BAFTA Award winning composer James Hannigan – known in part for his contributions to the multi-million selling Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Dead Space, Theme Park, Evil Genius, Warhammer, EA Sports, RuneScape and Command and Conquer series’ – is a highly versatile composer interested in the emotional directness and personal nature of his music.
Starting out at Pinewood Studios as a composer and arranger for television and film, James was of the first composers in Europe bringing acoustic music and fully orchestral scores to video games, and he has worked with orchestras ranging from the Philharmonia and Chamber Orchestra Of London to the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra and Slovak Symphony Orchestra – recording worldwide at venues such as Air-Lyndhurst, Abbey Road Studios, and Skywalker Ranch.
James has long been fascinated by the interplay between sound and music, and his early ‘textural’ and atmospheric scores demonstrate this: Theme Park World (1999; US title: Sim Theme Park) and Republic: The Revolution (2003) earned a BAFTA Award and BAFTA Nomination, respectively, for their innovative use of interactive music, and in the years since James has received a further four BAFTA award nominations – along with numerous other awards and accolades.
Among James’s many credits for music are Dead Space 3, Chris Roberts’ seminal space sim Freelancer (forerunner to the record-breaking Star Citizen), the BAFTA-nominated Evil Genius, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (James’s iconic theme, Soviet March, has collectively received hundreds of millions of plays on YouTube, and recently reappeared in EA’s Battlefield 4), Terraria: Otherworld, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Nintendo’s Art Academy, the Develop Award-nominated music of RuneScape 3, Transformers Universe, Brute Force, Warhammer, Super Smash Bros. 4, Privateer: The Darkening, Command and Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, Conquest: Frontier Wars, Reign of Fire, Grand Prix, Cutthroat Island, Catwoman, Space Hulk, The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (IFMCA [International Film Music Critics Association] Award and BAFTA nomination), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2, various EA Sports titles in the F1 & FIFA series’, and others. His work for TV and Radio includes BBC America’s Primeval, BBC Audio Drama Award 2015-winning Neverwhere, Good Omens, Alien: Out of the Shadows and 2017’s Alien: River of Pain – and his production music is heard every day on TV all over the world in shows ranging from Top Gear to The Apprentice.
An avid collector of synthesizers and vintage audio equipment, James’s brief early forays into Sound Design include films such as the Golden Reel-nominated Lost In Space.
A regular interviewee and contributor for BBC Radio, Classic FM, Bafta Guru, BEEP and many others, Hannigan has had his music performed globally by Video Games Live, The Eminence Symphony Orchestra, The Philharmonia and numerous other ensembles, and he writes using words as well – once penning the first Audio-related cover feature for Develop Magazine. (To read some of James’s articles, click here.) Hannigan is also Creative Director and co-founder of sell-out London Southbank-based event, Game Music Connect, supported in its first three years by Sony, EA, Bafta, COOL Music, Classic FM, PRS For Music and others, and he participates as a panelist at numerous talk events.