Alexandre Desplat

 Alexandre Desplat

Appears on: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ Part I in Concert

Alexandre Desplat, born on August 23, 1961, in Paris, France, is a prolific composer known for his orchestral film scores that draw from a wide range of influences including Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Bernard Herrmann, and jazz and world music. His full name is Alexandre Michel Gérard Desplat.

His musical journey began at a young age. He started playing the piano at five, picked up the trumpet later on, and then switched to the flute at nine. His parents, both students at the University of California, Berkeley, introduced him to a wide variety of music. He developed an early appreciation for film music, collecting Bernard Herrmann's Hitchcock soundtracks as a teen. This love for film music was further ignited when he heard John Williams' Star Wars score in 1977. Other early sources of Desplat's inspiration include the music of Maurice Jarre, Nino Rota, and Georges Delerue.

Desplat studied at the Conservatoire de Paris under Claude Ballif and also took a summer course under lannis Xenakis. He furthered his studies under Jack Hayes in Los Angeles. At the age of 20, after leaving the Conservatoire, he joined a theatrical troupe where he wrote and played music. His journey into film scoring began in the 1990s and his big break in Hollywood came in 2003 with the soundtrack for the film Girl with a Pearl Earring.

His career has spanned over four decades, during which he has received numerous accolades including two Academy Awards, three British Academy Film Awards, three César Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and two Grammy Awards. He was made an Officer of the Ordre national du Mérite and a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres both in 2016. Some of his notable works include the scores for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), The Shape of Water (2017), The Queen (2006), The King's Speech (2010), Argo (2012), The Imitation Game (2014), and the final two films in the Harry Potter series.

Desplat's sophisticated orchestrations and his ability to seamlessly blend different musical styles have made him a sought-after composer in the film industry, contributing to both low-budget independent productions and large-scale blockbusters.