Thomas Newman


August 15, 2022

Thomas Montgomery Newman (Los Angeles, California, October 20, 1955) is an American composer.[1] He is a member of one of the best-known families of film composers in Hollywood. Son of the composer Alfred Newman (1901-1970) (who composed the music for films such as The Battle of Midway, Flicka, Bernadette's Song, Gentleman's Agreement, All About Eve and The Robe) and his wife Martha Louise.[2]​ His uncle Lionel Newman composed Hello, Dolly!, his brother David Newman has scored movies like Daddy Day Care, Smoochy or Ice Age and his cousin Randy Newman is a well-known composer. As a young man, Thomas studied piano and violin. As an adult, he entered the University of Southern California, where he studied composition and orchestration with Rederick Lesmann and David Raksin. He also studied at Yale University, where he earned a Master's Degree in composition, alongside Jacob Druckman, Robert Moore, and Bruce MacCombie.[3] In 1984 he began his composing career with his music for the film Reckless. Newman had great success in 1994, when he was twice nominated for an Oscar for his music for the films Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption.[4][5] One of the musical characteristics of Thomas Newman is his continuous change of styles, going from the acclaimed American Beauty, in which he made use of various instruments in a rhythmic style with some minimalist pieces, to other soundtracks in which he makes use of the orchestra. He has been nominated thirteen times for an Oscar in the category of Best Soundtrack and once in the category of Best Original Song, although to date he has not won.[6]


Many of Newman's compositions are primarily electronic. From 1991 his compositions become more orchestral, as for example in 'The Rapture'. He often uses unconventional instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy, mandolin, tabla, xaphoon or saz. For the composition of the film 'American Beauty', Newman uses many types of exotic and traditional instruments, such as the khim (a certain type of drum), which is supported by piano and flute music. However, he also makes compositions of a conventional nature, such as that of the films 'The Shawshank Redemption' or 'Road to Perdition'. In addition, he uses different types of percussion, as well as different melodies from classical music, popular music, and jazz.[5][3]

Basic Filmography



External Links

Thomas Newman at the Internet Movie Database.