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Which composers have you had a chance to meet/see in real life?

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*content below has a potential to appear twattish and masturbatory but we we have a strict non-refund policy (just in case)*


The title is pretty self-explanatory. It's amazing how thing change back when I was a kid I would dream of seeing any of my film music heroes in flesh. Not that I have a particular autograph fetish or anything but it's just nice to realise these people are not just some distant figures and/or celebrities. Most of them seem to be really modest and shy. Whenever I go to any of the festivals they seem really shocked and surprised by the attention they receive. And yeah, while I feel the organisers go a bit overboard with all the glitz and platitudes it is nice to see those hard-working and talented individuals to receive the recognition they rarely receive. When I first started going to these things I really wanted a picture and autographs...and whatever. But after a couple of times I just decided to leave them be. Some of them looked really stressed, bless them.


In my own head I don't think I've seen that many but recently I got through a list of concerts and things like that and turned out there were more of them than I thought. And for the sheer majority of those guys I have nothing but a huge respect:


John Williams

Ennio Morricone

James Horner

Hans Zimmer

Danny Elfman

Alexandre Desplat

Wojciech Kilar

Elliot Goldenthal

David Arnold

Michael Giacchino

Ramin Djawadi

Alberto Iglesias

Don Davis

Patrick Doyle

Howard Shore (technically, I didn't meet him in flesh but we spoke for half an hour on Skype)

Joe Kraemer (also a Skype interview)

Abel Korzeniowski (had a chance to meet and interview him on Skype)

Cliff Martinez

Dario Marianelli (also meet him in real life and had a chance to interview)

Krzysztof Penderecki

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek

David Newman

Austin Wintory

Tom Tykwer

Reinhold Heil

Trevor Morris

Garry Schyman

Daniel Licht

John Lunn

Jeff Beal


I'm sure there were some more... some video game composers especially...but I don't remember their names. And some more obscure names as well who composed scores for smaller documentaries and things like that.


What were your encounters like?



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*content below has a potential to appear twattish and masturbatory but we we have a strict non-refund policy (just in case)*   The title is pretty self-explanatory. It's amazing how thing ch

OK, so I've tried to assemble some information on this. It was more difficult than I had expected. This is what I could assemble on short notice. Again, it might come off as very "show-offy", and I ap

Seen from a distance (I was in the audience)   They were on stage at a concert John Williams David Newman Michael Giacchino Christopher Young Marco Beltrami

6 minutes ago, Ollie said:

Just John Williams and Michael Giacchino. 

Shook John Williams hand and thanked him for coming to Texas and probably some other silly fanboy stuff. He is as generous and humble as everyone says.


Chatted with Michael Giacchino after a concert in Dallas. Talked about his Star Trek (2009) score, at the time he told me JJ Abrams had already told him he was scoring Into Darkness and it would be official when he returned to LA. 

That's awesome dude. 


I also had a chance to briefly chat with Giacchino when he was in London to do Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness. He was really friendly and happy to chat to anyone. I remember asking him to sign my booklets for Super 8 and John Carter. Told him that I enjoyed the latter and it's a shame the film didn't do better. He said he really liked working on that one or something like that.



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Never got to meet JW but have seen him conduct three times 


Got an autograph from Howard Shore which I keep in my wallet. I felt a little bad about it because I was part of a big crowd swarming him after a Q&A, he’s so old and quiet! Seemed overwhelmed with the attention even though I know it wasn’t his first rodeo. I’m happy that I briefly got to say thanks for everything.  




Also Hummie Mann gave a guest lecture the year I studied music composition, got to talk to him a bit about the loneliness of the composer lifestyle which I was struggling with. 

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I asked two autographs in my life, and it was from my childhood hero, Patof.




Patof my best


Jacques Desrosiers




That last one is from 1995, one year before Jacques Desrosiers died of a bone and lung cancer. :(



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5 minutes ago, crocodile said:

That's awesome dude. 


I also had a chance to briefly chat with Giacchino when he was in London to do Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness. He was really friendly and happy to chat to anyone. I remember asking him to sign my booklets for Super 8 and John Carter. Told him that I enjoyed the latter and it's a shame the film didn't do better. He said he really liked working on that one or something like that.




He joked about about Carter’s box office during the concert. Tim Simonec conducted the first half of the concert and Giacchino conducted the rest after intermission.

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Oh gosh, a lot, especially if it includes interviews, meets AND concerts. I should probably do a tally at some point, although it will inevitably come off as a bit '"show-offy" with all the namedropping. I might chime in later, though.

