It’s with sadness to bid farewell to one of the greatest in film composing history. His iconic scores as TITANIC, BRAVEHEART, AVATAR, COCOON, STAR TREK, FIELD OF DREAMS, WILLOW, A BEAUTIFUL MIND, ALIENS, APOLLO 13 and many more, have shaped not only my film music taste and passion, opening the doors to my imagination and to a plethora of emotions, but also defined a generation of film composers and film music lovers. Film Music World lost an incredible talent today and one of the finest film composers! Rest in peace! Your music is always here!


James Horner died in a private plane crash in Southern California on Monday morning, THR reports. Horner was piloting his small plane when it went down about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara. He was 61 years old.

Horner began his career in Hollywood during the late 1970s, starting out scoring films for B-movie director/producer Roger Corman. He had a major breakthrough in 1982 thanks to his work on Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, quite possibly the best Star Trek movie, and he quickly became a well-respected and in-demand composer. The 1986 film Aliens garnered Horner his first of ten Academy Award nominations, and in 1998, he won Best Original Song for “My Heart Will Go On” and Best Original Dramatic Score for his soundtrack toTitanic, the best-selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time.

“My job — and it’s something I discuss with Jim all the time — is to make sure at every turn of the film it’s something the audience can feel with their heart,” Horner said in a 2009 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “When we lose a character, when somebody wins, when somebody loses, when someone disappears — at all times I’m keeping track, constantly, of what the heart is supposed to be feeling. That is my primary role.”

The Los Angeles native earned 10 Oscar noms in all, also being recognized for his work on two other best picture winners: Braveheart (1995) and A Beautiful Mind (2001). He also received noms for An American Tail (1986), Field of Dreams (1989), Apollo 13 (1995) and House of Sand and Fog(2003).

Over the course of his lengthy career, Horner scored over 100 films, including classics likeAn American Tail, Willow, The Land Before Time, Field Of Dreams, Braveheart, Apollo 13, and Jumanji, and he was still working on new films when he passed away: Southpaw, the boxing drama that stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams and is due in theaters in July; Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem, out in September; and The 33, a drama based on the 2010 mining disaster in Chile that’s set for November.


[City Lights is saying goobye just for the summer, but stay tuned for a JAMES HORNER podcast tribute]



Listen to some of his work below.

WRITE YOUR SOUL from justin shipley on Vimeo.