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Harry Gregson-Williams - family film composer

Harry Gregson-Williams - Shrek 2 soundtrack CD cover Harry Gregson-Williams was born in the UK where he studied at St John's College in Cambridge. He later taught music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and also in Africa. He was persuaded by Hans Zimmer to become a film composer and for the past decade that career has kept him very busy indeed. He started off with some TV work before moving into family films and animations. On many of his earlier films Gregson-Williams was credited with "additional music" to Hans Zimmer and others, and then later he shared the composer credits with John Powell, but more recently he has taken the sole composer credit. While animations have always been family oriented, in recent years they have matured to the stage where children and adults can perceive the same film on different levels, with many jokes and resonances clearly pitched more at the parents than their children. This has allowed Gregson-Williams to demonstrate quite a flair for pastiche which was noted on "Antz" and "The Chicken Run", and became very bankable with the success of "Shrek". While Shrek has now become a franchise with ongoing sequel, spinoff and merchandising opportunities, the composer has entered more mainstream genres with "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" and "Kingdom of Heaven".

Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell - The Chicken Run soundtrack CD cover Team America was a great opportunity for the composer to send up many styles of film music, just as the film with tongue firmly in cheek takes the mickey out film genres, actors and other cherished institutions. An obvious influence is Barry Gray's puppet series such as Thunderbirds, but we also hear some wonderful suggestions of John Williams' Cantina Band from Star Wars along with hints of Rocky style songs for the "Montage" scene, Star Trek, Cats, The Matrix and MIB. The references are too quick to spot sometimes but there is that feeling of familiarity and pastiche. Having established a good working relationship with director Andrew Adamson on "Shrek" and "Shrek 2", Gregson-Williams has now worked with him again on 2005's big family Christmas movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe though this time with no evidence of pastiche. He then went on to score the sequel "Prince Caspian" before the baton was handed to David Arnold for the 3rd in the Narnia series: "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader".

Gregson-Williams has also composed some music for video games, including the "Metal Gear Solid" series and "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare". He has now scored the movie version of "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" which is based on the video game of the same name (with music by Stuart Chatwood).

Films by Harry Gregson-Williams:

    Harry Gregson-Williams - The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe soundtrack CD cover
  • Muppet Treasure Island - "additional music" for Hans Zimmer
  • The Rock - "additional music" to Zimmer, with Nick Glennie-Smith and James Newton Howard
  • Smilla's Sense of Snow
  • The Borrowers
  • Armageddon - "additional music" this time Trevor Rabin
  • Antz - with John Powell taking the co-composer credit
  • Enemy of the State - with Trevor Rabin
  • The Prince of Egypt - doing additional music with his brother Rupert for Hans Zimmer
  • The Tigger Movie
  • The Chicken Run - with John Powell, poking gentle fun at "The Great Escape" and other movies
  • Shrek - with John Powell, poking gentle fun at "The Matrix" and other movies
  • Spy Game
  • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
  • The Rundown
  • Veronica Guerin
  • Shrek 2
  • Man on Fire
  • Domino
  • Team America: World Police - more send-ups but this time with more bite
  • Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason - the follow-up to Patrick Doyle's "Bridget Jones' Diary"
  • Kingdom of Heaven - though largely scored by Gregson-Williams, the film includes some music from Graeme Revell's "The Crow" movies
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - music for a magical fantasy
  • Seraphim Falls - a nicely understated score, a subtle blend of wilderness and western
  • The Number 23
  • Shrek the Third
  • Gone Baby Gone
  • The Forever Kingdom
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - the continuing story, with more action and adventure
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine - a mix of orchestral (including some choral), percussion beats and electronic sound design
  • The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
  • Twelve
  • Shrek Forever After - possibly the last in the series
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - based on the Video Game, one of the themes sounds like part of Scarborough Fair
  • Town - Gregson-Williams shares the composer credit with David Buckley in this thriller directed by Ben Affleck
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - his theme established in the earlier films was re-used in the 3rd Narnia movie scored by David Arnold
  • Harry Gregson-Williams: The Martian - De-Luxe Soundtrack with Score and Songs
  • Unstoppable
  • Cowboys & Aliens - the music fits well with the wild west setting yet updated with a modern vibe in keeping with the hybrid genre
  • Arthur Christmas
  • Total Recall (2012) - a remake, though it would be hard to equal the status of Jerry Goldsmith's score for the original film
  • Prometheus - additional music for the score by Marc Streitenfeld
  • The Equalizer
  • Exodus: Gods and Kings - additional music
  • Monkey Kingdom
  • Miss You Already
  • The Martian - the film is impressive and the score stands up well amid a lot of Disco tracks
  • Alien: Covenant - scored by Jed Kurzel but some track by Gregson-Williams
  • Early Man - credited alongside Tom Howe on this latest Aardman stop motion movie
  • The Equalizer 2 - sequel
  • The Meg

TV Music by Harry Gregson-Williams:

  • Electric Dreams - series
  • Catch-22 - working with brother Rupert on this series

Harry Gregson-Williams - CD Recommendations:

Harry Gregson-Williams - Piano Sheet Music:

Harry Gregson-Williams - Memorabilia:

Here are some CD covers signed by Harry Gregson-Williams. Our thanks to Petr Kocanda for permission to use his collection of autographed CDs. Click any thumbnail below to see the image full size in a separate window.

Harry Gregson-Williams: Kingdom of Heaven - signed CD Harry Gregson-Williams: Unstoppable - signed CD Harry Gregson-Williams: Arthur Christmas - signed CD Harry Gregson-Williams - Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - signed CD Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell: Chicken Run - signed CD Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell: Shrek - signed CD Harry Gregson-Williams - Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas - signed CD Harry Gregson-Williams: The Chronicles of Narnia 1 & 2 - signed CD