skip navigation
Michael Nyman

Michael Nyman

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Michael Nyman - NOT AVAILABLE

Find what your looking for faster use the search field below to shop for titles.

SEARCH TCM.COM/SHOP


OR ... Click here to VOTE > for this person to be released on Home Video



Also Known As: Michael Lawrence Nyman Died:
Born: March 23, 1944 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: composer, conductor, musician, director, music critic, writer, music lecturer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A prolific composer, Michael Nyman has created unique soundtracks for such features as "The Draughtsman's Contract" (1982), "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" (1991) and Jane Campion's "The Piano" (1993). The London-born Nyman studied at the Royal Academy of Music and King's College in the early 1960s. He worked variously as a music critic, lecturer, writer and performer, gradually receiving small composing commissions. In 1977, he formed his own permanent performing ensemble, The Michael Nyman Band. He has composed for a wide range of international media and artists. As a film composer, Nyman has worked extensively with director Peter Greenaway, beginning with their first collaboration on the experimental short "A Walk Through H" (1973). Subsequent collaborations followed on documentaries ("The Falls" 1980, "Modern American Composers I" 1984), experimental films ("Verical Feaures Remake" 1978, "A Zed and Two Noughts" 1985, "Death in the Seine" 1989), and features ("The Draughtman's Contract", "Drowning By Numbers" 1988, "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" and "Prospero's Books" 1989). Nyman has stated that he enjoyed the almost unprecedented freedom allowed him by Greenaway. He...

A prolific composer, Michael Nyman has created unique soundtracks for such features as "The Draughtsman's Contract" (1982), "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" (1991) and Jane Campion's "The Piano" (1993). The London-born Nyman studied at the Royal Academy of Music and King's College in the early 1960s. He worked variously as a music critic, lecturer, writer and performer, gradually receiving small composing commissions. In 1977, he formed his own permanent performing ensemble, The Michael Nyman Band. He has composed for a wide range of international media and artists.

As a film composer, Nyman has worked extensively with director Peter Greenaway, beginning with their first collaboration on the experimental short "A Walk Through H" (1973). Subsequent collaborations followed on documentaries ("The Falls" 1980, "Modern American Composers I" 1984), experimental films ("Verical Feaures Remake" 1978, "A Zed and Two Noughts" 1985, "Death in the Seine" 1989), and features ("The Draughtman's Contract", "Drowning By Numbers" 1988, "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" and "Prospero's Books" 1989). Nyman has stated that he enjoyed the almost unprecedented freedom allowed him by Greenaway. He composed long sequences of music to which the director would edit the film. For "The Draughtsman's Contract", Nyman adapted and transposed baroque compositions by Henry Purcell, creating an abrasive, modern, minimalist score. He reportedly was angry about the use of his compositions in "Prospero's Books" and severed his ties with Greenaway. ("The relationship is quiescent," Nyman told Rob Ryan in GQ magazine.)

Besides doing the occasional soundtrack for a TV-movie ("The Cold Room", HBO 1984), he collaborated with Sting on the music for Richard Loncraine's "Brimstone and Treacle" (1982), and composed the score for the operatic adaptation of Oliver Sacks' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", which director Christopher Rawlence filmed in 1988. Nyman wrote soundtracks for French director Patrice Leconte's thriller "Monsieur Hire" (1989) and his romance "The Hairdresser's Husband" (1990).

Director Jane Campion commissioned Nyman to write the score for "The Piano" (1993), which the composer found challenging. Not only did he need to provide thematic cues for the audience, he also had to provide a voice for the mute leading character Ada (Holly Hunter) who "speaks" when she plays her piano. Nyman used popular Scottish songs as the basis for his compositions which were tailored to Hunter's performing abilities and to the repertoire of the 19th Century. Because the actress played the work in a softer style than Nyman's, he has claimed that Hunter "discovered all the life and passion beneath the surface of the music." Although the film's music was integral to its success, its score was overlooked for Oscar consideration.

Nyman has also provided the haunting score for Diane Kurys' dark drama about twisted sybling rivalry, "Six Days, Six Nights", and the biopic "Mesmer" (both 1994). Christopher Hampton chose him to create the soundtrack for "Carrington" (1995), which was adapted from themes form Nyman's String Quartet No. 3. (In fact, Hampton had used this and other Nyman compositions on a rough cut of the film.) Although he does not consider himself to be primarily a film composer, Nyman has continued to work in that medium. He has scored Volker Schlondorff's "The Ogre" and provided a forty minute symphony for Jane Campion's "Portrait of a Lady" (both 1996).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Claim, The (2000)
2.
 Monsieur Hire (1989)
3.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in London
:
Editor of baroque music and new music for Universal Edition
1968:
Spent a decade as music critic for The Spectator, New Statesman, The Listener, Tempo, Music and Musicians, and Daily Telegraph
:
During the 1970s performed with The Scratch Orchestra (with Brian Eno) in the Portsmouth Sinfonia, and with Steve Reich and Musicians
1973:
Debut as movie composer and first of numerous collaborations with director Peter Greenaway on an experimental short, "A Walk Through H"
1974:
Wrote book "Experimental Music--Cage and Beyond"
:
Was college lecturer at several London-area colleges
1976:
Wrote music for Bill Bryden's production of Goldini's "Il Campiello" and formed the Campielo Band which later became the Michael Nyman Band
1976:
First score for a feature, "Keep It Downstairs"
1980:
First collaboration on a documentary with Peter Greenaway, "The Falls"
1982:
Collaborated with Sting on the music for Richard Loncraine's film, "Brimstone and Treacle"
1982:
First collaboration on a feature with director Peter Greenaway, "The Draughtsman's Contract"
2001:
Feature directorial debut, an adaptation of his opera "Facing Goya"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Academy of Music: - 1961 - 1965
King's College, University of Cambridge: - 1964 - 1967
Conservatoire and Folklore Institute: - 1965 - 1966

Notes

Not to be confused with the publicist of the same name.

There is a Web site devoted to him at http://www.michaelnyman.org/

"I always say to people, if you want to hear the full score, what I was asked to write, the cues and durations, listen to the sound-track album. That, for me, is the reality." --Nyman quoted in "The Score Keeper" in GQ, October 1995

"I'm interested in contradictions and building up expectations that you shatter and collapse." --Nyman in USA TODAY, November 14, 1995

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Aet Toome. Married on May 16, 1970.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Experimental Music -- Cage and Beyond" Studio Vista/Schirmer Books

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute