Danny Elfman (1953) is the final American composer we’ll look at this month on Clef Notes. Known for his film scores, Elfman got a late start in composition. It wasn’t until the 1970s when he was in Paris with his older brother that the two formed a music group known as “Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo.” Elfman’s work with this group made him realize that he not only had an interest in writing music, but was rather good at it.
Film director Tim Burton happened to be a fan of Oingo Boingo, and eventually became acquainted with Elfman and asked him to collaborate on Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985). This was the start of a lasting relationship between Elfman and Burton, the composer writing music for hits such as Beetlejuice (1988), Batman (1989), and Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
But does Elfman compose anything besides scores for monster and superhero films? Check out his score to Good Will Hunting (1997), one of my personal favorites.