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Michael Giacchino

Michael Giacchino
File:Michael Giacchino.jpg
Giacchino, with his sister Maria,[citation needed] at the 2010 Academy Awards
Born 1968
Riverside Township, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Film, television, and video game score composer
Years active 1994–present

Michael Giacchino (Italian pronunciation: [dʒakˈkiːno]) is an American composer who has composed scores for movies, television series and video games. Some of his most notable works include the scores to television series such as Lost, Alias and Fringe, games such as the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty series, and films such as Mission: Impossible III, The Incredibles, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Cloverfield, Ratatouille, Up, Super 8, Cars 2, 50/50, John Carter, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Giacchino has received numerous awards for his work, including an Emmy, multiple Grammys, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award.

Early life

Giacchino was born in Riverside Township, New Jersey. His father's ancestors came from Sicily and his mother's ancestors immigrated from Abruzzo in Southern Italy; he holds dual American and Italian citizenship.[1] Giacchino grew up in Edgewater Park Township, New Jersey[2] and graduated in 1986 from Holy Cross High School in Delran Township, New Jersey.[3]

Giacchino began combining images and music at age 10, when he began creating stop-motion animation with homemade soundtracks in his basement. While in high school, an art teacher who mentored Giacchino recommended to his parents that he attend the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Giacchino describes visiting the school with his parents thus:[4]

I thought, wow, this is fantastic. They actually have colleges like this? Where I can do the things that I am really interested in doing? That was amazing to me. I loved SVA. I loved the kind of freedom that it provided. It was kind of like this great experiment-okay, you're here because you like something. So let's see how much you like it. We're not going to regulate you too much. We're going to see how passionate and driven you are, and how much you want this thing.[4]

Giacchino enrolled at SVA, majoring in film production and minoring in history. During his final year at SVA, his instructor in film publicity announced an unpaid internship was available at Universal Pictures. Giacchino, who was the only one interested, obtained the six-month position, which he filled at night while attending school during the day and working at Macy's to pay his rent. He graduated from SVA in 1990 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, after which he took music classes at the Juilliard School.[4][5][6]


Video games

When Giacchino's internship ended, Universal hired him, giving him a job upon graduation from college. He later moved to Disney, and when Disney relocated to Los Angeles, Giacchino moved with them, working in publicity, while taking night classes in instrumentation and orchestration at UCLA. His work for Disney had him interacting with the various personnel who worked in films, such as the producers who hired composers, so when a job at Disney Interactive opened for a producer, Giacchino obtained the job, thinking he could hire himself to write music for the games he produced.[4][5][6]

Giacchino's composition work for Disney Interactive during the 16-bit era included the Sega Genesis game Gargoyles, the SNES game Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow and the various console versions of The Lion King.[7] However his first major composition was for the DreamWorks video game adaptation of the 1997 movie, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.[8] The video game was one of 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 which also included composing the score for the Small Soldiers (video game) in 1998, providing full orchestral scores for many of their popular videogames. He also worked with Pandemic studios to create the theme for Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. 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 Heroes: 2), 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.[9] Additionally, Giacchino composed themes for The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer, and co-wrote the theme of Black with composer Chris Tilton.[10] He also composed the score for Alias, which was based on the television series of the same name. In 2008 Giacchino wrote music for Turning Point: Fall of Liberty.[11] In 2007, he returned to the Medal of Honor franchise as he composed the music for Medal of Honor: Airborne.[12]

Film and television

Giacchino's work on various video games led to his entrance into television.

In 2001, J. J. Abrams, producer of the television series Alias, discovered Giacchino through his video game work and asked him to provide the new show's soundtrack. The soundtrack featured a mix of full orchestral pieces frequently intermingled with upbeat electronic music, a departure from much of his previous work. Giacchino would go on to provide the score for J.J. Abrams's 2004 television series Lost,[13] creating an acclaimed score which employed a unique process of using spare pieces of a plane fuselage for percussion parts. The score for Lost is also notable for a signature thematic motif: a brass fall-off at the end of certain themes.[14] Just like his counterpart Stu Phillips, he worked with the television show creator Abrams on his shows with his music scores while Abrams supplied the show's main themes on his certain shows such as Alias.

