15 17 Oct '24

Elliot Goldenthal to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at 24th World Soundtrack Awards

Elliot Goldenthal copyright Marco Guerra
News 25 Apr 2024
American composer Elliot Goldenthal will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 24th World Soundtrack Awards, Film Fest Gent’s annual film music prizes. Most renowned for his Oscar, Golden Globe, and WSA-winning score for Frida, Goldenthal’s career encompasses a rich variety of film scores, including Interview with the Vampire, Heat, Batman Forever, Michael Collins, Titus, and Across the Universe.

Elliot Goldenthal, who turns 70 this year, will be presented with his award on 16 October 2024, at Muziekcentrum De Bijloke at the WSA Ceremony & Concert. During this concert, a selection of Elliot Goldenthal’s work will be performed by the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by maestro Dirk Brossé. Goldenthal made his first visit to the WSA in 2000 for his score for Titus (1999) together with director Julie Taymor, when the film premiered at Film Fest Gent. In 2003, Goldenthal returned to Ghent, winning the WSAwards for ‘Soundtrack Composer’ and ‘Best Soundtrack of the Year’ for Frida (2002). Eight years later, he was one of the distinguished guests at the 11th World Soundtrack Awards alongside fellow Oscar winners Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer and Giorgio Moroder.

Elliot Goldenthal's passion for music manifested from an early age. Raised in a multicultural neighborhood in New York City, he was exposed to a diverse array of musical cultures and genres, fostering his love for music. Goldenthal studied piano and trumpet and played a lot of jazz and rock. His talent brought him to the Manhattan School of Music, where composers John Corigliano and Aaron Copland were his mentors. There, he earned his Bachelor of Music in 1977, followed by a Master of Music two years later.

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Elliot Goldenthal in Ghent with Giorgio Moroder, Dirk Brossé, Hans Zimmer and Abel Korzeniowski in 2011.

Recognised for his fusion of orchestral, jazz, rock, and electronic elements, Goldenthal's scores are distinguished by experimental and unconventional techniques, blending tonal and atonal harmony. In addition, he enriches his film scores with electronic and ethnic influences, aiming to enhance actors’ performances and illuminate narrative nuances. His first WSA nomination came in 2002 for ‘Best Original Song’ with “The Dream Within” from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001).

In addition to composing for film, Goldenthal also composes music for orchestra, theater, opera and ballet. His opera Grendel (2006) earned him a finalist spot for the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He wrote music for the ballet production Othello (1997), William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (2013) and the musicals The Green Bird (1999) and Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass (1988). The latter earned him five Tony nominations. Since the 1980s, Goldenthal has worked extensively with his artistic and life partner Julie Taymor. In addition to Grendel and Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass, Goldenthal composed for several films directed by Taymor, such as Titus (1999), Across The Universe (2007) and The Tempest (2010). Frida, arguably their most celebrated collaboration, earned him an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and two World Soundtrack Awards. Goldenthal also received a nomination for ‘Best Original Song’ at both the WSA and the Oscars for “Burn it Blue”, performed by Caetano Veloso and Lila Downs in Frida, with lyrics written by Taymor. He received further Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, for his work on films like Interview with the Vampire (1994) and Michael Collins (1996), both directed by Neil Jordan.

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"It is a great honour to receive the 2024 World Soundtrack Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. I have a long association with both the Awards and with Maestro Dirk Brossé. Both have been preeminent forces in preservation and the celebration of film music and its history. To see the list of past recipients, of many composers that I have esteemed in the realm of film music, is a great tribute to the art form. Any composer would be honored to be counted among them."
Elliot Goldenthal

Goldenthal's notable scores also include Michael Mann’s Heat (1995) and Public Enemies (2009), Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy (1989), David Fincher’s Alien³ (1992) and Neil Jordan’s The Butcher Boy (1997). More recently he worked on the Netflix film Our Souls at Night (2017), Julie Taymor's The Glorias (2020) and the theatrical production M. Butterfly (2017) starring Clive Owen. Goldenthal’s contributions have been acknowledged with inductions into the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Hall of Fame and the receipt of the ASCAP Founders Awards in Los Angeles. He is currently working with Julie Taymor on a new musical.


Elliot Goldenthal will receive his award during the World Soundtrack Awards Ceremony & Concert, which will take place on 16 October 2024 at Muziekcentrum De Bijloke in Ghent.



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