For over 30 years, four-time Oscar nominee Danny Elfman, has established himself as one of the most versatile and accomplished film composers in the industry. He has collaborated with directors such as Tim Burton, Sam Raimi, Noah Baumbach, Gus Van Sant, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee, Rob Minkoff, Guillermo del Toro, Brian De Palma, James Ponsoldt and David O’ Russell. Beginning with his first score on Tim Burton’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Elfman has scored over 100 films, including: Milk (Oscar nominated), Good Will Hunting (Oscar nominated), Big Fish (Oscar nominated), Men in Black (Oscar nominated), Edward Scissorhands, Batman, To Die For, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Alice in Wonderland, The Grinch, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Spiderman, A Simple Plan, Midnight Run, Sommersby, Dolores Claiborne, and the Errol Morris documentaries The Unknown Known, and Standard Operating Procedure. In addition to his film work, Elfman wrote the iconic theme music for the television series The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives. Elfman recently scored the Marvel feature Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Noah Baumbach’s film White Noise, and Tim Burton’s Netflix series Wednesday.
A native of Los Angeles, Elfman grew up loving film music. He travelled the world as a young man, absorbing its musical diversity. He helped found the band Oingo Boingo, and came to the attention of a young Tim Burton, who asked him to write the score for Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Thirty-seven years later, the two have forged one of the most fruitful composer-director collaborations in film history. Throughout his career, Elfman has been honored with four Oscar nominations, two Emmy Awards, a GRAMMY Award, the 2002 Richard Kirk Award, the 2015 Disney Legend Award, the Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award in 2017, and the 2022 Society of Composer and Lyricists’ Lifetime Achievement award. He also has an incredible seven Saturn Awards in the “Best Music” category, most recently winning in 2022 for his scoring work on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, for which he also won the 2022 HMMA “Best Score – SciFi Film” award.
Elfman has expanded his writing to composing orchestral concert works which include: Serenada Schizophrana, a symphony commissioned by the American Composer’s Orchestra, which premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2005, Rabbit and Rogue, for the American Ballet Theater choreographed by Twyla Tharp, performed at The Metropolitan Opera house in 2008, and Iris for Cirque du Soleil directed by French choreographer Philippe Decouflé. In 2013, Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton live orchestral concert, premiered at Royal Albert Hall, and has since toured around the world and won two Emmys.
In 2017 Elfman premiered his first violin concerto “Eleven Eleven” which was co-commissioned by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Live. “Eleven Eleven” had its world premiere in 2017 with the CNSO at the Prague Proms Festival followed by the U.S. premiere at Stanford Live’s Bing Concert Hall in March, 2018. “Eleven” was recorded by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and released on Sony Classical records which also contains his first Piano Quartet commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic. In March 2022, two of Elfman’s compositions had European world premieres: Percussion Concerto #1, performed by Colin Currie with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Cello Concerto #1, performed by Gautier Capuçon with the Vienna Symphony.
In 2021, Elfman performed a concert of Nightmare Before Christmas featuring Billie Eilish. That same year he released his wildly ambitious double album Big Mess, and followed it with the release of Bigger. Messier. – a genre-defying collection of remixed and reimagined versions of songs from the record that features guest appearances by the likes of Trent Reznor, Iggy Pop and more. The Big Mess project culminated this year with his critically acclaimed career-spanning 2022 Coachella concert, an internet-shattering pair of performances which he presented expanded, full length versions of at back-to-back sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA in October 2022.
“I need to push myself into new territory with fresh challenges as much as I can and whenever I can. I am told I have a recognizable style, but my greatest pleasure is when I can surprise the audience with my music.” – Elfman