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Don Davis (composer)

Don Davis (composer)

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Donald Romain Davis is an American film score
Film score
A film score is original music written specifically to accompany a film, forming part of the film's soundtrack, which also usually includes dialogue and sound effects...

 composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

, and orchestrator
Orchestration
Orchestration is the study or practice of writing music for an orchestra or of adapting for orchestra music composed for another medium...

. Best known for his work on The Matrix
The Matrix
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving...

, he has worked on a variety of films, from horror
Horror film
Horror films seek to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's most primal fears. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural, thus frequently overlapping with the fantasy and science fiction genres...

 to comedy
Comedy film
Comedy film is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humour. They are designed to elicit laughter from the audience. Comedies are mostly light-hearted dramas and are made to amuse and entertain the audiences...

.

Early life


Davis was born in Anaheim, California
Anaheim, California
Anaheim is a city in Orange County, California. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was about 365,463, making it the most populated city in Orange County, the 10th most-populated city in California, and ranked 54th in the United States...

. He took an early interest in music — he learned how to play the trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

 at the age of 9, and began to write short pieces at the age of 12.

Throughout early life, he found himself interested mainly in the jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 and rock genres. After graduating from high school, Davis enrolled at UCLA
University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

. He continued his study of musical composition with tutor Henri Lazarof
Henri Lazarof
Henri Lazarof is a Bulgarian composer.Born in Sofia, Bulgaria his formal musical training began in Israel under Paul Ben-Haim. After a short stint in Rome, Lazarof settled in the United States, studying with Harold Shapero and Arthur Berger at Brandeis University...

. Additionally, he learned orchestration from Albert Harris
Albert Harris (composer)
Albert Harris worked most of his life in Hollywood as an orchestrator, arranger and composer for several of the big Film Studios and for such pop icons as Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack and Cher.He studied piano from age 6 and was also a self-taught guitarist; his knowledge of this instrument...

. During their orchestration lessons, Harris introduced Davis to the TV composer Joe Harnell
Joe Harnell
Joe Harnell was an American easy listening composer and arranger....

, who supported Davis during his search for work — his first job was working for composer Mark Snow
Mark Snow
Mark Snow is an American composer for film and television.Born in New York, he grew up in Brooklyn, graduating from the High School of Music and Art and, afterwards, the Juilliard School of Music...

's TV show Hart to Hart
Hart to Hart
Hart to Hart is an American television series, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, a wealthy couple who also moonlighted as amateur detectives. The series was created by writer Sidney Sheldon and produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg...

. He also worked as additional orchestrator for Michael Kamen
Michael Kamen
Michael Arnold Kamen was an American composer , orchestral arranger, orchestral conductor, song writer, and session musician.-Background:...

 on the film Die Hard 2: Die Harder.

Film and television scoring


Davis wrote scores mostly for television series up until 1995, in which he wrote a few of the cues for the animated Disney
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures is an American film studio owned by The Walt Disney Company. Walt Disney Pictures and Television, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Studios and the main production company for live-action feature films within the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, based at the Walt Disney...

 motion picture A Goofy Movie
A Goofy Movie
A Goofy Movie is a 1995 American animated musical comedy film, produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, Walt Disney Animation France S.A. and Walt Disney Animation Australia , and released in theaters on April 7, 1995 by Walt Disney Pictures...

. He continued to score television series until the two then young directors, the Wachowski brothers
The Wachowski brothers
Larry Wachowski and Andrew Paul "Andy" Wachowski , siblings collectively known as The Wachowskis , are American film directors, writers and producers, most famous for creating The Matrix series...

, hired him to score their neo-noir
Neo-noir
Neo-noir is a style often seen in modern motion pictures and other forms that prominently utilize elements of film noir, but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements or media that were absent in films noir of the 1940s and 1950s.-History:The term Film Noir was coined by...

 film Bound
Bound (film)
Bound is a 1996 neo-noir crime thriller film directed by the Wachowski brothers. Violet , who longs to escape her relationship with her mafioso boyfriend Caesar , enters into a clandestine affair with alluring ex-con Corky , and the two women hatch a scheme to steal $2 million of mafia money.Bound...

