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Over the past 30 years, Los Angeles native and resident Danny Elfman has established himself as one of film’s leading composers.
His previous collaborations with Promised Land director Gus Van Sant were on To Die For, Restless, Good Will Hunting, and Milk; the latter two brought Mr. Elfman Academy Award nominations, and he has been nominated twice more, for Barry Sonnenfeld’s Men in Black and Tim Burton’s Big Fish. The latter also earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Movie audiences worldwide have heard the composer’s unique sound and style with some four dozen film scores. His signature scores include ones for Tim Burton’s Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman (for which he won a Grammy Award), Edward Scissorhands, and Alice in Wonderland (for which he was a Golden Globe Award nominee) among their many movies together; Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, which brought Mr. Elfman his first Golden Globe Award nomination; Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man; Taylor Hackford’s Dolores Claiborne; Martin Brest’s Midnight Run; Jon Amiel’s Sommersby; the Hughes Brothers’ Dead Presidents; and Rob Marshall’s Academy Award-winning Chicago.
Television audiences worldwide can instantly identify his theme music for The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives, for which he was honored with an Emmy Award nomination and win, respectively.
Mr. Elfman’s first experience in performing and composition was for a French theatrical troupe, Le Grand Magic Circus, at the age of 18. The following year, he collaborated with his brother Richard performing musical theatre on the streets of California. He then worked with a “surrealistic musical cabaret” for six years, using this outlet to explore multifarious musical genres. For seventeen years, he wrote and performed with the rock band Oingo Boingo, producing such hits as “Weird Science” and “Dead Man’s Party.”
His first composition for ballet, entitled “Rabbit and Rogue,” had its American Ballet Theatre (ABT) world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in New York City in June 2008. The ballet was choreographed by Twyla Tharp and commissioned by ABT.
In addition to Promised Land, Mr. Elfman’s other 2012 film scores included Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and Dark Shadows; Barry Sonnenfeld’s Men in Black 3; Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock; and David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook.