Aaron Zigman

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Aaron Zigman
Born (1963-01-06) January 6, 1963 (age 60)
Occupation(s)Composer, arranger, conductor, songwriter, producer
Known forAward-winning film composer and musician
Notable workFilm scores for The Notebook
Bridge to Terabithia
John Q.
The Proposal
The Company Men
For Colored Girls
Flash of Genius
Sex and the City and Sex and the City 2
Co-wrote, arranged, and produced songs with
External image
image icon Zigman at an event for Alpha Dog in 2006

Aaron Zigman (born January 6, 1963)[1] is a classically-trained American composer, producer, arranger, songwriter, and musician who has scored music for films including The Notebook, The Company Men, Bridge to Terabithia, John Q., The Proposal, Flicka, For Colored Girls, Flash of Genius, Sex & the City, Alpha Dog, and Escape from Planet Earth.[2] He has also written, arranged and produced over 50 hit albums, and co-written songs with legendary and contemporary artists including Quincy Jones, Christina Aguilera, Phil Collins, Was (Not Was), John Legend, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Seal.[3]

Early life and career[edit]

Zigman was born in San Diego, California. His mother, a pianist and harpist, was his first music teacher, and he developed an early interest in jazz and concert music, studying with Rocky Slight, Gene Hartwell (a San Diego jazz player), and Florence Stephenson. A graduate of Point Loma High School, he studied at the University of California, Los Angeles.[3]

While still in college, Zigman had a contract with Almo/Irving Music Publishing, wrote songs for Carly Simon and the television show Fame, and co-wrote with David Lasley, Jerry Knight, and Steve Cropper.[4] In 1983, he began studying with his cousin George Bassman (who orchestrated The Wizard of Oz and wrote the music for the films Marty and The Postman Always Rings Twice).[3] Bassman had also penned the Tommy Dorsey Classic, "Getting Sentimental Over You", was the musical arranger for Lena Horne and Benny Goodman, and orchestrated for Andre Kostelanetz.

In the 1980s, Zigman began to make a name for himself as a studio musician and wrote the pop music hits "Crush On You," "Curiosity," and "Private Number," top chart records for The Jets.[5][3] He then worked for Clive Davis, and produced and arranged for Aretha Franklin and Natalie Cole.[3] During this time he wrote, arranged, and produced songs for many of the top singers and artists in the industry such as Ray Charles, Phil Collins, Dionne Warwick, Boz Scaggs, Tina Turner, Seal, Carly Simon, the Pointer Sisters, Jermaine Stewart, Huey Lewis, Jennifer Holliday, Patti LaBelle, Chicago, Natalie Cole, and Christina Aguilera.[3][6]

In the 1990s, he entered the film industry, with his producing, arranging, orchestration, and pianistic work being featured on soundtracks for Mulan, What's Love Got to Do With It?, The Birdcage, Licence to Kill, and Pocahontas.

His first film score was for the 2002 film John Q.,[3] which won a BMI Film Music Award. This led to his first major television score, for the 2004 Showtime production Crown Heights, and to his first film score for a major motion picture The Notebook,[7] for which he won multiple BMI Awards.

In March 2020, Billie Eilish revealed 32 songs which inspired her Grammy-winning album When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?.[8][9] "Jesse's Bridge," a song composed by Zigman from his soundtrack for the Disney movie Bridge to Terabithia, was listed as one of the inspirations for Eilish's ILOMILO.[8][9]

Concert music[edit]

Zigman has composed both chamber and full orchestral works on commission, including a viola sonata; a 1994 tone poem Rabin: An Orchestral Work in Five Movements (premiered at Los Angeles' Westside Pavilion on December 25, 1997, repeated in Spring 1999 by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony under the direction of Noreen Green in memory of Yitzhak Rabin, and recorded live on the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in March 1999); Martyrology: A Tribute to Those Who Have Died in the Face of Persecution; Impressions, a 2004 suite for wind ensemble (premiered by Richard Todd and the USC Symphony Orchestra); Vis Vitae (mixed octet, featured at the historic Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church on Rodeo Drive as part of the "Voices of Hollywood" concert at the Third Annual Beverly Hills International Music Festival in 2006 and in Zigman's score for Flash of Genius; No Strings Attached, a 2007 horn sextet for Brian O' Connor (1951-2016) at UCLA; and a Rhapsody for Cello and Piano (premiered/recorded in 2015 by Andrew Shulman and Robert Thies).

His vocal music includes a setting of Shir L'Shalom (also recorded live on the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in March 1999); two Ave Maria vocalises (one written with bassist Abraham Laboriel Sr., composed as the main title song for the film Virgin of Juarez and one written for the main title song of the film John Q, featuring Joshua Bell on violin); an Emmy Award-winning setting of the Hebrew prayer for peaceSim Shalom (from the Showtime TV film Crown Heights, with Alex Brown); and an Italian aria with chorus (La Donna in Viola, setting a translation of Ntozake Shange's poem "Pyramid", for 3 soprano soloists and SSAAT choir, also featuring Joshua Bell) featured in the film For Colored Girls (2009-2010).

For the soundtrack for the 2016 dramatic film Wakefield, French classical pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet contributed piano work to Zigman's film score. This was the first time another pianist performed his film work.[10] Zigman had first visited Beijing while working on the film score for Chinese movie Hidden Man, directed by Wen Jiang.[11][12] Hidden Man was China's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.[13] The Tango Manos concerto project was suggested to Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Aaron Zigman by Yu Long, renowned conductor and Chairman of the Beijing Music Festival.[14] Zigman created a three-movement concerto for piano and orchestra, dedicating it to Thibaudet, who premiered the work under Huang Yi's direction with the China Philharmonic at the Beijing Music Festival, October 14, 2019.[15][16] Zigman attended the October 13, 2019 press conference for the 22nd Beijing Music Festival in Beijing, China.[16] Tango Manos was one of three works written for the Beijing Music Festival, co-commissioned by the China Philharmonic, Radio France and the San Francisco Symphony.[15] The event was of cultural significance, taking place in Jingshan Park, in front of Shouhuang Hall.[citation needed]

Jean-Yves Thibaudet played the US premiere of Tango Manos with the San Francisco Symphony in a multi-concert series under the direction of Fabien Gabel, beginning on February 14, 2020. The work was nominated for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music and is a National Finalist for the American Prize in Composition (Professional Division, Orchestral Works).[14] Zigman's Rhapsody for Cello and Piano will be premiered in the Baker-Baum Concert Hall at the La Jolla Music Society by Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan on August 15, 2021.




Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
2002 John Q. Nick Cassavetes New Line Cinema Won: BMI Film Music Award
2004 The Notebook
Raise Your Voice Sean McNamara Composed with Machine Head
2005 The Wendell Baker Story Andrew Wilson
Luke Wilson
Wendell Distribution
In the Mix Ron Underwood Lionsgate
2006 Alpha Dog Nick Cassavetes Universal Pictures
The Virgin of Juarez Kevin James Dobson First Look Studios
ATL Chris Robinson Warner Bros. Pictures
Take the Lead Liz Friedlander New Line Cinema Composed with Swizz Beatz
Akeelah and the Bee Doug Atchison Lionsgate Nominated: Black Reel Award for Outstanding Original Score
Step Up Anne Fletcher Touchstone Pictures
10th & Wolf Robert Moresco ThinkFilm
Flicka Michael Mayer 20th Century Fox
2007 Bridge to Terabithia Gábor Csupó Walt Disney Pictures Nominated: IFMCA Award, Best Original Score - Fantasy
Pride Sunu Gonera Lionsgate
Good Luck Chuck Mark Helfrich
The Jane Austen Book Club Robin Swicord Sony Pictures Classics
Why Did I Get Married? Tyler Perry Lionsgate
Martian Child Menno Meyjes New Line Cinema
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Zach Helm Icon Film Distribution Composed with Alexandre Desplat
Nominated: IFMCA Award, Best Original Score - Fantasy
2008 Step Up 2: The Streets Jon M. Chu Touchstone Pictures
Meet the Browns Tyler Perry Lionsgate
Sex and the City: The Movie Michael Patrick King New Line Cinema Won: BMI Film Music Award
The Family That Preys Tyler Perry Lionsgate
Flash of Genius Marc Abraham Universal Pictures
Christmas Cottage Michael Campus Lionsgate
Lake City Perry Moore
Hunter Hill
Screen Media Films
2009 Madea Goes to Jail Tyler Perry Lionsgate Won: BMI Film Music Award
The Proposal Anne Fletcher Touchstone Pictures
My Sister's Keeper Nick Cassavetes New Line Cinema
The Ugly Truth Robert Luketic Columbia Pictures Won: BMI Film Music Award
I Can Do Bad All By Myself Tyler Perry Lionsgate


Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
2010 The Company Men John Wells The Weinstein Company
The Last Song Julie Anne Robinson Touchstone Pictures Won: BMI Film Music Award
Why Did I Get Married Too? Tyler Perry Lionsgate
Sex and the City 2 Michael Patrick King New Line Cinema
For Colored Girls Tyler Perry Lionsgate Nominated: Black Reel Award for Outstanding Original Score
2011 Madea's Big Happy Family Won: BMI Film Music Award
I Don't Know How She Does It Douglas McGrath The Weinstein Company
What's Your Number? Mark Mylod 20th Century Fox
2012 Good Deeds Tyler Perry Lionsgate
Madea's Witness Protection Won: BMI Film Music Award
Step Up Revolution Scott Speer Summit Entertainment
Yellow Nick Cassavetes Medient Studios
2013 Escape from Planet Earth Cal Brunker The Weinstein Company Won: BMI Film Music Award
Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor Tyler Perry Lionsgate
Peeples Tina Gordon Chism
Baggage Claim David E. Talbert Fox Searchlight Pictures
2014 The Other Woman Nick Cassavetes 20th Century Fox
Addicted Bille Woodruff Lionsgate
The Best of Me Michael Hoffman Relativity Media
2015 Mr. Right Paco Cabezas Focus World
I Saw the Light Marc Abraham BRON Studios
Court of Conscience James Haven Independent Short film
2016 Dear Eleanor Kevin Connolly Destination Films
Wakefield Robin Swicord IFC Films
2017 The Shack Stuart Hazeldine Summit Entertainment


Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
2020 A Nice Girl Like You The Brothers Riedell Vertical Entertainment
Gossamer Folds Lisa Donato
The War with Grandpa Tim Hill 101 Studios
2022 A Jazzman's Blues Tyler Perry Netflix


Year Title Director(s) Network Notes
2004 Crown Heights Jeremy Kagan Showtime Television film
2005–2007 The ACLU Freedom Files Various Link TV Documentary series
2010 30 for 30 John Singleton ESPN Documentary series
Episode "Marion Jones: Press Pause"
2018 American Dream/American Knightmare Antoine Fuqua Showtime Documentary film
2021–2022 And Just Like That... Various HBO Max Television series


  1. ^ "Zigman: Tango Manos, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra". San Francisco Symphony. Archived from the original on August 3, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "AFI|Catalog". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Jazz, All About (August 2, 2004). "Aaron Zigman: The Making of a Hit Soundtrack, the Jazz Influence, and the "Inside Story" of Music for the Cinema article @ All About Jazz". All About Jazz. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  4. ^ Aaron Zigman's official site Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Partying to the Max in Beverly Hills". Los Angeles Times. January 24, 1988. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  6. ^ "Aaron Zigman Finds His Calling". BMI.com. January 2, 2010. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  7. ^ "Interview: The Best Of Composer Aaron Zigman". GRAMMY.com. December 1, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Sam (March 26, 2020). "Billie Eilish shares playlist of debut album inspiration songs". 97X. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "32 songs that inspired Billie Eilish's album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?". PopBuzz. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  10. ^ "Jean-Yves Thibaudet", www.seattlesymphony.org, retrieved April 20, 2020
  11. ^ "Why Hollywood Film Talent Is Flocking to China". The Hollywood Reporter. July 2, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  12. ^ "《今日音乐》专访 | 美国作曲家亚伦·齐格曼Aaron Zigman". xw.qq.com. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  13. ^ "Headlines from China: China Submits Jiang Wen's 'Hidden Man' To The Oscars". China Film Insider. October 9, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "French masters bring concert hall flair". The Bay Area Reporter / B.A.R. Inc. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  15. ^ a b "San Francisco Symphony". San Francisco Symphony. Archived from the original on February 6, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "历届委约作品同台绽放,齐格曼钢琴协奏曲世界首演_手机搜狐网". m.sohu.com. Retrieved April 20, 2020.

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