In 2004, Giacchino received his first big feature film commission. Brad Bird, director of Pixar's The Incredibles, asked Giacchino to provide the soundtrack for the film after having heard his work on Alias.[15] The upbeat jazz orchestral sound was a departure in style not only for Giacchino but for Pixar, which had previously relied on Randy and Thomas Newman for all of its films. Director Brad Bird had originally sought out John Barry – perhaps best known for his work on the early James Bond films—but Barry was reportedly unwilling to repeat the styles of his earlier works.[16]

Giacchino was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2005 for The Incredibles: Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media and Best Instrumental Composition.[17]

Like his other counterparts Joel McNeely, J. A. C. Redford and Frank DeVol, Giacchino mostly associated with Disney from early in his career up to most recently, ranging from video games such as Mickey Mania and Gargoyles to films such as The Incredibles and eventually collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering in creating two new soundtracks for the updated versions of Space Mountain at Disneyland, Space Mountain: Mission 2 at Disneyland Paris, and Space Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland.[18]

Giacchino also composed scores for the 2005 films Sky High and The Family Stone, and the television movie The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. Additionally, he wrote the music for Joseph Barbera's final theatrical Tom and Jerry cartoon The Karate Guard, and scored the Abrams-directed 2006 film Mission: Impossible III.[19] Giacchino's next musical achievement was his Paris-inspired score for the Disney-Pixar film Ratatouille, which includes the theme song "Le Festin", performed by French artist Camille. He received his first Academy Award nomination for this score. He also created the score for Abrams' 2009 Star Trek film.

Giacchino scored the Pixar film Up (and its accompanying animated short Partly Cloudy), for which he collaborated with director Pete Docter. This marked the first time Giacchino worked with a Pixar director other than Brad Bird. This work gained Giacchino his first Academy Award for Best Original Score: the first-ever win for Pixar in that category. Giacchino notes that he won on the same night as his SVA classmate Joel Harlow won for Best Makeup Oscar for Star Trek.[4]

Giacchino has continued his collaboration with J. J. Abrams. For the Abrams-produced monster film Cloverfield, Giacchino wrote an homage to Japanese monster scores in an overture entitled "ROAR!", which played over the credits (and which constituted the only original music for the film). He composed for the pilot of the new Abrams series Fringe, after which Giacchino gave scoring duties to his assistant Chad Seiter (who scored the first half of season one), and then Chris Tilton (who scored the latter half of season one and everything after that).

Giacchino has frequently referenced previous work; both in style and naming. Giacchino used themes from the track "U-Boat" from the Medal of Honor soundtrack in the tracks "Sawyer Jones and the Temple of Boom" and "Sub-Primed" from the 5th and 6th season Lost soundtracks as the submarine motif. In terms of naming, the score for The Incredibles contains a piece named "100 Mile Dash", and the album with the score from Ratatouille has a track entitled "100 Rat Dash". Another series of examples: "World's Worst Beach Party" from the first Lost album, "World's Worst Last 4 Minutes To Live" from the Mission: Impossible III soundtrack, "Galaxy's Worst Sushi Bar" from Star Trek (2010 deluxe release), "World's Worst Landscaping" from the second Lost album, "World's Worst Car Wash" from the soundtrack album Lost: The Final Season, and "World's Worst Field Trip" from the soundtrack of Super 8. The soundtrack for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol also has a track titled "World's Worst Parking Valet". Inversely, the score for Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction has a track entitled "World's Best Carpool Lane"; the Speed Racer score has tracks entitled "World's Best Autopia" and "World's Worst Road Rage." Giacchino did music for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and will do so for Jurassic World.[20][21]

Additional compositions

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: Mission 2 at Disneyland Paris, and Space Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland.[18] 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. Michael Giacchino's music can also be heard in "Star Tours: The Adventure Continues" during the "travel log videos" shown in the queue line for both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World versions of the attraction.

In 2009, he was asked to conduct the Academy Awards orchestra for the 81st Academy Awards. For this project he rearranged many famous movie themes in different styles, including a 1930s Big Band treatment of Lawrence of Arabia and a bossa nova of Moon River. Giacchino also composed the fanfare for the 100th Anniversary logo for Paramount Pictures.

Awards, nominations and recognition




  • The score for Season 1 of Lost was cited by New Yorker music critic Alex Ross as "some of the most compelling film music of the past year."[23]


Sample of brass fall-off from the first season finale of Lost

Sample of Mission: Impossible theme in Mission: Impossible III (based on the original theme by Lalo Schifrin)

Problems playing these files? See media help.


