Michael Giacchino (pronounced juh-kee-no) (born 1967, Riverside, New Jersey) is an American soundtrack composer who has composed several multi-award winning scores for many popular movies, television series and video games. He attended the Evening Division at the Juilliard School, as well as the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he acquired a degree in film production and a minor degree in History.
Giacchino's first major composition was for the DreamWorks video game adaptation of the 1997 movie, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The video game was 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, providing full orchestral scores for many of their popular videogames.
Giacchino's award-winning compositions covers the first four Medal of Honor series, (Underground, Allied Assault and Frontline, along with the original Medal of Honor).
He has also provided scores for several other World War II-related video games like Secret Weapons Over Normandy, Call of Duty and Call of Duty: Finest Hour. Additionally, Giacchino wrote the main theme for Mercenaries while composer Chris Tilton provided the rest of the underscore. Giacchino also composed themes for The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer, and co-wrote the theme from Black with composer Chris Tilton. He also composed the score for Alias, which was based on the television series of the same name. Michael has not been composing full soundtracks for video games in the past few years, but he is now going back to his roots as he is scheduled to score the music for a brand new world war II video game: Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. In 2007, Michael returned to the Medal of Honor franchise as he has composed the music for Medal of Honor: Airborne.
Giacchino's work on the various video games led to his first work on television first working on the pilot to the Steven Spielberg produced, Semper Fi. In 2001, J.J. Abrams, producer of the television series Alias, discovered Giacchino through his work on the video games and tapped Giacchino to provide the new show's soundtrack. The soundtrack featured a mix of full orchestral pieces, often mixed with upbeat electronic music, a departure from much of his previous work. Giacchino would also provide the score for J.J. Abrams's next project, the 2004 television series, Lost, which he continues to score today. This acclaimed soundtrack is notable for its multiple themes and leitmotifs, as well as the use of a real orchestra rather than synthesized instruments - an unusual choice in television scoring. In 2004, Giacchino was given his first big feature film composition, when he was called on to provide the soundtrack for the Pixar film, The Incredibles. Director Brad Bird had heard Giacchino's work on Alias and asked him to work on the soundtrack for the new movie. The upbeat jazz orchestral sound was a departure in sound not only for Giacchino but for Pixar, who had previously relied on the works of Randy Newman and Thomas Newman for all of their previous films. Brad Bird had originally sought out John Barry, who was best known for composing many of the early James Bond movie soundtracks, to compose the music, but was reportedly unwilling to write music for an animated movie. Giacchino was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2005 for his work on The Incredibles: Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media and Best Instrumental Composition. Giacchino also composed scores for the 2005 films, Sky High, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World and The Family Stone, and the television movie, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. Giacchino composed the score for the movie Mission: Impossible III, directed by J.J. Abrams, which was released on May 5, 2006. Giacchino then went on the compose the soundtrack for other Pixar films, Ratatouille and Up. Giacchino's latest large scale composition was composing the score for the newest Star Trek movie in 2009.
In addition to his long list of soundtracks, in 2000 Giacchino was commissioned to write a concert piece in 3 movements performed by the Haddonfield Symphony called Camden 2000. In 2005 Giacchino collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering in creating two new soundtracks for the updated versions of Space Mountain at Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. 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.
In 2001, Giacchino won the "Academy of Interactive Arts and Science Award" for Best Score for his work on Medal of Honor: Underground. His score to Medal of Honor: Frontline won two GANG awards; Music of the Year and Best Live Performance ("Operation Market Garden"). In 2004, Giacchino won the award of "Excellence in Audio" in the Game Developers Choice Awards for work on the video game, Call of Duty. Giacchino was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2005 for his work on The Incredibles: Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media and Best Instrumental Composition. The Incredibles also won four awards for Best Score from the "L.A. Film Critics Association", "The International Film Music Critics Association", "The Las Vegas Film Critics" and "The Annie Awards." In 2005 Michael received an Outstanding Music and Lyrics Emmy nomination for his song "I'm With You" from the television film, The Muppets Wizard of Oz. Cited by the New Yorker music critic Alex Ross as "some of the most compelling film music of the past year," Giacchino's work on Lost won him the 2005 Emmy for Music Composition For A Series (Dramatic Underscore).