James Newton Howard (born June 9, 1951) is an eight time Academy Award-nominated American film score composer, orchestrator and music producer.
Howard was born in Los Angeles, California. Throughout his prolific career as a composer/musician/songwriter, he has scored films of all scales and genres, earning multiple award nominations for his work. Howard began studying music as a child and went on to attend the Thacher School in Ojai, California; the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California; and then majored in piano performance at the University of Southern California. After Howard left college, he toured with Elton John as a keyboardist during the late 1970s and early 1980s as well as arranging strings for several of Elton's songs during this period including on the hits "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word", as well as appearing on Elton's studio albums: "Rock of The Westies" (1975), "Blue Moves" (1976), "21 At 33" (1980), and "The Fox" (1981). After his tenure with John, Howard toured briefly with Crosby Stills and Nash before moving into film music in the mid-1980s. Howard did, however, collaborate briefly with Elton John in 1987 by conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, where Elton performed a setlist of "Orchestrated" songs from his catalog.
He had a brief marriage to Rosanna Arquette in 1986 which lasted until 1987.