Kilar, master of movie music, dies aged 81

The world of film music is mourning the death of Wojciech Kilar - best-known for his score to the Oscar-winning film The Pianist.

Wojciech Kilar

The celebrated composer died in his hometown of Katowice, Poland, on Sunday 29 December. He was 81.

Kilar wrote music for more than 130 films before gaining worldwide acclaim in 1992 for Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of Dracula, which starred Gary Oldman. The soundtrack won Kilar the Best Score Composer award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

He also provided exquisitely romantic music for Jane Campion's 1996 film version of Henry James's Portrait of a Lady, with Nicole Kidman.

Kilar received a BAFTA nomination for his score to Roman Polanski's 2002 movie, The Pianist . He also collaborated with Polanski on The Ninth Gate  starring Johnny Depp, and Death and the Maiden , with Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver.

Together with Górecki and Penderecki, Kilar was a major player in the Polish Avant-garde music movement of the 1960s. Despite his later international success as a film composer, he always preferred to concentrate on music for the concert hall. This priority reportedly lost him the commission to write the score for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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