. It was reasonably successful at the box office. Bound was the film which led Davis into becoming the composer for the entire Matrix
The Matrix
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving...

 trilogy. Subsequently, Davis has composed scores for films such as Jurassic Park III
Jurassic Park III
Jurassic Park III is a 2001 American science fiction film and the third of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is the only film in the series that is neither directed by Steven Spielberg nor based on a book by Michael Crichton, though numerous scenes in the movie were taken from Crichton's two books,...

 (recommended to the filmmakers by John Williams
John Williams
John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. In a career spanning almost six decades, he has composed some of the most recognizable film scores in the history of motion pictures, including the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Superman, the Indiana Jones films, E.T...

, the composer of the scores for the first two films in the series), House on Haunted Hill
House on Haunted Hill (1999 film)
House on Haunted Hill is a 1999 American horror film, directed by William Malone and starring Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Ali Larter and Jeffrey Combs. It also includes a cameo appearance by Peter Graves...

, Behind Enemy Lines, and The Unsaid
The Unsaid
The Unsaid is a 2001 thriller/drama film directed by Tom McLoughlin and starring Andy García that was released in 2001. It is also known under the name The Ties That Bind and its working title Sins of the Father...

.

Davis' magnum opus is Matrix trilogy: The Matrix
The Matrix
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving...

, The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Reloaded is a 2003 American science fiction film and the second installment in The Matrix trilogy, written and directed by the Wachowskis. It premiered on May 7, 2003, in Westwood, Los Angeles, California, and went on general release by Warner Bros. in North American theaters on May 15,...

, and The Matrix Revolutions
The Matrix Revolutions
The Matrix Revolutions is a 2003 American science fiction film and the third installment of The Matrix trilogy. The film was released six months following The Matrix Reloaded. The film was written and directed by the Wachowski brothers and released simultaneously in sixty countries on November 5,...

. It was set apart from other film scores of its time for its atonality
Atonality
Atonality in its broadest sense describes music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Atonality in this sense usually describes compositions written from about 1908 to the present day where a hierarchy of pitches focusing on a single, central tone is not used, and the notes of the chromatic scale...

 and avant garde style of composition, with influences from polytonal minimalist works like John Adams
John Coolidge Adams
John Coolidge Adams is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer with strong roots in minimalism. His best-known works include Short Ride in a Fast Machine , On the Transmigration of Souls , a choral piece commemorating the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks , and Shaker...

' Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Short Ride in a Fast Machine is a musical piece composed by John Adams. The piece has now become one of the most frequently requested and performed encores in American concert-halls...

 and cluster
Tone cluster
A tone cluster is a musical chord comprising at least three consecutive tones in a scale. Prototypical tone clusters are based on the chromatic scale, and are separated by semitones. For instance, three adjacent piano keys struck simultaneously produce a tone cluster...

-like as well as aleatoric techniques prominent in the works of composer Witold Lutosławski. All three scores garnered wholly positive reviews from critics and fans, and the CDs sold decently.

Opera


Don's first opera, Río de Sangre, received its premiere at the Florentine Opera Company on October 22, 2010. Previously, excerpts from the opera were performed in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Master Chorale
Los Angeles Master Chorale
The Los Angeles Master Chorale is a professional chorus in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1964 by Roger Wagner to be one of the three original resident companies of the Music Center of Los Angeles County...

 on November 6, 2005, and the New York City Opera
New York City Opera
The New York City Opera is an American opera company located in New York City.The company, called "the people's opera" by New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, was founded in 1943 with the aim of making opera financially accessible to a wide audience, producing an innovative choice of repertory, and...

 on May 13, 2007.

Film

  • Hyperspace (1984
    1984 in film
    -Events:* The Walt Disney Company founds Touchstone Pictures to release movies with subject matter deemed inappropriate for the Disney name.* Tri-Star Pictures, a joint venture of Columbia Pictures, HBO, and CBS, releases its first film....