Year Title Director Studio Notes
1997 Legal Deceit Monika Harris Spectrum Entertain N/A
1999 My Brother the Pig Erik Fleming Unapix Productions N/A
2001 The Trouble With Lou Gregor Joackim Two Loose Cannons N/A
2003 Sin Michael Stevens Singular Pictures N/A
2004 The Incredibles Brad Bird Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album
Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition
2005 Sky High Mike Mitchell Walt Disney Pictures N/A
2005 The Muppets' Wizard of Oz Kirk Thatcher Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment TV Movie
2005 The Family Stone Thomas Bezucha 20th Century Fox N/A
2006 Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World Albert Brooks Warner Independent Pictures N/A
2006 Mission: Impossible III J.J. Abrams Paramount Pictures First film with J.J. Abrams
2007 Ratatouille Brad Bird Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album
Nominated for a Academy Award for Best Original Score
2008 Cloverfield Matt Reeves Paramount Pictures Credited as 'Written by"
Only composed "Roar!" for ending credits
2008 Speed Racer The Wachowskis Warner Bros. Pictures N/A
2009 Star Trek J.J. Abrams Paramount Pictures Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album
2009 Up Pete Docter Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Academy Award for Best Original Score
BAFTA Award for Best Music
Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album
Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition
Golden Globe Award for Best Original ScoreUp
2009 Land of the Lost Brad Silberling Universal Pictures N/A
2009 Earth Days Robert Stone Zeitgeist Films Documentary Film
2010 Let Me In Matt Reeves Overture Films N/A
2011 Cars 2 John Lasseter Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
2011 Super 8 J.J. Abrams Paramount Pictures N/A
2011 Monte Carlo Thomas Bezucha 20th Century Fox N/A
2011 50/50 Jonathan Levine Summit Entertainment N/A
2011 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Brad Bird Paramount Pictures N/A
2012 John Carter Andrew Stanton Walt Disney Pictures N/A
2013 Star Trek Into Darkness J.J. Abrams Paramount Pictures N/A
2014 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes[20] Matt Reeves 20th Century Fox N/A
2014 This Is Where I Leave You Shawn Levy Warner Bros. Pictures N/A
2015 Jupiter Ascending[24] The Wachowskis Warner Bros. Pictures N/A
2015 Tomorrowland[24] Brad Bird Walt Disney Pictures N/A
2015 Jurassic World[21] Colin Trevorrow Universal Pictures N/A
2015 Inside Out Pete Docter Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
2015 Xmas Jonathan Levine Columbia Pictures N/A
2015 Joy David O. Russell 20th Century Fox N/A

Video games

Title Year Notes
Mickey Mania 1994 Additional compositions
Gargoyles 1995
Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow 1995
The Lost World: Jurassic Park 1997 Dreamworks Interactive Production
Chaos Island 1997 Dreamworks Interactive Production
Small Soldiers 1998 Dreamworks Interactive Production
Small Soldiers: Squad Commander 1998 Dreamworks Interactive Production
T'ai Fu: Wrath of the Tiger 1999 Dreamworks Interactive Production
Warpath: Jurassic Park 1999 Dreamworks Interactive Production
Medal of Honor 1999 Dreamworks Interactive Production
Muppet Monster Adventure 2000 Magenta Software Production
Muppet RaceMania 2000 Traveller's Tales Production
Medal of Honor: Underground 2000 Dreamworks Interactive Production
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault 2002 2015, Inc./EA Los Angeles Production
Medal of Honor: Frontline 2002 EA Los Angeles Production
Call of Duty 2003 Infinity Ward Production
Secret Weapons Over Normandy 2003
Call of Duty: Finest Hour 2004
Alias 2004
The Incredibles 2004
Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction 2005
Black 2006
Medal of Honor: Vanguard 2007 EA Los Angeles Production
Medal of Honor: Airborne 2007 EA Los Angeles Production
Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 2007 EA Canada Production
Lost: Via Domus 2008 Bad Robot Production
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty 2008
Fracture 2008 Only producer - Music composed by Chris Tilton and Chad Seiter
Star Trek 2013 Music composed by Chad Seiter - Original theme by Michael Giacchino


