James Hannigan

James Hannigan – Composer Profile

“I believe in expressing ideas and emotion through music in the simplest of terms. For me, music need not be a demonstration of virtuosity or a mere means of parading the newest technological tools, but more for the purpose of carrying – transparently – an essential message to the listener. Even when there is no message, it can be considered one.” James Hannigan, Bafta’s ‘Conversations with Composers’ at the Royal Albert Hall, 2012.

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 and Command and Conquer series’ – is at heart a minimalist interested primarily in the emotional directness and personal nature of his music.

Even with his foray into the exuberant and often florid musical universe of popular fantasy and sci-fi franchises, Hannigan’s music succeeds in transcending the stylistic expectations and constraints of genre, delivering a compelling and recognisable voice all of his own.

Beginning as a composer and arranger for film and television, Hannigan found himself drawn to the emerging world of interactive entertainment at a time when the video games industry was often scorned for the quality of its music. Excited by this relatively unexplored medium and intellectually curious about the function of interactive music, Hannigan leapt into the highest level of game scoring, forming longstanding relationships with publishers and developers such as Electronic Arts, Elixir Studios and Texas-based Digital Anvil – going on to become one of the first composers in Europe bringing acoustic and fully orchestral music to games.

Yet, despite his work with renowned orchestras ranging from the Philharmonia and Chamber Orchestra Of London to the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra and Slovak Symphony Orchestra – recording at such prestigious venues as Air-Lyndhurst, Abbey Road Studios, and Skywalker Ranch – Hannigan remains deeply interested in the relationship between sound and music, and his early minimal, ‘textural’ scores demonstrate this: Theme Park World (US title: Sim Theme Park) and Republic: The Revolution earned a Bafta Award and Bafta Nomination, respectively, for their innovative interactive music, and Hannigan has received a further four Bafta nominations in the years since.

Hannigan’s further credits include Chris Roberts’ seminal space sim, Freelancer (forerunner to the record-breaking Star Citizen); titles such as Red Alert 3 (James’s acclaimed and much-performed theme, Soviet March, recently returned in EA’s Battlefield 4), Terraria: Otherworld, Evil Genius, Runescape, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Art Academy, Transformers Universe, Brute Force, Warhammer, Super Smash Bros. 4, The Darkening (a pioneering blend of game and film loosely connected with the WING COMMANDER universe, with Clive Owen, Christopher Walken and John Hurt), Command and Conquer 4, Conquest, Reign of Fire, 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), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2 – and others. His work for TV and Radio includes, among others, 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.

A regular interviewee and contributor for BBC Radio, Classic FM, Bafta Guru, BEEP and others, Hannigan has had his music performed globally by Video Games Live, The Eminence Symphony Orchestra and numerous other ensembles, and he writes using words as well – once penning the first Audio-related cover feature for Develop Magazine. Hannigan is also Creative Director and Co-founder of sell-out London South Bank-based event, Game Music Connect, supported in its first three years by Sony, EA, Bafta, COOL Music Ltd, Classic FM, PRS For Music and others. He also participates as a panelist at talk events, and these have included: The Bafta Interactive Festival, The Edinburgh Festival (with co-panelists Harry Gregson-Williams & Barrington Pheloung), TIGA’s ‘Games Meet Film’ at Pinewood Studios, Musicworks and many others.

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsElectronic Arts/Warner Bros
Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's QuestHeadstrong/Warner Bros
Command and Conquer 4: Tiberian TwilightElectronic Arts
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceElectronic Arts/Warner Bros IFMCA Award 2009: Best Original Score for a Video Game
Nominated for BAFTA Video Games Awards 2010 (Best Original Score)
Cloudy with a Chance of MeatballsUbisoft/Sony Pictures
Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 UprisingEA LA
Unannounced TileEA Bright Light Studio
Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 UprisingElectronic Arts
Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixEA/Warner Bros Best of 2007, IGN; 'Best Game Score', Movie Music UK Awards 2007
FreelancerDigital Anvil/Microsoft
Evil GeniusVU Games BAFTA Nomination, Music, 2005
Republic The RevolutionEidos BAFTA Nomination, Music, 2004
Conquest: Frontier WarsDigital Anvil / Ubisoft
Warhammer: SotHRMindscape; Games Workshop
CatwomanEA/Warner Bros
Reign of FireKUJU/BAM
Brute ForceDigital Anvil/Microsoft
Yamaha SuperCrossDSI Games
Mr. BeanBlast! Ents
JetixBlast! Ents
Lost In SpaceNew Line Cinema
Sim Theme Park/Theme Park WorldElectronic ArtsBAFTA Award, 2000
Sim Coaster/Theme Park IncElectronic Art
Grand Prix 4Infogames
Warhammer: Dark OmenElectronic Arts; Sound Design
Action Man (multiple titles)Intelligent Games/Hasbro
Privateer, The DarkeningElectronic Arts, Origin Systems
FA Premier League ManagerEA Sports BAFTA Nomination, Music, 2000
F1 Series – variousEA Sports
FIFA Soccer ManagerEA Sports
FIFA Soccer Managervarious entries; EA Sports
Cutthroat IslandSony Imagesoft
Flight of the Amazon QueenRenegade
InfestationFrontier Developments
MoHoLost Toys
Beasts and BumpkinsElectronic Arts
Darklight ConflictElectronic Arts
Space HulkElectronic Arts/Games Workshop
PRIMEVALSERIES 3 (Additional Score)
Impossible Pictures/ITV
Director: Tony Mitchell, Mark Everest, Cilla Ware, Richard Curson Smith, Matthew Thompson
Producer: Tim Bradley
Execs: Tim Haines, Adrian Hodges
Commercials / Misc
Big Screen, Space and Science, Distorted Reality, Short Cuts series miscellaneous library music productions Ducati Launch Events Ferrari Red Racing Advertising Campaign