Rachel Portman

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Rachel Portman was born in west Sussex, England. She began composing at the age of 14 and read music at Oxford University. Whilst there, she became interested in writing music for student films and theatre productions.

She gained experience writing music for drama in BBC and Channel 4 films such as Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Mike Leigh’s Four Days In July and Jim Henson’s Storyteller series, however the majority of her work has been in film.

Rachel won an Academy award for her score for Emma and Academy nominations for Chocolat and The Cider House Rules.

She has been fortunate to work with directors Roman Polanski (Oliver Twist), Norman Jewison (Only You), Jonathan Demme (Beloved, Truth About Charlie, Manchurian Candidate), Robert Redford (Legend of Bagger Vance), Mike Leigh (Life is Sweet), as well as countless others. Her list of film scores includes Never Let Me Go, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Grey Gardens (HBO), The Duchess, Infamous, Lake House, Hart’s War, Human Stain, Marvin’s Room, Benny and Joon, Joy Luck Club, Smoke, Nicholas Nickleby and Where Angels Fear to Tread.

She has written a musical of Little House on the Prairie as well as an opera of Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince for Houston Grand Opera and The Water Diviner, a dramatic choral symphony commissioned for the BBC Proms concerts. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours.

Rachel lives in London with her three daughters.


BMI Richard Kirk Award 2010

Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Music Composition 2009, GREY GARDENS

Grammy Nomination for Best Score Soundtrack Album 2001, CHOCOLAT

Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Score 2000, CHOCOLAT

Grammy Nomination for Best Score Soundtrack Album 2000, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES

Golden Globe Nomination for Best Original Score 2000, CHOCOLAT

Muse Award From the New York Women in Film and Television, 2000

Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Score 1999, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES

Flanders International Film Festival Award 1999, RATCATCHER

Academy Award for Best Original Musical Comedy Score 1996, EMMA

International Prize for Film and Media Music 1997

Carlton TV/Rank Films Laboratories Award for Creative Originality 1996

Bafta Award Nomination for Best Score 1989, ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUIT, THE WOMAN IN BLACK

Tric Celebrity Awards Schneider Trophy for Theme Music of the Year 1989, PRECIOUS BANE

British Film Institute Young Composer of the Year 1988