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I very much wish this number were higher, but only one, and for me it's still a good one - Michael Giacchino.


Went to a double feature of Star Trek and Into Darkness Live in Houston. Since (I believe) it was the U.S. premiere, Giacchino was there both nights, did a little Q&A and a meet and greet. So I got a signed poster and a photo with him, chatted with him briefly as well. Cool experience!


I'd love to get a chance to meet Williams, but I can't imagine when that would be possible at this point. There's plenty others I'd love to meet as well.

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Not a huge number for me. Folks I've seen without talking to them:

  • John Williams
  • David Newman
  • Michael Giacchino

Actual conversations? Only Michael Giacchino, on a separate occasion. He wasn't in meet-'n'-greet mode and I considered not bothering him, but he wasn't busy and I know I'm not one to get awkwardly or unpleasantly starstruck. So I just mentioned that I enjoyed his work and we ended up chatting for maybe 5 minutes. Very personable, and very quick to praise the team he'd worked with on the project in question. Cool guy!

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While I have seen John Williams several times now (with David Newman conducting at times) at concerts, had Michael Giacchino respond to a tweet, had John Powell respond to a Instagram comment, chatted on Facebook with Bill Brown and Bruce Broughton, and had e-mails with Benjamin Bartlett... I have only truly met one composer. David Shire, composer of RETURN TO OZ. I went to a signing event when Intrada had their expanded release about 6 years ago now (wow... can't believe it was that long ago).


And here, the evidence! Ugh my shirt. Double ugh: my face. I need to work out again someday...





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Only in concert, but John Williams and David Newman at Williams’ annual concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Attended four separate years. Can’t remember if Newman helped conduct the first two times I attended, but he definitely did in 2017 and 2018. 

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I have been lucky enough to see lots of film composers without much effort really - a distinct advantage of living in London and being a fan of film music who likes going to concerts (when we were allowed to!).  My current list is as follows:


  1. Craig Armstrong
  2. David Arnold
  3. James Bernard
  4. Elmer Bernstein
  5. Peter Bernstein
  6. Ludovic Bource
  7. Dirk Brosse
  8. John Cameron
  9. John Carpenter
  10. Stewart Copeland
  11. Carl Davis
  12. Alexandre Desplat
  13. Patrick Doyle
  14. Anne Dudley
  15. Tan Dun
  16. Danny Elfman
  17. George Fenton *
  18. Anton Garcia Abril
  19. Michael Giacchino
  20. Philip Glass
  21. Nick Glennie-Smith
  22. Billy Goldenberg
  23. Jerry Goldsmith
  24. Harry Gregson-Williams
  25. Christopher Gunning
  26. Richard Harvey
  27. Nigel Hess
  28. James Horner *
  29. Quincy Jones
  30. Trevor Jones
  31. Jed Kurzel
  32. Michel Legrand
  33. Dario Marianelli
  34. Joel McNeely
  35. Ennio Morricone
  36. John Murphy
  37. David Newman
  38. Thomas Newman
  39. James Newton Howard *
  40. Michael Nyman
  41. John Ottman
  42. Carly Paradis
  43. Rachel Portman
  44. John Powell
  45. Andre Previn
  46. Steven Price
  47. Harry Rabinowitz
  48. Max Richter
  49. Lalo Schifrin
  50. John Scott
  51. Howard Shore *
  52. Brian Tyler *
  53. John Williams
  54. Austin Wintory
  55. Debbie Wiseman *
  56. Gabriel Yared
  57. Hans Zimmer


The ones with asterisks are the ones I have actually met and had a conversation with.  I could probably asterisk Nigel Hess too if "Is anyone sitting there, mate?" while clutching a bowl of soup counts as a conversation.  As you can see, I have numbered them and sorted them alphabetically by surname like an absolute streak of piss.


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You forgot that you had a conversation with Hans Zimmer too


On 10/12/2014 at 9:33 AM, Omen II said:

It's funny you should ask that, Steef.

So after the show I was making out with Samantha Barks under the Hammersmith Flyover when I hear, "Get a room, fun boys!" I look round and it's only Hans Zimmer himself with Satnam Ramgotra on their way to the after party at Just Falafel in the Broadway Shopping Centre. And then Satnam was all like, "Looking costs nothing!" and we was like all, "Behave yourself!" and that. Anyway we get talking and Hansi mentions that he is going to be doing a blu-ray of the concert and I'm like, "But I haven't even got a blu-ray player, you schwein!" and Samantha was like, "Yeah, he hasn't even got a blu-ray player, you shit!" Then Hans was like laughing and everything and goes, "Fair point, well made. DVD it is. Futures, brethren."

