Aaron Zigman’s resume as a songwriter, producer, arranger and musician underscores his reputation as one of the west coast’s more prolific hit makers. But Aaron Zigman has propelled himself beyond the borders of the pop world in order to establish himself as a film composer. His ability to create memorable scores in genres from drama and comedy to action films has in just a few short years moved him to the top rank of film composers today.

Zigman combines his classical background and training with a strong knowledge of contemporary music which has enabled him to quickly adapt to any assignment. His ability to be highly collaborative with directors, producers and editors and to get the music on target on budget and on time has earned him a solid reputation as one of movieland’s most sought after composers.


A native of San Diego, Aaron Zigman began training as a classical pianist at age six with his mother, a pianist and harpist. While in his third year at UCLA, Zigman signed a 4 year songwriting contract with publishing giant Almo Irving and began writing producing arranging and orchestrating for many of the top major artists in the record industry. He was one of 4 songwriters on their staff and under their aegis, he penned songs for Carly Simon, the T.V. show Fame, co-wrote with David Lasley, Jerry Knight and Steve Cropper.

In 1983 at the age of 20 he began studying with his renowned cousin George Bassman, a noted MGM composer who orchestrated for the "Wizard of Oz" and wrote the music for the films "Marty and The Postman Always Rings Twice". He penned the Tommy Dorsey Classic, "Getting Sentimental Over You", was the musical arranger for Lena Horne and Benny Goodman and orchestrated for the legendary Andre Kostelanetz.

Then in the middle 1980's, Zigman broke in as a studio musician, working with producers Don Was, Gary Katz, Steely Dan and Stewart Levine. From this experience he started to get a name for himself as a producer/writer and soon wrote a big hit in pop music called "Crush On You" which was a top chart record for a group called The Jets. He then worked for Clive Davis and produced and arranged for Aretha Franklin and Natalie Cole. During this time he wrote, arranged and produced songs for many of the top singers and artists in the industry such as Ray Charles, Sting, Phil Collins, Dionne Warwick, Bozz Skaggs, Tina Turner, Seal, Carly Simon, the Pointer Sisters, Huey Lewis, Jennifer Holliday, Patty LaBelle, Chicago, Natalie Cole and Christina Aguilera.

In the 1990’s he entered the film industry, with his work being featured on film soundtracks for Mulan, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Bird Cage, License to Kill, Caddyshack and Pocahontas.

Although his list of pop accomplishments was formidable, creating orchestral music was still Zigman’s primary focus. It was inevitable that Zigman’s lifelong devotion to classical music would eventually lead him to the film scoring stage.

His big break came in 2000 when film director Nick Cassavetes went to hear Zigman’s classical 35 minute symphonic tone poem "Rabin" which was performed by the L.A. Jewish Symphony. The work was composed in memory of Yitzhak Rabin, the late prime minister of the State of Israel. Cassavetes was very moved and asked Zigman to score Denzel Washington's movie "John Q"!

The success of John Q was followed by “The Notebook” which was a major box office success in which Zigman’s sound track has sold a record number of albums.

Describing his feeling on the orchestral fabric of film music Zigman says, "I try to transcend the emotional value of what I write with the orchestra. When I finally hear it played, it's magical; the relationship is so interdependent, sharing a sound stage with a group of people I love. The sound of all these pitches and bodies together — it's such an incredible experience".

©2006 Aaron Zigman