Elliot Goldenthal (born May 2, 1954) is an American composer of contemporary classical music and film and theatrical scores. A student of Aaron Copland and John Corigliano, he is best known for his distinctive style and ability to blend various musical styles and techniques in original and inventive ways. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2002 for his score to the motion picture Frida, directed by his longtime partner Julie Taymor.
Goldenthal in 2014
|Born||May 2, 1954|
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Contemporary classical, theatre music, film score, avant-garde|
|Associated acts||Julie Taymor|
Early life and education
Goldenthal was born on May 2, 1954, the youngest son of a Jewish housepainter father and a Catholic seamstress mother in Brooklyn, New York City, where he was influenced from an early age by music from all cultures and genres. Both pairs of Goldenthal's grandparents emigrated to the United States from Bucharest and Iași, Romania. Goldenthal lived in a multi-cultural part of town, and this is reflected in his works. He attended John Dewey High School in Brooklyn where, at the age of 14, he had his very first ballet Variations on Early Glimpses performed; he continued to display his eclectic musical range, performing with rock bands in the seventies.
He then studied music full-time at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with composer John Corigliano (whom he greatly admired), to earn his Bachelor of Music degree (1977) and Master of Music degree (1979) in musical composition.
Goldenthal has written works for concert hall, theater, dance and film. His work includes music for films such as Pet Sematary, Alien 3, Michael Collins, Batman Forever, Heat and the Academy Award-winning score for Julie Taymor's Frida, a movie in which Goldenthal had a small acting part as a "Newsreel Reporter". Incidentally he also had a small part in the stage show Juan Darièn as a "Circus Barker / Streetsinger".
The Tony Award-winning Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass (1988/'96) and The Green Bird (1999), based on a story by Carlo Gozzi, are a two of the composer's theatre works. In 2006, Goldenthal completed his original three-act opera with Taymor entitled Grendel an adaptation of the John Gardner novel of the same name which told the story of Beowulf from the monster Grendel's point of view. It had its world premiere in early June 2006 at the Los Angeles Opera, the role of Grendel performed by Eric Owens, with an audience that included John Williams and Emmy Rossum; the opus was added to the Los Angeles Opera's permanent repertoire and earned Goldenthal a nomination in April 2007 for the Pulitzer Prize for Music. In 2008 Goldenthal reunited with Michael Mann to score 1930s gangster movie Public Enemies and in 2009 he scored another Julie Taymor Shakespeare adaptation, The Tempest. He cites Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu as an influence and someone he styles his own career on; Goldenthal has said that the lines between traditional concert music and orchestral film score have become more blurred which is the way he thinks it should be. He has also collaborated four times with Irish director Neil Jordan, including on his films Interview with the Vampire and In Dreams.
He lives in New York City "happily unmarried", as he once put it, with his partner Julie Taymor, whom he met in 1980 through a mutual acquaintance, who told him, "I know a person whose work is just as grotesque as yours"; they have an office/apartment where they both live and work.
Elliot Goldenthal has been called the "thinking man's composer" by film-music collectors and a generally more cerebral choice for film makers and lovers of film music. He is known for his experimentation, nuances and willingness to try unconventional techniques. He has scored films in almost every genre from horror to action to Shakespeare adaptations. He has not yet scored comedy, but he has composed comedic motifs for several films such as Demolition Man and the Batman series. His eclectic output has gained him a great deal of respect in the music and film communities and with fans. He is widely appreciated for his musical abilities and distinctive style, although some find his work to be too experimental or inaccessible. His action music is brutal and atonal. Sometimes, in underscore, he uses very fast French horn passages with bending tones and whining. Goldenthal has said that he doesn't "hear" atonal and tonal, rather, "I either hear melody or I hear sonority".
Every project we do requires a different approach, but one thing that's always consistent is the framework that Rick provides. In essence, he's giving me all these new instruments to work with. He keeps coming up with surprising combinations of sounds.
Goldenthal often works with a team he assembled after the soundtrack for Drugstore Cowboy: Teese Gohl as supervising producer, Robert Elhai as orchestrator, Joel Iwataki and Steve McLaughlin as sound engineers and Richard Martinez as electronic music producer. According to Martinez, "a lot of composers want to focus on writing their music, and that's what [his] team allows Elliot to do." At the website filmscoremonthly.com, a former classmate of Goldenthal's commented on an article on the Sphere score from 1998 which stated that when he and Elliot were both studying at the Manhattan School of Music in the '70s, Elliot was already experimenting with unusual techniques. Once, when studying trumpet, Elliot had asked him to "buzz into the wrong end of the mouthpiece and sing into it as well". He thought he was crazy but, looking back after a decade or so of Goldenthal's film and concert music, he "was just way ahead of the rest of us," he said.
