Alex Heffes was born in the UK and educated at a small specialist music school in London where he was immersed in music every day from an early age. After graduating from Oxford with a first-class degree he worked as an arranger, then writer on projects covering the musical spectrum from steel band to symphony orchestra with artists such as Elton John and members of Blur.
It was his scores to Kevin Macdonald’s Academy Award-winning films ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND and BAFTA-winning TOUCHING THE VOID that brought him to international attention. Alongside his long collaboration with Macdonald, he has worked with many of cinema’s other top filmmakers such as Stephen Frears, Mira Nair, Peter Webber and Tim Burton. His reputation as a composer who is truly fluent with orchestral writing as well as electronics has given him a unique and varied output.
He received his first BAFTA nomination for his score to the HBO drama TSUNAMI: THE AFTERMATH and has gone on to score across an incredible variety of genres including Charles Ferguson’s Academy Award-winning INSIDE JOB, the horror film THE RITE starring Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Hardwicke’s fantasy movie RED RIDING HOOD, Peter Webber’s World War II drama EMPEROR, and Mikael Hafstrom’s action thriller ESCAPE PLAN starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He collaborated with director Tim Burton on his screen adaptation of SWEENEY TODD starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Alex’s score to STATE OF PLAY starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck was widely noted for his collaboration with classic British rock producer Flood.
In 2011, he received ‘Discovery of the Year’ by the World Soundtrack Academy and the following year his score to Justin Chadwick’s film BOY was featured at the opening ceremony of the Olympic velodrome at the London Olympics. In 2012 He won the Ivor Novello Award for best film score of the year for THE FIRST GRADER starring Naomie Harris, directed by Chadwick. In 2013, Alex received a Golden Globe award nomination for his score to MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, which starred Idris Elba. His score featured vocals from South African legend Caiphus Semenya. Alex also travelled to Uganda during scoring THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND to record and produce the bands that appeared in the film. In 2015, he scored the horse racing documentary PALIO.
His solo album project FACE TO FACE featured collaborations with artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Regina Spektor and Matthew Barley. His music has appeared in concert performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Oman Symphony Orchestra and at the London Jazz Festival.
Alex’s most recent credits include the Hulu Original eight-part event series 11.22.63 starring James Franco and based on the Stephen King best-selling novel, executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Stephen King, Bridget Carpenter and Bryan Burk which premiered on February 15 running through April 4. Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald directs and executive produces the first two hours. Alex also recently scored the new rendition of the event series ROOTS, Disney’s QUEEN OF KATWE starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and directed by Mira Nair and the Focus Feature’s thriller, and THE TAKE starring Idris Elba. Upcoming for Heffes is the BBC documentary Earth: One Amazing Day narrated by Robert Redford.