Alan Silvestri

Biography

Born: March 26, 1950; NY  
Major film composer Alan Silvestri became interested in music early, playing drums from age three and learning woodwinds and guitar. After his high school graduation in 1967, he entered the jazz-oriented Berklee College of Music in Boston. At 19 he moved to Las Vegas and toured with Wayne Cochran & the CC Riders, a rhythm & blues band. After that job was over, he accepted a contract to do arrangements on an album that was supposedly set up for Read more his girlfriend. When Alan's first check bounced, they realized they had been had, and that they might be bound to the bogus contract for life. They traveled to Los Angeles and ended up paying borrowed money for their release. Silvestri was broke and stuck in L.A. His friend Mike Jarrett introduced him to Bradford Craig, who had received an Academy Award nomination for his work with Quincy Jones, and Craig was able to get Silvestri a few arranging jobs.

Then Bradford received a call from a small movie company. They were under the impression that Craig had written music with Jones for a movie. They asked if he could write a jazz-oriented score for their movie. Craig, actually a lyricist, not a musician, put them on hold and called Silvestri, who accepted, then rushed out to a bookstore to buy Earl Hagen's book How To Score a Film. He read the book overnight, delivering his 60-minute score two weeks later. The film, The Doberman Gang (1972), was successful enough to warrant a sequel (which Silvestri also scored).

This led to his being hired to write music for a revamping of the TV series CHiPs. After doing 120 episodes of it and a few other TV series episodes, Silvestri was typed as a TV person. It was another 18 months before he got another scoring job: in 1983 he got a call early one evening from a music editor friend who had worked on CHiPs. Michael Douglas and Robert Zemeckis, producer and director of Romancing the Stone, disliked all the music they had for the movie. The editor had remembered that Silvestri had an exceptional flair for rhythm. Zemeckis asked if Silvestri could bring in "three minutes...in which Kathleen Turner is chased through the jungle, in the rain, by a bunch of machete-wielding maniacs." Silvestri produced a demo track overnight. The filmmakers loved it. Since then Silvestri has scored all Zemeckis' films: the Back to the Future series, Castaway, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Contact, What Lies Beneath, Forrest Gump, and Death Becomes Her. Silvestri received nominations for the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, and the Grammy for his music for Forrest Gump.

But before Back to the Future, Silvestri had taken a remarkable professional risk in accepting a job to score a film called Fandango, even though the director wanted classically-oriented orchestral music. Silvestri had never scored for orchestra. He was able to complete the assignment, which afforded him the experience he would need to create the big sound for Back to the Future. (Silvestri has used the services of orchestrators James Campbell and William Ross, but since 2000 had decided to do the orchestrations himself when he has time.)

Other notable films with Silvestri scores include The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Abyss, Soapdish, Father of the Bride, What Women Want, The Mexican, and The Mummy Returns.

Silvestri and his family live near their winery in Carmel, CA. When he needs to go to Hollywood, Silvestri pilots his personal jet. His son Joey has juvenile type-1 diabetes mellitus; Alan and his wife, Sandra, are active in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Read less
Browse 1-14 of 14 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Label: Lim   Catalog: 69 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Miklós Rózsa,  John T. Williams,  Recorded Sound,  Michael Kamen  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Piller,  Timothy Berens,  Heather MacPhail,  John Birge  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
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  • 2.
    Superheroes / John Morris  Russell, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Fanfare Cincinnati   Catalog: 2 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jerry Goldsmith,  Alan Silvestri,  Danny Elfman,  Patrick Doyle  ... 
    Conductor:  John Morris Russell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    100 Greatest Film Themes, Take 3
    Label: Silva Screen   Catalog: 1398 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Marvin Hatley,  Charles Chaplin,  Frank Churchill,  Paul Dukas  ... 
    Performer:  Keith Ferreira,  David Shannon,  Helen Hobson,  Emma Kershaw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Music Works,  The Wire-Haired Terriers Athletic Social Club,  N.Y. Jazz Orchestra
    CD: $59.49
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  • 4.
    Epic Movie Music
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 37868 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  John Barry,  Michael Kamen,  Alan Silvestri  ... 
    Conductor:  Yuri Sazonoff,  Konstantin Krimets
    CD: $15.49
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  • 5.
    Music From The Movies / Katherine Jenkins
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001790802 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alan Silvestri,  Bryan Adams,  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Katherine Jenkins
    CD: $12.99
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  • 6.
    Label: Buena Vista   Catalog: 001387402 Release Date: 07/19/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alan Silvestri,  Alan Menken
    Conductor:  Alan Silvestri
    CD: $14.99
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  • 7.
    Label: Varese Sarabande   Catalog: 067059 Release Date: 12/21/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alfred Newman,  David Raksin,  Bernard Herrmann,  Alex North  ... 
    Performer:  Jimmie Rodgers,  Jennifer Warnes
    CD: $24.99
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  • 8.
    Label: Silva Screen   Catalog: 1309 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Pete Moore,  Bernard Herrmann,  David Raksin,  Henry Mancini  ... 
    Performer:  Gareth Williams,  Mark Ayres
    Conductor:  Evan Jolly,  Paul Bateman,  Nic Raine,  Bill Ashton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Ensemble
    CD: $59.49
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  • 9.
    Spirit Of The Season / Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Mormon Tabernacle   Catalog: 70071 Release Date: 10/16/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frode Alnaes,  Brossard de Montancy,  Traditional,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
    Performer:  Sissel,  Richard Elliott,  Meredith Campbell,  Julie Bevan  ... 
    Conductor:  Craig Jessop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Orchestra at Temple Square,  Bells on Temple Square
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    Reflective Flute / Marcusson, Johansson, Hansson, Et Al
    Label: Intim Musik   Catalog: 57 Release Date: 04/09/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Percy Faith,  Bonnie Lake,  Liz Seleski  ... 
    Performer:  Göran Marcusson,  Jan Zirk,  Lars Eliasson,  Yasuhito Mori  ... 
    Conductor:  Jerker Johansson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  GöteborgsMusiken
    CD: $17.99
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  • 11.
    Palace Of The Winds - Piano At The Movies / Michael Chertock
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80477 Release Date: 07/29/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Cootie Williams,  Clint Eastwood,  Michel Legrand  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Chertock
    CD: $16.99
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  • 12.
    The Great Fantasy Adventure Album / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80342 Release Date: 04/26/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Miklós Rózsa,  John T. Williams,  Michael Kamen,  Patrick Doyle  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
    CD: $16.99
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  • 13.
    Star Tracks 2 / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80146 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Don Dorsey,  John T. Williams,  Henry Mancini,  James Horner  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
    CD: $17.99
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