List of works
|1989||Criminal Justice||Andy Wolk||Home Box Office||Television film|
|1991||Grand Isle||Mary Lambert||Turner Network Television|
|1992||Behind the Scenes||Ellen Hovde
|Public Broadcasting Service||10-episode miniseries.|
|Fool's Fire||Julie Taymor||Television film|
|1996||The West||Stephen Ives||Public Broadcasting Service||Episode: "The Geography of Hope"|
|2000||Por un beso||Alfredo Gurrola||Televisa||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2003||Great Performances: Dance in America||Julie Taymor||Public Broadcasting Service||Episode: "Lar Lubovitch's 'Othello'"|
Concert music works
|1974||Three Pieces for Piano|
|1979||Sonata for Double Bass and Piano||Recorded by Tim Cobb & Stephen Gosling|
|Los Heraldos Negros – a song cycle for singer and percussion||Un-premiered|
|Brass Quintet No. 1|
|Jabberwocky for Woodwind Quartet||Set to the poem by Lewis Carroll
Also arranged for two bassoons and winds
|1980||Brass Quintet No. 2||Recorded by the Extension ensemble|
|1988||Pastime Variations – A Memorial for Ebbets Field|
|1990||Shadow Play Scherzo for Orchestra|
|1996||Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio||Recorded by Pacific Symphony Orchestra, featuring Yo Yo Ma|
|2013||String Quartet No. 1 "The Stone Cutters"||Premiered by the FLUX Quartet in 2015|
|Adagietto Doloroso for orchestra||Premiered at the Ghent Film Music Festival conducted by Dirk Brossé|
|2014||Symphony in G# Minor|
|Grand Gothic Suite|
|2015||Lyric Suite: The Floods of Avon for String Orchestra and Piano|
|2017||Waltz & Agitato "Pravda" for Orchestra|
|For Trumpet & Strings (First Movement of "Trumpet Concerto")||Conducted by Dirk Brossé with trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth|
|2018||Trumpet Concerto||Conducted by Dirk Brossé with trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth|
|2019||OCTOBER LIGHT: Adagio for Orchestra||Premiered with Pacific Symphony under Carl. St. Clair December 2019|
|1984||The King Stag||Play|
|1985||Liberty's Taken||Musical||Composed with David Suehsdorf and Julie Taymor|
|1986||The Transposed Heads||Adapted by Sidney Goldfarb and Julie Taymor|
|1988||The Serpent Woman||Play|
|Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass||Musical||Reworked and recorded in 1996|
|1997||Othello||Ballet||Choreography by Lar Lubovitch|
|1999||The Green Bird||Musical|
|2006||Grendel||Opera||Libretto by Julie Taymor & J. D. McClatchy|
|2013||A Midsummer Night's Dream||Play||Production at the Polansky Theater|
|2015||Grounded||Premiered at The Public Theater|
Awards and nominations
- (2007) Pulitzer Prize for Music in Music Nomination for his acclaimed "Grendel" opera
- (2004) Emmy Awards Nomination, "Great Performances: Dance in America" – Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Dramatic Underscore)
- (2004) ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Win, "S.W.A.T." – Top Box Office Film Score
- (2003) World Soundtrack Awards 2003 Win, "Frida" – Best Original Soundtrack of the Year
- (2003) World Soundtrack Awards 2003 Win, "Frida" – Soundtrack Composer of the Year
- (2003) World Soundtrack Awards 2003 Nomination', "Burn It Blue" from "Frida" – Best Original Song Written for a Film
- (2002) Academy Awards Win, "Frida" – Best Original Score
- (2002) Academy Awards Nomination, "Frida", "Burn It Blue" – Best Original Song
- (2002) Golden Globes Win, "Frida" – Best Original Score
- (2002) World Soundtrack Awards 2002 Nomination, "The Dream Within" from "Final Fantasy: The Sprits Within" – Best Original Song Written for a Film
- (1999) Chicago Film Critics Association awards Nomination, "The Butcher Boy" – Best Original Score
- (1998) ASCAP awards Win, "Batman & Robin" – Top Box Office Film Score
- (1998) Chicago Film Critics Awards Nomination, "The Butcher Boy" – Best Original Score
- (1998) Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 1998 Win, "The Butcher Boy" – Best Original Score
- (1997) Tony Awards Nomination, "Juan Darien: A Carnival Mass" (Broadway Production) – Best Original Musical Score
- (1997) ASCAP awards Win, "A Time to Kill" – Top Box Office Film Score
- (1997) Grammy Nomination, "Defile and Lament" from "A Time to Kill"
- (1996) Academy Awards Nomination, "Michael Collins" – Best Original Score
