Vista, 1996.
- The Truth about Cats and Dogs Twentieth Century-Fox, 1996.
- Crash Fine Line, 1996.
- Striptease Columbia, 1996.
- Looking for Richard Twentieth Century-Fox, 1996.
- That Thing You Do! Twentieth Century-Fox, 1996.
- Cop Land Miramax, 1997.
- The Game Panorama, 1997.
- Gloria Columbia, 1999.
- eXistenZ Dimension Films, 1999.
- Analyze This Warner Bros., 1999.
- Dogma Lions Gate, 1999.
- High Fidelity Buena Vista, 2000.
- The Yards Miramax, 2000.
- Esther Kahn Bac Films, 2000.
- The Cell New Line Cinema, 2000.
- Camera 2000.
- The Score Paramount, 2001.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring New Line Cinema, 2001.
- The Colored Star Warner Bros., 2001.
- Spider 2002.
- Panic Room Tri-Star, 2002.
- Gangs of New York Buena Vista, 2002.
- Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers New Line, 2002.
- Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King New Line, 2003.
- Entertainment Weekly, April 5, 2002; January 10, 2003.
- Index, January/February 2001.
- "Howard Shore," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (February 26, 2004).
- "Howard Shore," Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com (February 26, 2004).
- Howard Shore Official Website, http://www.howardshore.com (February 26, 2004).
- "Lighthouse," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (February 25, 2004).
- "Toronto-born composer wins two Golden Globes," CTV, http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1075125160980_18// (February 26, 2004).