James Newton Howard is a prolific composer of scores from films including Maleficent. If you’ve been to the movies lately, you’ve gotten chills listening to his unique melodies, and now you can see him in person! Howard is conducting his first-ever live concert tour later this year which will include scores from his over 130 films, spanning a career of over 30 years. He will be joined by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and a choir. The tour consists of 20 dates in 12 different European countries, and will take place in November and December.
Howard was kind enough to answer a few questions for us via email whilst rehearsals are getting under way for the tour.
WHEN DID YOUR INTEREST IN (AND LOVE OF) MUSIC START?
My earliest memories are listening to my Grandmother playing the piano at our house as I jumped up and down on the couch. She was a violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony in the 30’s and 40’s, and was a huge influence on me. I started studying piano at the age of four.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE DISNEY SCORE THAT’S NOT YOUR OWN? WHAT IS IT AND WHY?
Disney movies have had a tradition of excellent music since the beginning. Some of my favorites are Fantasia, Dumbo, The Lion King and Toy Story.
Yes, I usually compose a suite before I’ve seen any footage, based on the script and my discussions with the Director.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU THAT YOU’RE PART OF THE DISNEY MUSIC LEGACY?
Music has been of central importance to Disney movies for as long as I can remember. To contribute to that legacy, is a great honor.