Michael Giacchino (Italian Pronunciation [dʒaˈkkino]) (born 1967, Riverside Township, New Jersey) is an Academy Award-nominated American soundtrack composer who has composed several multi-award winning scores for many popular movies, television series and video games. His scores are notable for their use of brass. Giacchino grew up in Edgewater Park Township, New Jersey and graduated from Holy Cross High School in Delran, New Jersey. He attended the Evening Division at the Juilliard School; as well as the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he acquired a degree in film production and a minor degree in History.
In Video Games
Giacchino's first major composition was for the DreamWorks video game adaptation of the 1997 movie, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The video game was the first PlayStation- (also on Sega Saturn) console title to be recorded with an original live orchestral score. Giacchino has since continued his relationship with DreamWorks, providing full orchestral scores for many of their popular videogames. Giacchino's award-winning compositions covers the first three Medal of Honor series, (Underground, Allied Assault and Frontline, along with the original Medal of Honor), and also the scores for several other World War II-related video games like Secret Weapons Over Normandy, Call of Duty and Call of Duty: Finest Hour. Additionally, Giacchino composed themes for The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer, and co-wrote the theme of Black with composer Chris Tilton. He also composed the score for Alias, which was based on the television series of the same name. Michael has not been composing full soundtracks for video games in the past few years, but he is now going back to his roots as he is scheduled to score the music for a brand new world war II video game, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. Electronic Arts has announced that Michael has returned to the Medal of Honor franchise as he has composed the music for Medal of Honor: Airborne.
In Film and Television
Giacchino's work on the various video games led to his first work on television. In 2001, J.J. Abrams, producer of the television series Alias, discovered Giacchino through his work on the video games and tapped Giacchino to provide the new show's soundtrack. The soundtrack featured a mix of full orchestral pieces, often mixed with upbeat electronic music, a departure from much of his previous work. Giacchino would also provide the score for J.J. Abrams's project, the 2004 television series, Lost, which was an acclaimed soundtrack that used a unique process of using spare pieces of a plane fuselage for the percussions. His score for Lost is notable for a signature thematic motif - a brass fall-off at the end of certain themes. In 2004, Giacchino was given his first big feature film composition, when he was called on to provide the soundtrack for the Pixar film, The Incredibles. Director Brad Bird had heard Giacchino's work on Alias and asked him to work on the soundtrack for the new movie. The upbeat jazz orchestral sound was a departure in sound not only for Giacchino but for Pixar, who had previously relied on the works of Randy and Thomas Newman for all of their previous films. Brad Bird had originally sought out John Barry, who was best known for composing many of the early James Bond movie soundtracks, to compose the music, but was reportedly unwilling to write music for an animated movie. Giacchino was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2005 for his work The Incredibles: Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media and Best Instrumental Composition. Giacchino also composed scores for the 2005 films, Sky High and The Family Stone, and the television movie, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. In addition, he wrote the music for Joseph Barbera's final theatrical Tom and Jerry cartoon: The KarateGuard, premiering in Los Angeles theatres on September 27, 2005. Giacchino also composed the score for the movie Mission: Impossible III, directed by J. J. Abrams, which was released on May 5, 2006. Giacchino's latest musical achievement is his Paris-inspired score for the newest Disney-Pixar film, Ratatouille, which includes the theme song, Le Festin performed by French artist Camille. He has received his first Academy Award nomination for this score. His latest soundtrack was for Speed Racer.
Giacchino has continued his collaboration with J. J. Abrams. He wrote an homage to Japanese monster scores in an overture entitled "ROAR!" which played over the credits of the Abrams-produced monster movie Cloverfield. It was the only original music for the entire film. Giacchino is also scheduled to score Abrams' upcoming Star Trek film.
Giacchino has constantly made references to previous tracks on his scores. For example, there is a track in The Incredibles score called "100 Mile Dash", and the CD with the score from Ratatouille has another track entitled "100 Rat Dash". Also, the Lost first score CD has a track entitled "World's Worst Beach Party", the Mission: Impossible III soundtrack has the track entitled "World’s Worst Last 4 Minutes To Live" and the Speed Racer score has a track entitled "World's Worst Road Rage".
In addition to his long list of soundtracks, in 2005 Giacchino collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering in creating two new soundtracks for the updated versions of Space Mountain at Disneyland, Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris, and Space Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland. Giacchino was also contracted by Sarah Vowell, who played character Violet in The Incredibles, to compose the score to the audio version of her book Assassination Vacation.