Title Year Notes
Alias 2001–2006 Bad Robot Productions
Lost 2004–2010
Six Degrees 2006–2007
Fringe 2008 (co-composer of the first season with Chris Tilton and Chad Seiter)
Undercovers 2010 (Pilot only)
Alcatraz 2012 (Pilot only)

Short films and other works

Title Year Notes
No Salida 1998 Short film
String Of The Kite 2003 Short film
Space Mountain at Disneyland 2005 Theme park attraction
Space Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland 2005 Theme park attraction
Space Mountain: Mission 2 at Disneyland Paris 2005 Theme Park attraction
The Karate Guard 2005 Short film
One Man Band 2005 Short film
Jack-Jack Attack 2005 Short film
Lifted 2006 Short film
How to Hook Up Your Home Theater 2007 Short film
81st Academy Awards 2009 Awards ceremony, conductor
Partly Cloudy 2009 Short film
Dug's Special Mission 2009 Short film (edited from Up)
Prep & Landing 2009 TV Christmas Special
Day & Night 2010 Short film
Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom 2010 Theme park attraction
Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa 2010 Short film
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios 2011 Theme park attraction
The Ballad of Nessie 2011 Short film
Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice 2011 TV Christmas special
La Luna 2011 Short film
Toy Story of Terror! 2013 TV Halloween special
Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy 2014 Theme park attraction
Toy Story That Time Forgot 2014 TV Christmas special


  1. ^ "Oscar winners thank Italy – News in English". Retrieved on August 21, 2011.
  2. ^ Burlingame, Jon. "Michael Giacchino's Mission: Make the Old Music New", The New York Times, May 7, 2006. Accessed February 3, 2013. "The backyard for Mr. Giacchino, 38, was in Edgewater Park, N.J., where he grew up watching — and listening to — Hanna-Barbera cartoons, The A-Team and reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show."
  3. ^ Longsdorf, Amy. "Success sounds great for Giacchino", Courier-Post, February 24, 2008. Accessed February 3, 2013. "Giacchino, a graduate of Holy Cross High School (Class of '86), was scoring video games when Abrams gave him his first big break writing the music for TV's Alias and Lost."
  4. ^ a b c d e Lincourt, Carrie. "Q + A". Visual Arts Journal. Volume 19, Number 1. Spring 2011. School of Visual Arts. Pages 46 - 49.
  5. ^ a b Burlingame, Jon (May 7, 2006). "Michael Giacchino's Mission: Make the Old Music New". The New York Times. Accessed November 27, 2007. "The backyard for Mr. Giacchino, 38, was in Edgewater Park, N.J., where he grew up watching – and listening to – Hanna-Barbera cartoons, "The A-Team" and reruns of "The Dick Van Dyke Show." He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York, but, as music became his main interest, he took classes at Juilliard and, later, film-music extension courses at UCLA"
  6. ^ a b "Michael Giacchino - Scoring for Primetime: ABC's Alias". Retrieved on April 14, 2011.
  7. ^ "Michael Giacchino". MobyGames. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  8. ^ Michael -Biography
  9. ^ Michael – Works
  10. ^ Chris – Black[dead link]
  11. ^ Michael Giacchino to Score Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. (June 26, 2007). Retrieved on August 21, 2011.
  12. ^ Goldwasser, Dan (July 10, 2007). "Michael Giacchino scores Medal of Honor: Airborne". Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  13. ^ Lost Soundtrack. Amazon. Retrieved on August 21, 2011.
  14. ^ The Log Book – Lost[dead link]
  15. ^ Cinemusic – The Incredibles
  16. ^ Message Boards: The Incredibles!. Retrieved on August 21, 2011.
  17. ^ Grammy Nominations 2005 – PDF[dead link]
  18. ^ a b Space Mountain. (May 27, 1977). Retrieved on August 21, 2011.
  19. ^ M:I – Iii. CDUniverse (May 9, 2006). Retrieved on August 21, 2011.
  20. ^ a b [1]
  21. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (May 12, 2014). "'Lost' Composer Michael Giacchino to Score 'Jurassic World'". Variety. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  22. ^ Critics' Choice Movie Awards | Highlights, Winners, Show Video and Photos. Retrieved on August 21, 2011.
  23. ^ – SOUND AND VISION[dead link]
  24. ^ a b "Interview mit Michael Giacchino". 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 

External links

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