So that's why there will be a DVD release only. At least I think that's the reason.

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James Newton Howard

Alan Silvestri

Patrick Doyle

Daniel Pemberton

David Julyan (possibly the best interaction, from the little that I can remember)

Stephen Warbeck

Antonio Sanchez

Dirk Brosse


... all from my couple of visits to Ghent. Might be a couple more... I was wasted 90% of the time, as Thor can testify.


Craig Armstrong


... at a talk he did at the University of Aberdeen, when I studied there.

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I forgot to mention Dirk Brosse. Saw him when Star Wars A Musical Journey came thru Texas, didn’t get to meet him.


Tim Simonec was with Giacchino and was also available after the concert but I was a bit under the weather that night and there was someone who was chatting with him a bit longer than normal. I was ready to get back to my hotel room and wasn’t in the mood to stand around too much longer.

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John Williams -  at the concert (twice, Vienna)
James Newton Howard - at the concert (Warsaw)/ interview (Prague)
Hans Zimmer -  at the concert (Lodz)/ press meeting/interview (London)
Ennio Morricone - at the concert (three times in Krakow), I also had a telephone interview with him
Joe Hisaishi - at the concert (Krakow) / the next day a short meeting
Alexandre Desplat - at the concert (Krakow)/ the next day a short meeting, and a telephone interview a few weeks earlier
Howard Shore - at the concert he wasn't conducting (Krakow) plus a few other meetings over the years, including two interviews and a fan meeting I hosted
Jan A.P. Kaczmarek - a few meetings plus an interview (Warsaw)
Brian Tyler - at the concert (London, Krakow - as a quest) plus a short meeting and lecture
Shigeru Umebayashi - I remember having a drink with him at an afterparty in Krakow ;)
Craig Armstrong - A short meeting after a gala devoted to him in Krakow
Dirk Brossé -  at the concert (London)

Diego Navarro - we sat side by side on the bus that was taking the Krakow Film Music Festival guests from the concert to the afterparty and had a nice conversation from my point of view. I also had a telephone interview with him once
Tan Dun - I remember a brief meeting with him in Krakow 
Goran Bregovic - interview (Warsaw)


That's all I remember at the moment. If the question was about rock, pop or film stars, the list would be a hundred times longer 

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Elmer Bernstein (shook hands with him lefty to lefty and discussed conducting)

Bill Kraft (worked a concert with him where he was conducting a piece— we would chat while waiting for the late arriving musicians)

Raksin (taught film scoring for two quarters)

Also swapped some e-mails with Mrs. Silvestri.

Those are the names that immediately sprang to mind.



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Hans Zimmer: Conducting

Howard Shore: Conducting + photo + autograph

Dany Elfman: Conducting + autograph

James Newton Howard: Conducting

Joe Hisaishi: Conducting

Alexandre Desplat: Conducting



And last but not least, JOHN WIL…DIRK BROSSÉ!



I gave up on ever seing John Williams, let alone conducting. What I would truly love is for John Powell to come to France conduct 2 concerts, one of his film music and one of his Prussian requiem.

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"Only" John Williams conducting, twice in Vienna. 


I'm mostly a Williams music lover, not so much film music in general (even though I also like many scores by other composers). I've attended some film music concerts, but none of them conducted by a famous composer. 

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  • Jerry Goldsmith (3x in London with the LSO, 2001 & 2003) [A]
  • John Williams (2019 in Tanglewood, and 2x 2020 in Vienna)
  • Dirk Brossé (2x in London with the LSO, conducting Goldsmith in 2004 and Williams in 2018)

At Hollywood in Vienna:

  • David Arnold [A]
  • Nicholas Dodd [A]
  • Bruce Broughton (giving talks, not conducting) [A]
  • Howard Shore [A]
  • Alan Silvestri [A]
  • Lalo Schifrin [A]
  • James Horner [A]
  • Randy Newman (plus in an unrelated solo concert, also in Vienna) [A]
  • James Newton Howard [A]
  • Alexandre Desplat [A]
  • Danny Elfman
  • Hans Zimmer
  • Gabriel Yared
  • David Newman


  • Michael Nyman (performing solo piano in St. Pölten, and with the Michael Nyman Band in Vienna)
  • Ennio Morricone
  • Joe Kraemer


I've marked those whose autograph I got with [A]. I did not mark composers where I got the autograph independently (typically when the first batch of a limited release was autographed). I did count Goldsmith, who was to unwell to sign in person, but whose assistant collected CD covers during the first concert and returned them with autographs during the second concert the other day. All the other autographs were acquired in person, and those not marked with an [A] I didn't meet up close, unless mentioned below. Of those that I met for an autograph, Randy Newman easily was the funniest, chatting away and telling hilarious anecdotes while signing my CD covers (he signed The Princess and the Frog "Randy Princess Newman") and the stuff other people handed him.