    )
  • Blackout (1984
    1984 in film
    -Events:* The Walt Disney Company founds Touchstone Pictures to release movies with subject matter deemed inappropriate for the Disney name.* Tri-Star Pictures, a joint venture of Columbia Pictures, HBO, and CBS, releases its first film....

    )
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation
    Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation
    Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, also referred to as Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation or How I Spent My Vacation, is a 1992 American direct-to-video animated film from Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment. The film was produced in...

     (1992
    1992 in film
    The year 1992 in film involved many significant films. -Top grossing films:-Awards:Academy AwardsGolden Globe AwardsNational Film Awards...

    )
  • A Goofy Movie
    A Goofy Movie
    A Goofy Movie is a 1995 American animated musical comedy film, produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, Walt Disney Animation France S.A. and Walt Disney Animation Australia , and released in theaters on April 7, 1995 by Walt Disney Pictures...

     (additional composer) (1995
    1995 in film
    -Top grossing films:-Events:* March 22 - The Dogme 95 movement is officially announced in Paris by Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg.* March 28 - Actress Julia Roberts and singer Lyle Lovett announce their plans for separation....

    )
  • Bound
    Bound (film)
    Bound is a 1996 neo-noir crime thriller film directed by the Wachowski brothers. Violet , who longs to escape her relationship with her mafioso boyfriend Caesar , enters into a clandestine affair with alluring ex-con Corky , and the two women hatch a scheme to steal $2 million of mafia money.Bound...

     (1996
    1996 in film
    Major releases this year included Scream, Independence Day, Fargo, Trainspotting, The English Patient, Twister, Mars Attacks!, Jerry Maguire and a version of Evita starring Madonna.-Events:...

    )
  • Pandora's Clock
    Pandora's Clock
    Pandora's Clock is a 1996 Television movie based on a novel by John J. Nance about a deadly virus on a Boeing 747-200 from Frankfurt to JFK Airport...

     (television film) (1996
    1996 in film
    Major releases this year included Scream, Independence Day, Fargo, Trainspotting, The English Patient, Twister, Mars Attacks!, Jerry Maguire and a version of Evita starring Madonna.-Events:...

    )
  • Warriors of Virtue
    Warriors of Virtue
    Warriors Of Virtue is a 1997 Chinese-American fantasy film directed by Ronny Yu. It is in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Although commercially unsuccessful and critically panned, a sequel, Warriors of Virtue: The Return to Tao, was made in 2002....

     (1997
    1997 in film
    -Events:* The original Star Wars trilogy's Special Editions are released.* Production begins on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.* Titanic becomes the first film to gross US$1,000,000,000 at the box office making it the highest grossing film in history until Avatar broke the record in 2010.*...

    )
  • The Matrix
    The Matrix
    The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving...

     (1999
    1999 in film
    The year 1999 in film involved several noteworthy events and has been called "The Year That Changed Movies". Several significant feature films, including Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut, Pedro Almodóvar's first Oscar-winning film All About My Mother, science fiction The Matrix, Deep...

    )
  • Universal Soldier: The Return
    Universal Soldier: The Return
    Universal Soldier: The Return is a 1999 American science fiction action film directed by Mic Rodgers and starred Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Jai White, professional wrestler Bill Goldberg, Heidi Schanz, Kiana Tom and Xander Berkeley as Doctor Dylan Cotner...

     (1999
    1999 in film
    The year 1999 in film involved several noteworthy events and has been called "The Year That Changed Movies". Several significant feature films, including Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut, Pedro Almodóvar's first Oscar-winning film All About My Mother, science fiction The Matrix, Deep...

    )
  • House on Haunted Hill
    House on Haunted Hill (1999 film)
    House on Haunted Hill is a 1999 American horror film, directed by William Malone and starring Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Ali Larter and Jeffrey Combs. It also includes a cameo appearance by Peter Graves...

