Elliot Goldenthal (born 2 May 1954 in Brooklyn, New York, USA) is an acclaimed Oscar and Golden Globe winning American composer of contemporary classical music.
He was a student of Aaron Copland and John Corigliano, and is best known for his ability to blend various musical styles and techniques in original and inventive ways. Atonal and brutal in his action music, sometimes in underscore and tends to use very fast French horn bending tones/whining; although Goldenthal himself has said that he doesn't "hear" atonal and tonal, rather "…I don't have any differentiation in my head between tonal and atonal, I either hear melody or I hear sonority — I don't hear atonal or tonal so much."
Born as the youngest son to a Jewish housepainter father and a Catholic, seamstress mother in Brooklyn, New York; he was educated at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn where, at the age of 14, he had his very first ballet "Variations on Early Glimpses" performed; he continued to display his eclectic musical range, performing with rock bands in the 70's. He then studied music full time at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, where he studied under Aaron Copland and John Corigliano (both of whom he greatly admired), to earn his BA then MA in musical composition. In 1979 he did his first movie score for "Cocaine Cowboys"
He lives in New York City "happily unmarried", as he put once it, with his partner Julie Taymor, whom he met in 1982 through a mutual acquaintance, who told him "I know a person whose work is just as grotesque as yours"; they have an office/apartment where they both live and work.
Goldenthal has written works for concert hall, theater, dance and film. His work includes music for films such as Alien³, Heat, Titus and the Academy Award-winning score for Julie Taymor's "Frida"; the movie in which Goldenthal had a small acting part as a "Newsreel Reporter". Incidentally he also had a small part in the stage show "Juan Darièn" as a "Circus Barker / Streetsinger". See below for links to individual score pages; some with audio samples.
The Tony-Award winning carnival mass Juan Darièn (1988/'96) and The Green Bird (1999), based on a story by Carlo Gozzi, are some of the composer's theater works.
In 2006, Goldenthal completed his original 3-act opera with Taymor entitled Grendel, an adaptation of the John Gardner novel which told the story of Beowulf from the monster's point of view. It had its world premiere in early June 2006 at the Los Angeles Opera was added to the Los Angeles Opera's permanent repertoire and earned Goldenthal a nomination in April 2007 for the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
In April 2008 it was announced that Goldenthal will reunite with Michael Mann to score a 1930's gangster movie called Public Enemies.
He cites acclaimed Japanese composer 武満徹 (Tōru Takemitsu) as an influence and someone he styles his own career on; Goldenthal has said that the lines between traditional concert music and orchestral film score are becoming more blurred which is the way he thinks it should be.
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