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Don Davis (composer)

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Subject: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series, Jurassic Park, Javier Fernández (figure skater), A Match Made in Heaven, Lies Before Kisses
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Don Davis (composer)

Don Davis
Born (1957-02-04) February 4, 1957
Anaheim, California, United States
Occupation Film composer

Donald Romain Davis (born February 4, 1957) is an American film score composer, conductor, and orchestrator. Best known for his work on The Matrix, he has worked on a variety of films, from horror to comedy.

Early life

Davis was born in Anaheim, California. After graduating from high school, Davis enrolled at UCLA. He continued his study of musical composition with tutor Henri Lazarof. Additionally, he learned orchestration from Albert Harris. During their orchestration lessons, Harris introduced Davis to the TV composer Joe Harnell, who supported Davis during his search for work—his first job was working for composer Mark Snow's TV show Hart to Hart. He also worked as additional orchestrator for Michael Kamen on the film Die Hard 2.

Film and television scoring

Davis won Emmys in 1990 for Beauty and the Beast and 1995 for SeaQuest DSV. He wrote scores mostly for television series up until 1995, in which he wrote a few of the cues for the animated Disney motion picture A Goofy Movie. He continued to score television series until the two then young directors, the Wachowski brothers, hired him to score their neo-noir film Bound. It was reasonably successful at the box office. Bound was the film which led Davis into becoming the composer for the entire Matrix trilogy. Subsequently, Davis has composed scores for films such as Jurassic Park III (recommended to the filmmakers by John Williams, the composer of the scores for the first two films in the series), House on Haunted Hill, Behind Enemy Lines, and The Unsaid. In 2004, he produced the music score for the BBC science fiction documentary series Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets, released as Voyage to the Planets and Beyond in the United States.

Davis' magnum opus is Matrix franchise: The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, and The Animatrix. It was set apart from other film scores of its time for its atonality and avant garde style of composition, with influences from polytonal minimalist works like John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine and cluster-like as well as aleatoric techniques prominent in the works of composer Witold Lutosławski.


Don's first opera, Río de Sangre, received its premiere at the Florentine Opera Company on October 22, 2010. Previously, excerpts from the opera were performed in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Master Chorale on November 6, 2005, and the New York City Opera on May 13, 2007.




Orchestration work

In addition to orchestrate and conducting his own scores, Don Davis has done orchestration work for many other composers. He was also conductor for the movie Flowers in the Attic, whose score was composed by Christopher Young, and for the TV documentary Eagles: Hell Freezes Over, and did arrangements for The 86th Academy Awards.

Year Film Original composer Notes
1983-1985 V (TV) Joe Harnell 1 episode.
1985-1989 Moonlighting (TV) 1 episode.
1986 Police Academy 3: Back in Training Robert Folk Credited as additional orchestrator.
1987 Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol Credited as additional orchestrator.
1988 The In Crowd Mark Snow
1990 Die Hard 2 Michael Kamen
1991 If Looks Could Kill David Foster
Hudson Hawk Michael Kamen
Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves
Ricochet Alan Silvestri
1992 Death Becomes Her
1993 Cop and a Half
Last Action Hero Michael Kamen Uncredited.
Hocus Pocus John Debney
We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story James Horner
The Pelican Brief
1994 When A Man Loves A Woman Zbigniew Preisner Credited as additional orchestrator. Also composed additional music.
Clean Slate Alan Silvestri Uncredited.
Maverick Randy Newman
I Love Trouble David Newman
Clear And Present Danger James Horner
The Pagemaster
Legends Of The Fall Uncredited.
1995 A Goofy Movie Carter Burwell It was never confirmed if he worked on Burwell's score. However, he orchestrated and conducted his own cues.
Casper James Horner
Apollo 13 Uncredited.
Toy Story Randy Newman
Balto James Horner
1996 James And The Giant Peach Randy Newman Also did song arrangements.
The Phantom David Newman Uncredited.
Courage Under Fire James Horner Uncredited.
Ransom James Horner
Michael Randy Newman
1997 Titanic James Horner Credited as additional orchestrator.
1998 Lost In Space Bruce Broughton Also composed additional music, without being credited for.
Pleasantville Randy Newman
A Bug's Life
2000 Meet The Parents
2010 Toy Story 3

External links

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