Arnold, Dodd, and Broughton I met during the Film Music Symposium that's part of the Hollywood in Vienna circus, and/or at the rehearsals. Starting with Shore, they set up a table for a signing session each year, with people queuing and hectic organisation people causing stress (I'm not sure if everyone in the queue got an autograph before they hurried the stars to their next event). Shore was there with Doug Adams presenting Doug's then new book, but as the book wasn't yet available for purchase, they both signed my ROTK CR instead.


When Horner was here, they didn't do a signing session, presumably because Horner was so quiet and shy. But after his talk with Robert Townson, he happily signed away in the big crowd of people that was swarming him as he left the auditorium. The organisers weren't happy though (I guess they once again had a tight schedule and didn't plan for the guest of honour indulging his fans) and quickly ushered him out, though Horner tried to delay them and sign as much as possible. I didn't get through to him then, but met him the next day when Thor had an official interview with him at the hotel where Horner was staying and brought me along as a photographer, which gave me the opportunity to get my Sneakers CD signed afterwards.


Some of the Hollywood in Vienna guests also showed up at the rehearsals (until a few years ago you could just walk in there if you knew when & where they were and kept quiet). During the orchestra's break, Schifrin sat down at the piano and played some jazz improvisations.


Joe Kraemer I met when he was conducting a concert in Baden (Austria) as part of the annual Hollywood Music Workshop. Chris Afonso was taking part in the workshop and one day wore the "Music by John Williams" t-shirt I designed, so Joe asked him where he could get one. I sent him a link where he could order it and got a hug in return when I met him backstage.

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On stage at a concert:

John Williams - In 2013(Boston Symphony Hall), 2017 (Boston Symphony Hall), 2019 (Hollywood Bowl) and in 2020 (Vienna)
David Newman - In 2019 (Hollywood Bowl)
Michael Giacchino - In 2017 (Royal Albert Hall and 2019 (Royal Albert Hall)
James Newton Howard - In 2017 (Concertgebouw Amsterdam)
Ennio Morricone  - In 2016 (Ziggo Dome Amsterdam) and 2017 (Ahoy Rotterdam)
David Arnold - In 2019 (Royal Albert Hall)
Hans Zimmer - In 2016 (Ahoy Rotterdam)
David Arnold - In 2019 (Royal Albert Hall)
Brian Tyler - in 2018 (Royal Festival Hall)

Interaction with: 

John Williams
In Vienna I said to him, 'God bless you John'. His reply was,'Thank you', waved to me and stepped in the car:D

David Newman
Handshake, brief chat and a autograph. He was surprised that I want a autograph on my Jaws DVD. I said, 'I prefer a autograph of John but you are a good second'. He laughed, signed it and shook hands with me.  He was conducting first half of the Hollywood Bowl concert. 

Michael Giachinno
Autograph and a picture. 

James Newton Howard
Autograph and a picture. 

David Arnold
Autograph, handshake, brief chat about his music and a picture.

Brian Tyler
Autograph, brief chat about his music, handshake and a picture.  

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D'oh, I forgot Morricone (now added). Saw him the penultimate time he came to Vienna, during the world tour he had to cut short due to a back injury. He was already impaired at the time he came hear and stopped the tour soon afterwards. During the concert, they announced that because of the great demand and success, he was already scheduled to return a year later. "Yeah, sure" is what I thought, but he really did come back. Once was enough for me though - it was mostly the usual programme (as seen on countless other concert recordings) and the acoustics were bad. But it was absolutely wonderful to hear it once and see him live.

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I've met Mark Killian in person, in fact I attended a small social gathering with him one Christmas many years ago.


Guess he's not that well known but it's the closest I've been to seeing let alone interacting with any film composer (and probably will be the only opportunity I ever have). 


He seemed a very nice chap. We did not discuss film music at all though. He did mention he was working on the score to Traitor (starring Don Cheadle) at the time. Missed opportunity on my part.

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