A native of East Sussex, Powell was a mediocre violinist as a child, wrote music for commercials out of school, and assisted composer Patrick Doyle in the early 1990s. He moved to the U.S. in 1997, where he worked on numerous projects for Hans Zimmer and his film music company Remote Control. He co-wrote the score for Antz with Harry Gregson-Williams, and quickly became one of the most desirable, versatile, and exciting composers in town.
Powell was catapulted into the realm of A-list composers by displaying an entirely original voice with his oft-referenced scores to the first installment of Bourne trilogy, The Bourne Identity. He has also become the go-to writer for family animated films, scoring such hits as Shrek and Chicken Run (both co-written with Harry Gregson-Williams), Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Bolt, Rio 1&2, Happy Feet 1&2 and the two first installments of Kung Fu Panda (co-written with Hans Zimmer). His pulsating action music has provided the fuel for Hancock, Green Zone, Stop Loss, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and The Italian Job. His music has also sweetened the romance of Two Weeks Notice and P.S.: I Love You. In 2006 his music empowered X-Men: The Last Stand, lent tenderness to I Am Sam and gripping, real-time drama to United 93.
His infectious score for How to Train Your Dragon earned him his first Academy Award nomination. Throughout his career, Powell also collected three Grammy nominations for his scores ranging from sci-fi to family animation. Powell has also lent his voice to the score of Warner Bros.’ Pan, Blue Sky Studios’ Ferdinand, directed by Carlos Saldanha, and the critically acclaimed DreamWorks’ films How To Train Your Dragon 2 and 3. Powell scored Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard and 20thCentury Studios’ family adventure feature The Call of the Wild. His most recent score was for Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling.
In addition to his numerous film scores of all genres, John Powell has also written concert works for choir and orchestra. A selection of these has been released with the album Hubris: Choral Works by John Powell, including his deeply moving oratorio A Prussian Requiem.
Session: John Powell: Bourne Identity, How To Train Your Dragon, Ice Age & Happy Feet
John has scored over $14 billion of films on his composing rig. Having just converted his very successful multi-computer setup to a single computer, John is bringing this new rig to “see if it works, knock something together and try to crash it in front of a captive audience.” Along the way, John will share his writing process from piano to full orchestra in front of our eyes and ears . . . with a lot of fun and colorful language(!) along the way.