Maurice Jarre

Maurice Jarre (born in Lyon, France, September 13 1924) . is a French composer and conductor. Although he has composed several concert works, he is best known for his film scores for motion pictures, particularly those of David Lean: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984). All three of these scores won Academy Awards. Other notable scores of his include The Message (1976), Dead Poets Society (1989) and Ghost (1990). He has had a star in Hollywood since 2001.

Early life

Jarre started studying music at a late age, unlike many of his fellow musicians. He first enrolled in the engineering school at the Sorbonne. However, he decided to pursue his education in music instead. He left the Sorbonne, against his father's will, and enrolled at Conservatoire de Paris to study composition, harmony and chose percussion as his major instrument. He became the Théâtre National Populaire director, and recorded his first movie score in France in 1951.

Film scoring

In 1961 Jarre musical life experienced a major turn when the movie producer Sam Spiegel asked him to write the score of Lawrence of Arabia for which he won his first Academy Award . He followed with The Train (1964) and another great success in "Doctor Zhivago", that earned him his second Academy Award.

Jarre continued making movie scores that earned him several awards and recognition. He scored by Luchino Visconti's The Damned (1969), John Huston'sThe Man Who Would Be King (1975).

He was again nominated for an Academy award for scoring The Message (aka Mohammad, Messenger of God) in 1976 for the director and producer Moustapha Akkad. He followed with Top Secret! (1984), Julia and Julia (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), for which he won a British Academy Award, and Jacob's Ladder (1990).

His television work includes the score for the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977), directed by Franco Zeffirelli, Shogun (1980), and the theme for PBS's Great Performances.

His other works include the music for Witness, his passionate love theme from Fatal Attraction, and the moody electronic soundscapes of After Dark, My Sweet. His score for David Lean's Ryan's Daughter (1970), set in Ireland, completely eschews traditional Irish music styles, owing to Lean's preferences. The song 'It was a Good Time' from Ryan's Daughter went on to be recorded by musical stars such as Liza Minnelli who used it in her critically acclaimed television special Liza With a Z as well as others during the 1970s. In the 80s, Jarre turned his hand to science fiction, with scores for Enemy Mine (1985) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). The latter is written for full orchestra, augmented by a chorus, four grand pianos, a pipe organ, digeridoo, fujara, a battery of exotic percussion and three ondes Martenot (which feature in several of Jarre's other scores, including Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth and The Bride).

In 1990 Jarre was again nominated for an Academy Award scoring the supernatural love story / thriller Ghost. His music for the final scene of the film is based on "Unchained Melody" composed by fellow film composer Alex North.

Now retired, Jarre scored his last film in 2001, a TV movie about the Holocaust entitled Uprising.

Music Style

Jarre wrote mainly for orchestras, but began to favor to synthesized music in the 1980s, mostly for practical rather than aesthetic motivations, many critics feel. Jarre denies this and has pointed out that his electronic score for Witness was actually more laborious, time-consuming and expensive to produce than an orchestral score. Jarre's electronic scores from the 80s also include Fatal Attraction, The Year of Living Dangerously and No Way Out. A number of his scores from that era also feature electronic/acoustic blends, such as Gorillas in the Mist, Dead Poets Society, The Mosquito Coast and Jacob's Ladder.


He is the father of Jean Michel Jarre, a French composer who is one of the pioneers in the electronic music field.

His youngest son Kevin Jarre is a screenwriter, with credits on such movies as Tombstone and Glory.

Jarre has been married four times.

Filmography and awards

Year Title Role Awards
1962 Sundays and Cybele Nominated for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment
1962 Lawrence of Arabia Won the 1962 Academy Award for Best Music, Score - Substantially Original
1966 Grand Prix
1967 Doctor Zhivago Grammy Award for Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
1968 Isadora
1969 Topaz
1970 Ryan's Daughter
1972 The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean Nominated for Best Music, Song for the song "Marmalade, Molasses & Honey"
1976 The Last Tycoon
1977 Mohammad, Messenger of God Nominated for Best Music, Original Score
1982 The Mosquito Coast
1982 Firefox
1982 The Year of Living Dangerously
1984 A Passage to India Nominated for Best Music, Original Score
1984 Top Secret!
1985 Witness Nominated for Best Music, Original Score
1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
1987 No Way Out
1988 Cocktail
1988 Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey Nominated for Best Music, Original Score
1989 Dead Poets Society British Academy Awards, 1989, Best Original Music Score
1990 Jacob's Ladder
1990 Ghost Nominated for Best Music Academy Award
1993 Fearless
1995 A Walk in the Clouds Golden Globe, 1995, Best Original Score



External links

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