Once the leader of Japan's new wave rock band EX, Shigeru Umebayashi began scoring films in 1985 when the band broke up. He has more than 30 Japanese and Chinese films to his credit.
In 1991, Shigeru Umebayashi scored for Japanese director Seijun Suzuki's biopic film about Japanese painter and poet Takehisa Yumeji Yumeji), one of the scores "Yumeji's Theme" was later included in Hongkong director Wong Kar-wai's film In the Mood for Love (2000), and this track became his best known work in the world.
Umebayashi not only scored most of Wong Kar-wai's follow-up film, such as his film 2046 in 2004, and Grandmaster in 2013, but also worked with many other directors both in China and Japan, such as Chinese Director Zhang Yi mo for his 2004 film House of Flying Daggers.
In 2009, Umebayashi scored for Tom Ford directorial debut A single man, together with several other composers including polish composer Abel Korzeniowski.
Selected film scores
1991, Yumeji directed by Seijun Suzuki
2000, In the mood for love (Faa yeung nin wa, original title) directed by Wong Kar-wai
2004, House of daggers directed by Zhang yi mo
2009, A single man directed by Tom Ford
Music is an experience, not science.
Ennio Morricone was born in Rome on Nov. 10, 1928, and started composing film music in his early 30s, Among his best-known compositions are those for Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Roland Joffé's The Mission (1986), Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987), Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso(1988) and Steve Zissou's The Life Aquatic (2004).
In more than half decade, Ennio has composed for more 500 films and tv series, as well as standalone concertos. In an interview conducted in 1984, he was asked about his favorite music score and theme, but he said it was very hard to say, every one of them was like his daughter, but he did admit the most difficult one he ever worked on was the music score for The Red Rock, and he thought the most beautiful one was for Once Upon a Time in the West.
The interesting thing is that although less than one tenth of his works was written for western films, Ennio Morricone was best remembered as a western composer, which annoyed him as he thought that association was beneath him. Although this was due largely to the ignorance of public as well as critics, but perhaps his music was also to be blamed. At times playful, intriging, melancolic, heroic, soothing or sad, but always huntingly beautiful, Ennio's music gave those other wise wild and violent cowboy stories an unforgetable poetic touch, like the film Once Upon a Time in the West.
Although he worked most as film composer, his music alone tells story, almost visual and emotional, so much so that Sergio Leone, one of the directors Ennio worked with the most, sometimes asked Ennio to write the music first and then wrote and shot the scenes afterwards, but even that, and as much as Ennio wanted to be of service to films, his muic sometimes seemed having nothing to do with what was happening on earth and in the story, it was above the story, above everything and every one in the story, as if the music itself came from above, from another planet, from heaven.
Ennio's favorite composer is Bach, and he himself said he used Bach as his benchmark. Perhaps the Bach in him never wanted to let him alone, to always think of God's glory while recording humman sufferings.
This same mismatchedness happened for the films of other genres he worked for, such as French Policier film Le Professionnel in 1981, a film of corruption and violence. The music were so beautiful and out of this world, they should be used in Epic film of nature like Luc Besson's Le Gran Bleu instead of Le Professionnel. In particular the music score Le vent, le cri.
Only in a few tv series like Marco Polo (1982), films like The Mission (1986), Cinema Paradiso (1988) as well as Malena (2000), both directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, it seemed the soul of his music and that of the film found each other.
As one of the most influential composers in the 20th centuries, Ennio has been awarded numerous awards, like Grammy and Golden Globe, but Oscar did not seem too friendly with him, he did not win any Oscar until 2007, when he was given an Honory award, which hardly justified his talents and achivements.
Then finally in 2016, Ennio won his first evern Oscar for his music score for film The hateful Eight directed by Quentin Tarantino. but ironically the music score is one of his least distinctive creations. It still has the epicness in it, but has lost that outworldedness, the element that makes his music memorable and moving.