News from the Locarno Festival

Interview with Howard Shore

Vision Award Nescens 2016

Foto di Alessio Pizzicannella


Mr Shore, in Locarno you are going to be awarded with the Vision Award Nescens, due to your great scores for more than 80 movies. In your career, how did you pick up your projects, what a movie must have to convince you to work on it?

A story must resonate with me on an emotional level. It might be from the book that the film is based on or a rough cut of the film, but in your heart lies the answer as to what you can contribute.


The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies represent a big part of your artistic path, and not only because you won three Academy Awards. What's your fondest memory about those years working with Peter Jackson?

The many years that we worked together to put Professor Tolkien’s work on the screen were both challenging and rewarding. We successfully developed a common language through film and music to create Tolkien’s world for the cinema.


Another name that comes up often is David Cronenberg's one. How important is the fact to share with a director the same idea, the same vision of the movie for writing its score?

I have known David Cronenberg for many years and our working relationship over 15 films has been very dear to me. We have many things in common with how we see film and I think that that has contributed enormously to the collaboration.


Thrillers, comedies, fictional and biographical dramas (for example Spotlight, the last winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture): you wrote scores for a wide selection of different genres. Is there one you have felt more at ease and one which took more preparation than others?

All films have their own world to express its ideas. I do like to read and the research that I do to prepare before composing is very important to me. The films that have great source material (ie. Naked Lunch, Hugo, Crash, The Lord of the Rings, etc.) are always of particular interest as you have the original author’s detailed writing and then the vision of a great film director.


Beyond the many awards you got (among them, three Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards and four Grammy Awards), what is the best certificate of excellence you have received in your career, the one made you feel completely accomplished?

It is a great honour to be here in Locarno and to accept the Vision Award Nescens this week. This award is very special as it has been presented for just a few years to such outstanding artists and creators. I am very happy to be amongst that distinguished and accomplished group.


Mattia Bertoldi
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