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John Powell

18 Sep 1963 (Age 55)

John Powell Biography

John Powell is a British composer, best known for his scores to motion pictures. He has been based in the United States since 1997 and has composed the scores to over fifty feature films.

Life And Career

Powell 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 the Fabulistics. 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.

In 1995, he 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 the U.S. in 1997, and scored his first major film, 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 solely scored 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. and Mrs. Smith. That year, he also scored Robots.

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, and to date, most popular installment in the '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 also scored Greengrass' Green Zone, and Knight and Day.
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