     (1999
    1999 in film
    The year 1999 in film involved several noteworthy events and has been called "The Year That Changed Movies". Several significant feature films, including Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut, Pedro Almodóvar's first Oscar-winning film All About My Mother, science fiction The Matrix, Deep...

    )
  • Jurassic Park III
    Jurassic Park III
    Jurassic Park III is a 2001 American science fiction film and the third of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is the only film in the series that is neither directed by Steven Spielberg nor based on a book by Michael Crichton, though numerous scenes in the movie were taken from Crichton's two books,...

     (2001
    2001 in film
    The year 2001 in film involved some significant events, including the first of the Harry Potter series and also the first of The Lord of the Rings trilogy...

    )
  • Antitrust
    Antitrust (film)
    Antitrust is a 2001 thriller film written by Howard Franklin and directed by Peter Howitt....

     (2001
    2001 in film
    The year 2001 in film involved some significant events, including the first of the Harry Potter series and also the first of The Lord of the Rings trilogy...

    )
  • Valentine
    Valentine (film)
    Valentine is a 2001 horror film directed by Jamie Blanks, and starring Denise Richards, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw, Hedy Burress, and Katherine Heigl. It is a slasher film with a Valentine's Day theme...

     (2001
    2001 in film
    The year 2001 in film involved some significant events, including the first of the Harry Potter series and also the first of The Lord of the Rings trilogy...

    )
  • The Unsaid
    The Unsaid
    The Unsaid is a 2001 thriller/drama film directed by Tom McLoughlin and starring Andy García that was released in 2001. It is also known under the name The Ties That Bind and its working title Sins of the Father...

     (2001
    2001 in film
    The year 2001 in film involved some significant events, including the first of the Harry Potter series and also the first of The Lord of the Rings trilogy...

    )
  • Behind Enemy Lines (2001
    2001 in film
    The year 2001 in film involved some significant events, including the first of the Harry Potter series and also the first of The Lord of the Rings trilogy...

    )
  • Long Time Dead
    Long Time Dead
    Long Time Dead is a 2002 thriller horror film set in the United Kingdom in which a group of college students experiment with an Ouija board and inadvertently summon a djinn - an Arabic spirit of fire. The film stars Joe Absolom, Lukas Haas and Tom Bell. It was the directorial debut of Swindon-born...

     (2002
    2002 in film
    The year 2002 in film involved some significant events. The first significant releases of sequels took place between The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Men in Black II, Analyze That, Spy Kids 2: The Island of...

    )
  • Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
    Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
    Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is a 2002 American action film starring Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu. Liu and Banderas play opposing secret agents who are supposedly enemies, but team up during the movie. The film was universally panned by critics, who generally regarded it as having no redeeming...

     (2002
    2002 in film
    The year 2002 in film involved some significant events. The first significant releases of sequels took place between The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Men in Black II, Analyze That, Spy Kids 2: The Island of...

    )
  • The Matrix Reloaded
    The Matrix Reloaded
    The Matrix Reloaded is a 2003 American science fiction film and the second installment in The Matrix trilogy, written and directed by the Wachowskis. It premiered on May 7, 2003, in Westwood, Los Angeles, California, and went on general release by Warner Bros. in North American theaters on May 15,...

     (2003
    2003 in film
    The year 2003 in film involved some significant events. Releases of sequels took place with movies like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Pokémon Heroes, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,...

    )
  • The Matrix Revolutions
    The Matrix Revolutions
    The Matrix Revolutions is a 2003 American science fiction film and the third installment of The Matrix trilogy. The film was released six months following The Matrix Reloaded. The film was written and directed by the Wachowski brothers and released simultaneously in sixty countries on November 5,...

     (2003
    2003 in film
    The year 2003 in film involved some significant events. Releases of sequels took place with movies like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Pokémon Heroes, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,...

    )
  • The Animatrix
    The Animatrix
    is a 2003 direct-to-video anthology film based on The Matrix trilogy. The film is a compilation of nine animated short films.-Production:Development of the Animatrix project began when the film series' writers and directors, the Wachowski brothers, were in Japan promoting the first Matrix film...