- (1996) Golden Globe Nomination, "Michael Collins" – Best Original Score
- (1996) ASCAP awards Win, "Batman Forever" – Top Box Office Film Score
- (1995) Grammy Nomination, "Batman Forever" – Best Instrumental Composition
- (1995) ASCAP awards Win, "Interview with the Vampire" – Top Box Office Film Score
- (1995) Golden Globe Nomination, "Interview with the Vampire" – Best Original Score
- (1994) Academy Awards Nomination, "Interview with the Vampire" – Best Original Score
- (1994) ASCAP awards Win, "Demolition Man" – Top Box Office Film Score
- (1990) Edinburgh Festival Critics Choice Award Win, "Juan Darien: A Carnival Mass" – Best Music
- (1990) American Academy of Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award Win, "Juan Darien: A Carnival Mass" – Best Music
- (1988) Obie Award Win, "Juan Darien: A Carnival Mass" (Original Production) – Best Music
Among others including the Arturo Toscanini Award, the New Music for Young Ensembles composition prize, the Stephen Sondheim Award in Music Theater and a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship.
- "Interviu în exclusivitate cu Elliot Goldenthal" (in Romanian). TVR.ro. 2011-10-08. Archived from the original on October 19, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- Elliot Goldenthal – Family and Companions – Yahoo! Singapore Movies Archived September 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- "Elliot Goldenthal". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
- Dan Goldwasser "The Sweet Revenge of Elliot Goldenthal". SoundtrackNet Interview (January 21, 2000).
- Macdonald, Lawrence E. (2013-05-02). The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History. Scarecrow Press. p. 395. ISBN 978-0-8108-8398-7.
- Elliot Goldenthal Concert & Stage: Juan Darien – A Carnival Mass (1996) Archived July 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- 2007 Pulitzer Prize Winners – PRIZE IN MUSIC, Citation
- Page Title Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "Upcoming Film Scores: Elliot Goldenthal: Public Enemies". Archived from the original on May 28, 2008.
- "Elliot Goldenthal" (March 2003) Sound on Sound Archived March 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- Filmtracks: Elliot Goldenthal
- "Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal: United in Their Love of the Outsider," by Don Shewey
- "Goldenthal: Demolition Man". Movie-wave.net. 2006. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
- "Demolition Man (Elliot Goldenthal)". Filmtracks. 1993-11-23. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- "Elliot Goldenthal". Filmtracks. June 17, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- "Elliot Goldenthal". Soundonsound.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- "In Dreams (Elliot Goldenthal)". Filmtracks. 1999-10-12. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- "Batman Forever". Moviemusicuk.us. Archived from the original on January 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Elliot Goldenthal)". Filmtracks. 2001-07-03. Archived from the original on 2014-07-10. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- Thomas Staudter (March 23, 2003). "...and the Music for 'Frida,' Produced in a Scarsdale Basement". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
Bigger film projects then were offered to Mr. Goldenthal, and to meet the demands he assembled a four-person team that included Teese Gohl as supervising producer, Robert Ehlai as orchestrator, Joel Iwataki as sound engineer and Mr." Martinez, who is known as Rick, as electronic music producer.
- "3/3/98: Sphere of Influence (Goldenthal)". Filmscoremonthly.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- Michael Collins – The Filmmakers Archived December 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Elliot Goldenthal.|
- Official website
- Elliot Goldenthal at IMDb
- Elliot Goldenthal at the Internet Broadway Database
- Elliot Goldenthal at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Elliot Goldenthal at Rate Your Music
- Elliot Goldenthal discography at Discogs
- Elliot Goldenthal at Allmusic
- "A Website for the Composer"
- Elliot Goldenthal at Moviemusicuk.us
- An Interview with both Taymor and Goldenthal by the New York Times
- An indepth interview from 2003