Harry Gregson-Williams

Posted in News on May 17, 2006

Harry Gregson-Williams is one of Hollywood’s most sought after composers, working on a variety of high-profile projects that he infuses with his unique musical talent.  The composer recently received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score for his music to Andrew Adamson's epic fantasy The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, based on the classic C.S. Lewis novel, which opened December 9, 2005.  In 2005 alone, Gregson-Williams had the distinction of receiving the Hollywood Composer of the Year Award from the 2005 Hollywood Film Festival, as well as composing the scores for Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven and Tony Scott's Domino.   

As a child, Harry Gregson-Williams toured extensively in Europe with an ensemble from the music school of St. John's College, Cambridge, and by age thirteen had appeared as a soloist on over a dozen records. He went on to earn musical scholarships throughout his education, culminating in a coveted spot at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. 

After his formal education, Gregson-Williams taught music to young children, guiding many of his students to musical careers. He spent a year in Egypt working for the government, teaching disadvantaged children in Alexandria and Cairo, and six months in an inspirational program with similar aims in the Rift Valley in Kenya.  It was during this time that his ear became sensitive to the rhythms and sounds of African music which find their way into his work today.

Moving to London, he sought out Stanley Myers, who recognized a kindred spirit in Gregson-Williams. As an orchestrator, arranger, and writer on many of Myers' subsequent films, he rapidly learned the techniques of film scoring and formed relationships with other top composers including Hans Zimmer, who had also previously been a protégé of Myers. It was a natural progression for Gregson-Williams to work with Zimmer on several projects that Zimmer scored and recorded in the UK such as The Lion King, Crimson Tide, Beyond Rangoon, K2, and Two Deaths.

It was through his association with Stanley Myers that Gregson-Williams also became friends with legendary filmmaker Nicolas Roeg, composing his first major scores for Roeg's Full Body Massage (starring Brian Brown and Mimi Rogers) and Hotel Paradise (starring Vincent D'Onofrio and Theresa Russell).

In 1995, Gregson-Williams moved to Los Angeles and quickly launched his career as a Hollywood composer by composing the score for Billie August’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow.  Gregson-Williams next took on The Whole Wide World, a period romance starring Renee Zellweger and Vincent D’Onofrio and in 1996, he composed music for The Rock forming a relationship with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, which has continued to this day.

The following year found Gregson-Williams busy with a total of eight feature film projects, starting with MGM's Deceiver, a thriller directed by the Pate brothers, and The Replacement Killers with Mira Sorvino and Asian superstar Chow Yun Fat.  The public was then treated to a very different Gregson-Williams score for The Borrowers, a live-action version of the classic English children's story.

Gregson-Williams went on to team up with legendary rock guitarist Trevor Rabin for the scores to Armageddon and Enemy of the State for Jerry Bruckheimer.  Following was Dreamworks’ computer animated movie Antz (in partnership with composer John Powell).  Then Gregson-Williams wrote a Celtic-themed score for The Match, a romantic comedy for Propaganda Films.  All of this in addition to composing selected cues for Dreamworks’ The Price of Egypt.
Gregson-Williams work continued to be diverse as he continued to score big studio films interspersed with smaller independent movies. In 1999 after completing the score for King of the Jungle starring John Leguizamo and Rosie Perez, Gregson-Williams scored the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced TV movie, Swing Vote. At the same time, an episode of “The Hunger” directed by Tony Scott starring David Bowie, the independent film The Magic of Marciano starring Nastassja Kinski, and Fox’s urban drama Light it Up produced by Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.

2000 found Gregson-Williams scoring two of the year’s most successful family films with Disney’s The Tigger Movie and Dreamworks’ Chicken Run.  He also composed the music for a British independent film, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?.

Now a recognized and highly sought-after talent in Hollywood, Gregson-Williams  scored the Oscar winning blockbuster Dreamworks animated feature Shrek (with Powell) for which he received a BAFTA nomination and won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Score, as well as the Annie Award.  In 2001, he also scored the Tony Scott feature Spy Game, starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt and received a Golden Satellite Award nomination for his score.  He also completed an album that was co-written with guitarist Peter Distefano (Porno for Pyros) which features vocalists Peter Murphy, Divine Styler, Miho Hatori, and Lizbeth Scott.  Instrumentalists include Flea (Red Hot Chill Peppers) amongst others.

Gregson-Williams’ recently scored DreamWorks’  blockbuster Shrek 2, Man on Fire starring Denzel Washington for director Tony Scott, Bridget Jones:  The Edge of Reason, starring Renee Zellweger and Kingdom of Heaven for director Ridley Scott.   Other credits include 20th Century Fox’s Phone Booth starring Colin Farrell and Forest Whitaker from director Joel Schumacher and written by Larry Cohen, Touchstone Pictures’ Veronica Guerin starring Cate Blanchett from director Joel Schumacher and DreamWorks animated feature Sinbad:  Legend of the Seven Seas for which Gregson-Williams also received an Annie nomination for his score.

Harry Gregson-Williams currently resides in Los Angeles, California.



The Weekly

Each week, Learn, Listen, Watch, Discover and Share with BMI! From must-see videos, to creative inspiration and dynamic playlists we’re excited about, BMI’s The Weekly is dedicated to delivering specially curated content designed for music creators and music fans alike!

Join BMI Live

BMI Live
Back to Top