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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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"!
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.
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".