: (updated 2009-03-05)
Born 18th September 1963, John Powell is a native of England. At the age of 7, he started training as a classical violinist and wouldn't listen to, or play anything but that until he was about 12 years old. He then started venturing into jazz and rock and roll, and played in the 60's soul band, The Fabulistics. While Katchaturin and Sibelius rank as two of his favourite classical composers, he still nowadays likes listening to Motown and Stax soul music from the 60's.
At the age of 18, he switched the violin for the viola in order to gain entrance to London's Trinity College of Music. During his time at Trinity, he won the John Halford and the Boosey and Hawkes Bursary Music awards for composition. He also joined performance art group Media Arts, and teamed up with Gavin Greenaway to compose music for installation art pieces created by artist Michael Petry, whose work went on display in Europe, Asia and America.
After graduating, Powell landed a job composing music for television and commercials at Air-Edel music in London. While there, he served as assistant composer on Patrick Doyle's 'Into The West' and 'Much Ado About Nothing' and Hans Zimmer on 'White Fang'. At this point, Powell also began his solo career, scoring independent films such as 'The Tourist' and 'Salinas', and TV projects such as 'The Vanishing Rembrandts' and ''Stay Lucky''.
In 1995, Powell left Air-Edel, and with Greenaway, co-founded the London-based music producer, Independently Thinking Music. While there, both composed music for more than 100 British and French commercials as well as several independent films, winning several 'best soundtrack' awards in the process. Among their commercial credits were BMW, Coca-Cola, Ford and Sega.
One of the last things Powell did while in Britain was co-compose a 70-minute opera with Greenaway and Petry, titled, 'An Englishman, An Irishman and a Frenchman'. It premiered in Bonn, Germany for an AIDS benefit. Powell and Greenaway began writing two more operas, but it is unknown whether they were ever completed or performed.
In 1997, Powell moved to Los Angeles to tackle more demanding projects. Getting in contact with Zimmer again, Powell, later joined by Greenaway, joined Media Ventures - which some like to call 'a composer factory'. He immediately scored two DreamWorks TV projects: the second season of Steven Spielberg's crime drama, 'High Incident' and the pilot to 'For The People'. Other projects also included arranging songs for 'The Prince Of Egypt'.
It was Powell's score to the John Travolta and Nicholas Cage thriller 'Face/Off' that really began his career as a film composer. Writing just under two hours of music, Powell managed to create a highly acclaimed-score, and add a heightened state of tension to the film.
After this came the Italian-inspired music of 'With Friends Like These', and 'Antz', his first joint-effort with Harry Gregson-Williams. The two would later on team-up again on 'Chicken Run' and 'Shrek'.
Since leaving Media Ventures (now known as Remote Control Productions) and now working from his home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, Powell has composed numerous, highly-acclaimed scores to other film such as: 'Agent Cody Banks', 'Evolution', 'Happy Feet', 'Horton Hears A Who!', 'I Am Sam', 'Ice Age: The Meltdown', 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith', 'Paycheck', 'The Bourne Identity', 'The Bourne Supremacy', 'The Bourne Ultimatum' 'The Italian Job', 'United 93', 'X-Men: The Last Stand', and more recently: 'Kung Fu Panda', 'Hancock' and 'Bolt'.