From writing music for Hellraiser
, The Man Who Knew Too Little
, and Species
, to The Hurricane
, The Grudge
, Spider-Man 3
, Norma Jean & Marilyn
, and The Shipping News
, the Golden Globe-nominated composer Christopher Young
has a jaw-dropping number of features in almost every possible genre. Being one of the most successful composers in film music today, he was recently awarded BMI's prestigious Richard Kirk Career Achievement Award (past recipients include Danny Elfman, John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith).
Christopher has taught film scoring for over ten years, a two-term past president of The Film Music Society and the president of the Madrid Film Music Festival in Spain, and is currently teaching at USC Thornton School of Music Screen Scoring program.
Christopher Young didn't plan on becoming a film composer from the start. "At the time, I was a drummer, and I often humorously said that I'm upset with God for not making me Ringo Starr because I wanted to be one of the Beatles so badly," he recalls. Starting to play music at the age of seven, the more time he spent behind the drum set, the more he became interested in jazz. "I [went] to Berklee for a summer, and it was a life changer — I got the chance to study with Alan Dawson, Dave Brubeck's second drummer," the composer continues. However, after the program ended, the instrumentalist told Christopher that he didn't see much future as a drummer for the young musician.
Feeling depressed and being on Boylston street, which is where Berklee is located, he noticed a freeway crossover: "not that I was going to jump or anything like that", but it was a bad day and the question of what he's going to do next couldn't leave him. Around the same time, the composer started thinking of not just rhythmic ideas, but also melodic and harmonic ones, and decided to give arranging a try. "I was in a jazz band, so I could arrange, write, and voice choirs," he explains. "After I got into writing, I was [trying to] figure out what [my] voice was, and there seemed to be a consistency in everything I was doing — I was trying to capture this sense of mystery, the darker invisible world of nighttime, and all that wonderful intangible stuff."