     (2003
    2003 in film
    The year 2003 in film involved some significant events. Releases of sequels took place with movies like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Pokémon Heroes, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,...

    )
  • The Marine
    The Marine
    The Marine is a 2006 American action film starring wrestler John Cena. The film was directed by John Bonito, written by Michelle Gallagher and Alan B...

     (2006
    2006 in film
    - Highest-grossing films :Please note that following the tradition of the English-language film industry, these are the top-grossing films that were first released in the United States in 2006...

    )
  • The Good Life
    The Good Life (2007 film)
    The Good Life is a 2007 film written and directed by Stephen Berra, starring Mark Webber, Zooey Deschanel, Patrick Fugit, Bill Paxton, Drea de Matteo, Harry Dean Stanton, and Chris Klein.-Plot:...

     (2007
    2007 in film
    This is a list of major films released in 2007.-Top grossing films:Please note that following the tradition of the English-language film industry, these are the top grossing films that were first released in the USA in 2007...

    )

Television

  • Crazy Like A Fox
    Crazy Like a Fox
    Crazy Like a Fox may refer to:* Crazy Like a Fox , an American television series * Still Crazy Like a Fox, a 1987 American television movie that was a spinoff of the television series...

     (multiples) (1986)
  • Sledge Hammer!
    Sledge Hammer!
    Sledge Hammer! is an American satirical police sitcom produced by New World Television that ran for two seasons on ABC from 1986 to 1988. The series was created by Alan Spencer and stars David Rasche as Inspector Sledge Hammer, a preposterous caricature of the standard "cop on the edge" character,...

     (1986)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    Star Trek: The Next Generation
    Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise. Roddenberry, Rick Berman, and Michael Piller served as executive producers at different times throughout the production...

     (1987)
  • Beauty and the Beast
    Beauty and the Beast (TV series)
    Beauty and the Beast is an American drama series which first aired on CBS in 1987. Creator Ron Koslow's updated version of the fairy tale has a double focus: the relationship between Vincent , a mythic, noble man-beast, and his Catherine , a savvy assistant District attorney in New York; and a...

     (1990)
  • Tiny Toons Adventures (1990)
  • My Life and Times (one episode: 1.6) (1991)
  • Capitol Critters
    Capitol Critters
    Capitol Critters is an animated television series about the lives of mice, rats, and roaches who reside in the basement and walls of the White House in Washington, D.C...

     (1992)
  • SeaQuest DSV
    SeaQuest DSV
    seaQuest DSV is an American science fiction television series created by Rockne S. O'Bannon. It originally aired on NBC between 1993 and 1996. In its final season, it was renamed seaQuest 2032. Set in "the near future", seaQuest mixes high drama with realistic scientific fiction...

     (1993)
  • The Beast
    The Beast (1996 film)
    The Beast is a 1996 made for TV movie starring William Petersen, Karen Sillas and Charles Martin Smith. The movie is based on the 1991 novel Beast by Jaws author Peter Benchley. The film is about a giant squid that attacks and kills several people when its food supply becomes scarce and its...

     (1996)
  • House Of Frankenstein (1997 film)
  • Invasion
    Invasion (1997 film)
    Invasion is a TV film based on Robin Cook's book Invasion. It starred Luke Perry, Kim Cattrall, and Rebecca Gayheart.-Plot:Small rocks fall from the sky which, when touched, trigger a latent virus that has always existed in humans and begins mutating them into an alien species...

     (1997)
  • Weapons of Mass Distraction
    Weapons of Mass Distraction
    Weapons of Mass Distraction is a 1997 film starring Gabriel Byrne, Ben Kingsley, Mimi Rogers, Jeffrey Tambor, and other stars in an ensemble cast, about two media moguls and their fight over ownership of a professional football team...

     (1997)
  • Murder in Greenwich (2002)
  • Weird TV
    Weird TV
    Weird TV or Weird Television was a programme that aired in 1995 on Canadian late-night TV; KCOP, Channel 13 in Los Angeles; and KTZZ , Channel 22 in Seattle....

     (2003)

External links