Carter Burwell has composed the music for more than 80 feature films, including Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Rob Roy, Fargo, The Spanish Prisoner, Gods and Monsters, Velvet Goldmine, Three Kings, Being John Malkovich, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (BAFTA Nominee for Film Music), Before Night Falls, A Knight’s Tale, The Rookie, Adaptation., Intolerable Cruelty, No Country for Old Men, In Bruges, Burn After Reading, Twilight, Where the Wild Things Are (Golden Globe Nominee for Best Original Score), A Serious Man, The Blind Side, The Kids Are All Right, True Grit, Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 & 2, Mr. Holmes, Legend and The Finest Hours.
Burwell most recently wrote the music for Wonderstruck which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2017 and marks Burwell’s fourth collaboration with director Todd Haynes. The film stars Julianne Moore and opened on October 20, 2017. Other recent projects for 2017 include Goodbye Christopher Robin starring Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie and directed by Simon Curtis which opened on October 13 and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell and written and directed by Martin McDonagh opening on November 10.
Burwell wrote the music for the drama Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara directed by Todd Haynes which premiered in Cannes and was released in theatres in November 2015. He also wrote the score for Charlie Kaufman’s stop motion film Anomalisa which opened in December 2015 in New York and Los Angeles. Burwell received his first Oscar nomination for Best Original Score for Carol. He was also was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Carol. Burwell won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Award for Best Music Score for Carol and Anomalisa.
Burwell also previously worked with Todd Haynes on Velvet Goldmine and HBO’s mini-series Mildred Pierce starring Kate Winslet in which Burwell was nominated for two Emmy Awards, winning for his work in the category of Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or Special (Original Dramatic Score).
Other recent film projects for Burwell include Hail, Caesar! written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen which opened in February 2016; the Nicole Kidman-Jason Bateman drama The Family Fang released in May 2016 and The Founder starring Michael Keaton and directed by John Lee Hancock which opened wide in January 2017 and is the true story of how Ray Kroc met Mac and Dick McDonald, and created a billion-dollar fast food empire.
His theater work includes the chamber opera The Celestial Alphabet Event and the Mabou Mines productions Mother and Lucia’s Chapters of Coming Forth by Day.
In 2005 he developed a concert work for text and music titled Theater of the New Ear, presented in New York, London and Los Angeles. The text, by Joel and Ethan Coen and Charlie Kaufman, was performed by a dozen actors including Meryl Streep, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hope Davis, Peter Dinklage, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The music was performed by the 8-member Parabola Ensemble, conducted by Mr. Burwell.
Burwell’s dance compositions include the pieces The Return of Lot’s Wife, choreographed by Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig, and RABL, choreographed by Patrice Regnier. He has performed around the world with his own ensembles as well as others, such as The Harmonic Choir.
His writing includes the essay “Music at Six: Scoring the News Then and Now,” published in the inaugural issue of Esopus magazine in 2003 and reprinted in Harper’s Magazine in 2004, and the essay “No Country For Old Music” in the 2013 Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics.
Burwell has taught and lectured at The Sundance Institute, New York University, Columbia University, and Harvard University.