Carter Benedict Burwell (born November 18, 1954) is an American composer of film scores. He has consistently collaborated with the Coen brothers, having scored 16 of their films, including Blood Simple, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men, and, most recently, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Burwell has also scored three of Todd Haynes' films and all the films of director Martin McDonagh. He has received Oscar nominations for Best Original Score for Haynes' Carol (2015) and McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).
|Birth name||Carter Benedict Burwell|
|Born||November 18, 1954|
New York City, New York, United States
Other notable film scores include the Spike Jonze films Being John Malkovich (1999), Adaptation (2002), and Where the Wild Things Are (2009), David O. Russell's Three Kings (1999), Lisa Cholodenko's Olive Kitteridge (2014), and Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa (2015).
Early life and education
Burwell was born in New York City, the son of Natalie (née Benedict), a math teacher, and Charles Burwell, who founded Thaibok Fabrics, Ltd. He graduated from King School in Stamford, Connecticut with George Hofecker and other notables and Harvard College, where he was a cartoonist for The Harvard Lampoon.
As a film composer, Burwell has had a long-working relationship with the Coen brothers, providing music for every film they have made (except for O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Inside Llewyn Davis, which had folk music soundtracks produced by T-Bone Burnett). He enjoys working with left-field directors, such as Spike Jonze. Among his best known film scores are Miller's Crossing (1990), And the Band Played On (1993), Conspiracy Theory (1997), Hamlet (2000), The Spanish Prisoner (1997), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), In Bruges (2008), Twilight (2008), Where the Wild Things Are (2009), The Blind Side (2009), and Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011). Burwell wrote and recorded the original score for the film The Bourne Identity, but his version was replaced by director Doug Liman for one by John Powell.
Ultimately the ethos of the punk rock movement gave Burwell the impetus to start performing. He performed in New York with several bands, notably The Same, Thick Pigeon, and Radiante. Burwell played in Thick Pigeon with Stanton Miranda; the group released two albums, Too Crazy Cowboys (Factory) and tracks on Miranda Dali (Crepuscule), originally released as a Miranda solo project but later reissued as a Thick Pigeon release. On Burwell's soundtrack for Psycho III, Miranda was a featured singer.
By 1986 he had composed the music for a dance piece, RAB, which premiered at the Avignon Festival. At the same time, he was touring worldwide with The Harmonic Choir, David Hykes' experimental vocal group, which specialized in overtone singing.
His work has alternated between live performance, dance and theater commissions, and film scoring. His chamber opera, The Celestial Alphabet Event, was presented in New York in 1991, and other theater pieces include Mother (1994) and Lucia's Chapters (2007), both with the experimental theater group Mabou Mines.
In April 2005 Burwell composed and conducted music performed by The Parabola Ensemble for the plays Sawbones, written and directed by the Coen brothers, Hope Leaves the Theater, written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, and Anomalisa, written and directed by Kaufman as Francis Fregoli. This was a segment of the sound-only production "Theater of the New Ear", which debuted at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, with support from Sirius Satellite Radio. It was also performed at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England, in May 2005, and at Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California, in September 2005, as part of the UCLA Live Festival.
In 2009, Burwell was the recipient of the ASCAP Henry Mancini Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. In 2010, he was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score for Where the Wild Things Are.
In 2015, he received the Distinguished Film Composer award from the Middleburg Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association award for Best Music Score for Anomalisa and Carol. He was nominated for the Annie Award for Music in an Animated Feature Production for Anomalisa and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score for Carol. In 2016, he received the Satellite Award for Best Original Score and the Best Score award by the International Cinephile Society for Carol. Burwell was awarded Film Composer of the Year by the World Soundtrack Awards, and the score for Carol received the Public Choice Award for the Best Score of the Year.
Burwell married Christine Sciulli in 1999.
|1990-91||Clash!||Ha! / Comedy Central||Main title theme|
|1993||And the Band Played On||HBO||Television film|
|2011||Mildred Pierce||Miniseries; 5 episodes|
|2014||Olive Kitteridge||Miniseries; 4 episodes|
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- World Soundtrack Awards (October 19, 2016). "Winners of the 16th World Soundtrack Awards". World Soundtrack Academy. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
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