10 awesome female film composers you need to know

There’s been a lot of talk about the nominated composers for the Golden Globe awards this year. None of them are women, and just like straight up classical music it’s not because there just aren’t any women working in film composition. There are amazing composers out there not getting the recognition they deserve because they are women.  Here is my list of a few brilliant female composers working right now and their phenomenal scores from the past few years.

  1. Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – Alexandra Harwood

How did this score not get nominated for a Golden Globe? Such a gorgeous score to a fantastic film starring Lily James. Harwood also wrote the score to The Escape, starring Gemma Arterton and Dominic Cooper.

2. Tag – Germaine Franco

So happy when I found out this film got scored by Germaine Franco, it’s about time she got a major film score with an all star cast. Germaine Franco she’s composed several independent films, shorts and documentaries and co-wrote most of the music to Pixar film Coco in 2017 plus she has been an orchestrator for years, working on tons of major films including Bolt, Book of Life and Ice Age Continental Drift,

3. Speech and Debate – Deborah Lurie

Not even seen this film and I want to listen to it just because of the end credit score. Deborah Lurie has scored some major films including Dear John starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried (love the score for this), Safe Haven with Josh Duhamel, One For The Money with Katherine Heigl and one of my favourite romantic comedies Sydney White.

4. Their Finest – Rachel Portman

The first woman ever to win an Oscar, for Emma in 1994. She also won an Oscar for her score to Chocolat. Rachel Portman also scored the brilliant 2013 film Belle about a mixed race aristocrat, one of my favourite films ever.

5. Edie – Debbie Wiseman

Any composer that writes such a delicious part for the clarinet is awesome in my book. I’ve actually loved Debbie Wiseman for years, I featured her as composer of the week on The Daffodil Perspective show a few weeks ago here. Debbie Wiseman OBE is a Grammy award nominated composer who has scored for both film and TV including Wolf Hall, Wilde, Father Brown, Tom and Viv and Lesbian Vampire Killers.

6. Poldark – Anne Dudley

Okay this is a television score but this was written by the amazing Anne Dudley and I love it. Dudley’s been scoring music for films and TV for years, Dudley won an Oscar for her score to The Full Monty, she also scored Jeeves and Wooster, Kavanagh QC, and produced the music to the film version of Les Miserables.

7. Song for Marion – Laura Rossi

Yes I know it was 7 years ago now but it’s one of my favourite films ever, I cried bucketloads it was so touching. A huge British all star cast – Gemma Arterton, Terence Stamp, Christopher Eccleston and the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave. Rossi also scored 2015 film The Eichmann Show starring Martin Freeman.

7. Manchester by the Sea – Lesley Barber

This 2016 Oscar winning film was scored by Canadian Lesley Barber. Amazingly haunting score.

8. Mary Shelley – Amelia Warner

The choral score on the opening track is out of this world, indeed the whole score is wonderfully ethereal. Mary Shelley was released in 2017 and featured Elle Fanning as Mary along with Maisie Williams and Tom Sturridge.

9. Mudbound – Tamar Kali

Score to the 2017 period drama starring Carey Mulligan, the film tackles racism and PTSD in post 2nd world war rural USA and was nominated for several Oscars and Golden Globe awards.

10. Sicario Day of the Soldado – Hildur Guonadottir

Sequel to the film Sicario starring John Brolin and Benicio del Toro. Amazing score by the Icelandic cellist.

These are just 10 great composers who happen to be female, there are lots more, it’s not a ranking or a top 10, just a few awesome composers you need to know.

Leave a Reply