BMI composer James Newton Howard creates music for film that can seem larger than life -- a roaring element that engulfs the senses and stirs the emotions. From his thundering work in The Dark Knight to the haunting strains of The Sixth Sense to the lilting strings of The Hunger Games, Howard’s orchestrations have thrilled movie-goers the world over. Throughout his prolific career, he has scored over 120 major motion pictures, spanning genres, each one distinguished by a his richly nuanced approach to sonic storytelling. For his many achievements, he is widely considered one of the masters of the medium.
On behalf of BMI, veteran film journalist Jon Burlingame recently sat down with Howard in the composer’s studio to talk about his extraordinary career, his inspirations, his collaborations and what it means to him to be named BMI Icon at this year’s BMI Film and TV Awards. During the course of their in-depth discussion, Howard opened up about his particular approach to scoring, his fruitful working relationship with director M. Night Shyamalan, his early days working with iconic musicians like Elton John and Barbra Streisand, the fear he experienced trying to navigate through his Oscar-nominated score for The Fugitive, his desire to help the next generation of aspiring composers and much more. “It’s a great honor,” Howard tells Burlingame of being named BMI Icon, “and it runs concurrently with a lot of the feelings that I have about how lucky I’ve been, and how much I’m enjoying my career, even 30 years into it.” Watch their full conversation here.