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Elliot Goldenthal

Elliot Goldenthal

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Also Known As: Elliot B Goldenthal Died:
Born: May 2, 1954 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: composer, arranger

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Composer and conductor Elliot Goldenthal is best known to film audiences for his stirring work on such action and suspense films as "Alien3" (1992), "Interview with the Vampire" (1994) and both "Batman Forever" (1995) and "Batman & Robin" (1997). Theater critics, however, have long acclaimed him as one the best composers of oratorios, concertos, and background music for stage productions. Something of a prodigy, Goldenthal had his first ballet ("Variations on Early Glimpses") performed at his high school when he was only 14. He demonstrated his versatility by playing in rock bands during the 1970s while also studying with John Corigliano in the 1970s and Aaron Copland in the 80s. With his companion, puppeteer and director Julie Taymor, Goldenthal has collaborated on several stage productions, including "The Transposed Heads", "The Green Bird" and the mixed-medium, Uruguayan-inspired "Juan Darien--A Carnival Mass". The original 1988 production earned him an OBIE Award and its 1996 Broadway production earned five Tony Award nominations, including one for Goldenthal's ecclectic score. Additionally, he was commissioned to create a musical piece in honor of Leonard Bernstein's 70th birthday. The...

Composer and conductor Elliot Goldenthal is best known to film audiences for his stirring work on such action and suspense films as "Alien3" (1992), "Interview with the Vampire" (1994) and both "Batman Forever" (1995) and "Batman & Robin" (1997). Theater critics, however, have long acclaimed him as one the best composers of oratorios, concertos, and background music for stage productions. Something of a prodigy, Goldenthal had his first ballet ("Variations on Early Glimpses") performed at his high school when he was only 14. He demonstrated his versatility by playing in rock bands during the 1970s while also studying with John Corigliano in the 1970s and Aaron Copland in the 80s.

With his companion, puppeteer and director Julie Taymor, Goldenthal has collaborated on several stage productions, including "The Transposed Heads", "The Green Bird" and the mixed-medium, Uruguayan-inspired "Juan Darien--A Carnival Mass". The original 1988 production earned him an OBIE Award and its 1996 Broadway production earned five Tony Award nominations, including one for Goldenthal's ecclectic score. Additionally, he was commissioned to create a musical piece in honor of Leonard Bernstein's 70th birthday. The resulting piece, "Shadow Play Scherzo" (1988) won critical kudos. Other works include the dark, subtle oratorio "Fire Water Paper" (1995) written to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war. Utilizing themes from the Catholic liturgy and incorporating Buddhist texts as well as contemporary Vietnamese poetry, the tripartite composition veers from furiously violent to ethereal and calming. The composer was also commissioned by the American Ballet Theater to write a full-length ballet version of "Othello" (1997).

Goldenthal's first brush with the film world came in the late 70s with a brief collaboration with Andy Warhol ("Blank Generation", "Cocaine Cowboys"). He did the music for the suspense film "Pet Sematary" (1989), but Goldenthal considered Gus Van Sant's "Drugstore Cowboy" (also 1989) to be his real debut. Van Sant had used music from "Juan Darien" as a stop-gap and asked Goldenthal to provide the finished score. The eerie, almost subliminal music was acclaimed for its enhancement of the mood established by the director, capturing the drug-induced state of its characters.

Goldenthal has come to specialize in suspense and action films; his music is neither soaring nor intrusive, but integrated with background noises and actions. His atmospheric score for "Alien3" recalled works by Corigliano. Each of his subsequent film scores defy description; each possesses a distinctive, somewhat atonal sound. Goldenthal earned his first Oscar nomination for his moody and gothic work on Neil Jordan's "Interview With the Vampire". A last minute replacement, the composer created a score that utilized aspects of the musical genres from the three centuries the film spanned. Moving easily from the Rococo to the contemporary, using boys choirs, liturgical chants and period instruments, the score set the appropriate tone for the action.

Goldenthal next joined the "Batman" team mid-flight for Joel Schumacher's sequel "Batman Forever" (1995). Lighter and goofier than the previous entry, it demanded a less ominous but still heroic score than the original. He and Schumacher reteamed for the courtroom drama "A Time to Kill" (1996), for which he proffered the subtle but stirring music. Again working with Neil Jordan on "Michael Collins" (1996), the composer incorporated traditional Celtic music yet managed to avoid the pitfalls of cliche with his compositions enhancing the visuals without detracting from them.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Miami Vice (2006)
2.
 Frida (2002) Newsreel reporter
3.
 Copland's America (2001) Interviewee
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Milestones close milestones

1968:
First ballet, "Variations on Early Glimpses," performed at his high school when he was 14 (date approximate)
:
Played in rock band in late 1960s and early 70s; attended Woodstack in 1969
:
First screen collaborations, scoring films for Andy Warhol
1988:
Breakthrough stage collaboration with Julie Taymor, "Juan Darien--A Carnival Mass"
1988:
Composed "Shadow Play Scherzo," in commemoration of Leonard Bernstein's 70th birthday
1989:
First film credit, "Pet Sematary"
1990:
First TV-movie credit, "Criminal Justice" (HBO)
1992:
First music and orchestration credit, "Alien3"
1992:
Composed original score for Poe adaptation "Fool's Fire" (PBS)
1992:
Composed theme music for children's series pilot "Behind the Scenes" (PBS)
1994:
Did music and orchestrations for Neil Jordan's "Interview with the Vampire"; received Oscar nomination
1995:
Did music for first of two Joel Schumacher Batman films, "Batman Forever"
1995:
Premiere of oratorio "Fire Paper Water," commemorating end of Vietnam war (released in 1996)
1996:
"Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass" revived on Broadway; earned four Tony Award nominations, including one for Goldenthal's score
1997:
Wrote full-length ballet, "Othello," for American Ballet Theater
1998:
Scored Neil Jordan's "The Butcher Boy"
1999:
Wrote the eclectic but dramatically effective score for "Titus", directed by Taymor
2002:
Scored independent feature "Frida"
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Education

John Dewey High School: Brooklyn , New York -
Manhattan School of Music: New York , New York -
Manhattan School of Music: New York , New York -

Notes

Goldenthal has received the Arturo Toscanini Award for musical composition, the New Music for Young Ensembles compostition prize, the Stephen Sondheim Award in Music Theater (1988), the Edinburgh Festival Critic's Choice Award, and a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship.

On film composition: "It's a very healthy kind of work, because sometimes when you're working on a film that doesn't appeal to you, it challenges you to discover something about yourself that you otherwise might not have found, which then feeds your personal music." --quoted in DAILY VARIETY, July 16, 1996

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Julie Taymor. Puppeteer, director. Born in Massachusetts; collaborated on "Grendel," "Juan Darien" and other works; met c. 1980; live together.

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