O, Canada: Howard Shore, Film Composer

This post is part of the O Canada Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Kristina of Speakeasy.


Howard Shore was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on October 18th, 1946. Over the course of his career, Shore has composed the music for over eighty films, most notably for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.


After learning to play music at an early age, Shore studied music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. His first film score was created for a low-budget thriller entitled I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses (1978). The next year, he scored David Cronenberg’s first major film The Brood (1979), which established a working relationship between the two (Shore has since composed the music for all but one of Cronenberg’s films).

In the 1990s, Shore composed the music to the breakout hit The Silence of the Lambs (1991), for which he received his first BAFTA nomination. During this decade he also composed the music for Philadelphia (1993) (for which Tom Hanks earned his first Oscar),                   M. Butterfly (1993) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) (a film I enjoy and never knew that Shore composed the music for until now!)


This is the film series that brought Shore to international attention

The composer received international fame with his scores for The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003). His score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) earned him his first Oscar as well as a Grammy Award (plus BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations). Two years later, Shore received two additional Oscars: one for his score for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) and an Oscar for Best Original Song for “Into the West” (the song that plays over the closing credits of the final film). In the 2000’s, Shore also contributed a score to the Twilight Saga, scoring The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010).

Besides his collaboration with Cronenberg, Howard Shore has also collaborated with director  Martin Scorsese on multiple occasions, including writing the scores for: After Hours (1985), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006) and Hugo (2011).


Howard Shore is also noted for creating a concert arrangement of his scores for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Entitled The Lord of the Rings: Symphony in Six Movements, Shore created two movements for each film and since 2004, the production has toured the world (to universal acclaim). Naturally, when Peter Jackson announced that he was adapting The Hobbit to film, Shore was brought in to score that trilogy as well.

Shore has also worked in television music, and is responsible for penning the original theme song for Saturday Night Live, as well as co-writing the theme song for Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

Thus far in his lengthy career, Shore has received four Academy Award nominations (winning three), six Golden Globe nominations (also winning three), three consecutive Grammy Awards, and five BAFTA nominations. Given that Shore is only 69, one hopes that he will be able to compose the scores for many films to come. Thank you Canada for giving us Howard Shore.

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11 thoughts on “O, Canada: Howard Shore, Film Composer

  1. Pingback: O Canada Blogathon – Day 1 Recap – Silver Screenings

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