Michael Giacchino had an early fascination with film and experimented with animations as a boy. He later studied film production in New York, where he scored a few independent films before moving on to study composition at the Juliard school. Working for Disney, one of his early jobs was for the newly formed Dreamworks putting music to the Playstation game based on Spielberg's "The Lost World: Jurassic Park". This game score was unusual at the time, because Giacchino followed the path taken by John Williams in the film by creating a full orchestral score recorded by "The Northwest Sinfonia". The added atmosphere generated by orchestral music and the symphonic skills of the composer gave a feeling of cinematic depth to console gaming, and the composer was asked to repeat this format for "Medal of Honor". The resultant success led to a number of game sequels and new titles including "Call of Duty" and "Secret Weapons over Normandy".
Between composing for these various video games, Giacchino extended his experience by composing music for television, such as the TV movie "Semper Fi" and the series "Alias" and "Lost" for J. J. Abrams. Incidentally, it was Abrams himself who composed the opening themes for both these series, though Giacchino created the incidental music. Giacchino then landed the career changing task of composing for the Pixar animation The Incredibles. Michael Giacchino deserves credit for a unique jazz score which dares to deviate from the accepted Hollywood norm. Although missing out on the oscar nomination, his score for this movie has justly been recognised with a number of awards, and the same team has come together again to create Rataouille.
Giacchino's big screen blockbuster of 2006 was Mission Impossible 3. Like the soundtracks to the previous films by Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer, this one also has references to the original music from the TV series by Lalo Schifrin but Giacchino uses more than just the main theme so this soundtrack seems to have a greater degree of familiarity that bonds it to the small screen original. This is very much in the Schifrin traditional style and seems to be entirely played by acoustic instruments with some hints at the jazz styles of "The Incredibles". Giacchino then came back in 2011 (again with Brad Bird) for the next Mission Impossible installment called Ghost Protocol which integrates elements of Shifrin's music and style even more.
Michael Giacchino has rapidly turned into an A-list composer and has been exceedingly busy this past few years! In quick succession he was the Music Director for the 2009 oscar ceremony, he scored the new Star Trek movie (which is sure to continue as a rebooted franchise), then in 2010 the composer was back at the oscars - this time to receive a well-deserved award for his score to the animated film "Up" (the sheet music for "Up" is available from this link at Sheet Music Plus). Since then Giacchino has scored "Let Me In", "Super 8", "Cars 2", "50/50" as well as the previously mentioned latest Mission Impossible film Ghost Protocol. In many ways his rise has paralleled that of J. J. Abrams and it is almost as though their partnership is the modern equivalent of Steven Spielberg and John Williams, though encompassing both film and television productions.
The new Trek film, Star Trek Into Darkness is also scored by Michael Giacchino, building upon the main theme from the first film and adding additional themes. Meanwhile the filmmakers have made Star Trek the video game, featuring the voices and the likenesses of the current Enterprise crew. Giacchino has recorded a completely new orchestral score for the game. The game features the fondly remembered Gorn from the original classic series - look out for the funny video promo featuring William Shatner and a Gorn, and even some original Star Trek series music! "Star Trek Into Darkness" is now available and you can find it at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Staying with sci-fi, Michael Giacchino has now scored the Wachowski sibling's new project Jupiter Ascending whose official trailer is here on youtube.
In recent years Giacchino seems to have been taking over a lot of existing franchises. Following on from "Star Trek" and "Mission Impossible", he has scored Jurassic World, Doctor Strange from the Marvel Extended Universe, Rogue One from "Star Wars" and now War for the Planet of the Apes.
Michael Giacchino's music is well-represented in terms of soundtrack CDs. The following list of recommendations covers his work in film and TV, and also his highly regarded contribution to game music.
There is an informative fan web-site about the composer at www.MichaelGiacchinoMusic.com with a lot of information and links, which also seems to have the composer's support.
Here is a selection of sheet music by Michael Giacchino, all arranged for piano:
Here are some CD covers signed by Michael Giacchino. 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.