Who is Michael Giacchino? Many media outlets and Star Wars fans have been asking this question since the release of the newest addition to the Star Wars movie franchise, Rogue One. But fans of film music (and video game music) have known Giacchino's name and his work for well over a decade, with some of his most popular scores including the Call of Duty series, Star Trek, Lost, Ratatouille, and Up. So, I've decided to answer the question, "Who is Michael Giacchino?" and explain why he deserved to be the first composer other than John Williams to score a Star Wars movie.
Education and Early Career
Though Giacchino is best known for his music, he was originally interested in animation and filmmaking. After graduating high school, he enrolled at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and took a 6-month internship at Universal Studios, who then offered him a job upon graduation at SVA. After some time at Universal, Giacchino was hired by Disney's New York office and began taking music courses at the Juilliard School in New York. When Giacchino's job at Disney moved to Los Angeles, he began studying film music at UCLA.
A producer position opened at Disney Interactive, and Giacchino realized that he could hire himself to write the music for the video games he was producing if he had the job, so he applied, got the job, and started writing music for video games. After his time at Disney Interactive, Giacchino moved over to Dreamworks Interactive, where he was given the opportunity to write demo music for Steven Spielberg's The Lost World video game, which Spielberg liked enough to record for the actual score. After The Lost World, Giacchino was given the opportunity to score the Medal of Honor video game series.
Film and TV
Giacchino's work with video games eventually led to a call from J.J. Abrams in 2001, asking Giacchino to score the TV show Alias. This was just the beginning of Giacchino's long career relationship with Abrams. In 2004, Abrams asked Giacchino to score the TV show Lost, and in the same year Giacchino had his feature film debut with Pixar's The Incredibles.
Since the beginning of his career, Michael Giacchino has scored 122 video games, TV shows, and movies, and has won and been nominated for Grammys, Emmys, Golden Globes, Academy Awards, and others.
To be honest, I was a little concerned when I heard that Giacchino was going to be scoring Rogue One. The task of essentially replacing John Williams in a major Star Wars movie is darn near impossible, and the chance of absolute failure is incredibly high. John Williams' masterful grasp on orchestration, thematic development, and melodic and harmonic composition is second to none in the film music world, but I have to give credit to Michael Giacchino. Though I do have a few grievances, overall, I thought he did an excellent job of capturing the Star Wars aesthetic in his score and including many of Williams' trademark sounds.
Film | Music
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