Mark Isham

Mark Ware Isham (born September 7, 1951) is an American musician and film composer. A trumpeter and synthesizer player, Isham works in a variety of genres, including jazz and electronic.[1][2] He is also a film composer, having worked on numerous films and television series, including The Hitcher, Point Break, A River Runs Through It, Of Mice and Men, Warrior, Nell, Blade, Crash, The Lucky One and Once Upon a Time.

Mark Isham
Birth nameMark Ware Isham
Born (1951-09-07) September 7, 1951 (age 70)
New York City, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz, electronic
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsTrumpet, keyboards
Years active1976–present
LabelsECM, Windham Hill, Columbia, Virgin

Isham acted as well in Made in Heaven by Alan Rudolph (1987) and directed The Cowboy and the Ballerina in 1998.

Life and careerEdit

Isham was born in New York City,[3] the son of Patricia (née Hammond), a violinist, and Howard Fuller Isham, a Professor of Humanities.[4]

His discography is extensive and varied, including participation with artists including David Sylvian, Group 87, Art Lande, Pharoah Sanders, Van Morrison, David Torn, and sessions with people like Brian Wilson, Joni Mitchell, Terry Bozzio, Bill Bruford, XTC,[3] and Siouxsie Sioux.[5] His musical styles include crossover jazz, post-bop, ambient, progressive electronic, chamber jazz, and new age.[6]

Isham is a Scientologist.[7][8] He is married to Donna Isham.[8]


Contributions to soundtracksEdit


Year Title Director Notes
1983 Never Cry Wolf Carroll Ballard N/A
1984 Country Richard Pearce N/A
1984 Mrs. Soffel Gillian Armstrong N/A
1985 Trouble in Mind Alan Rudolph N/A
1986 "The Making of Liberty" Charles Guggenheim N/A
1986 The Hitcher Robert Harmon N/A
1987 Made in Heaven Alan Rudolph N/A
1988 The Moderns Alan Rudolph N/A
1988 The Beast Kevin Reynolds N/A
1990 Everybody Wins Karel Reisz N/A
1990 Love at Large Alan Rudolph N/A
1990 Reversal of Fortune Barbet Schroeder N/A
1991 Mortal Thoughts Alan Rudolph N/A
1991 Crooked Hearts Michael Bortman N/A
1991 Point Break Kathryn Bigelow N/A
1991 Little Man Tate Jodie Foster N/A
1991 Billy Bathgate Robert Benton N/A
1992 A Midnight Clear Keith Gordon N/A
1992 Sketch Artist Phedon Papamichael N/A
1992 Cool World Ralph Bakshi N/A
1992 A River Runs Through It Robert Redford Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Nominated for an Awards Circuit Community Award for Best Music.
Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.
1992 The Public Eye Howard Franklin N/A
1992 Of Mice and Men Gary Sinise N/A
1993 Nowhere to Run Robert Harmon N/A
1993 Fire in the Sky Robert Liebarman Nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Music.
1993 Made in America Richard Benjamin N/A
1993 Short Cuts Robert Altman N/A
1993 Romeo Is Bleeding Peter Medak N/A
1994 The Getaway Roger Donaldson N/A
1994 The Browning Version Mike Figgis N/A
1994 Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Alan Rudolph N/A
1994 Quiz Show Robert Redford N/A
1994 Timecop Peter Hyams N/A
1994 Nell Michael Apted Nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score - Motion Picture.
1994 Safe Passage Robert Allan Ackerman N/A
1995 Miami Rhapsody David Frankel N/A
1995 Waterworld Kevin Reynolds Rejected score
Replaced by James Newton Howard
1995 Losing Isaiah Stephen Gyllenhaal N/A
1995 The Net Irwin Winkler N/A
1995 Home for the Holidays Jodie Foster N/A
1996 Last Dance Bruce Beresford N/A
1996 Gotti Steve Shagan N/A
1996 Fly Away Home Carroll Ballard N/A
1996 Night Falls on Manhattan Sidney Lumet N/A
1997 Afterglow Alan Rudolph N/A
1997 Kiss the Girls Gary Fleder N/A
1997 The Defenders: Payback Andy Wolk N/A
1997 The Education of Little Tree Richard Friedenberg N/A
1998 The Defenders: Choice of Evils Andy Wolk N/A
1998 The Gingerbread Man Robert Altman N/A
1998 Blade Stephen Norrington N/A
1998 The Defenders: Taking the First Andy Wolk N/A
1998 Free Money Yves Simoneau N/A
1999 At First Sight Irwin Winkler N/A
1999 Varsity Blues Brian Robbins N/A
1999 Breakfast of Champions Alan Rudolph N/A
1999 October Sky Joe Johnston N/A
1999 Body Shots Michael Cristofer N/A
2000 Rules of Engagement William Friedkin N/A
2000 Where the Money Is Marek Kanievska N/A
2000 Trixie Alan Rudolph N/A
2000 Men of Honor George Tillman, Jr. N/A
2001 Save the Last Dance Thomas Carter N/A
2001 Life as a House Irwin Winkler N/A
2001 Hardball Brian Robbins N/A
2001 Don't Say a Word Gary Fleder N/A
2001 The Majestic Frank Darabont N/A
2002 Impostor Gary Fleder N/A
2002 Moonlight Mile Brad Silberling N/A
2003 The Cooler Wayne Kramer N/A
2004 Spartan David Mamet N/A
2004 Miracle Gavin O'Connor N/A
2004 Highwaymen Robert Harmon N/A
2004 Twisted Philip Kaufman N/A
2004 Crash Paul Haggis N/A
2005 Racing Stripes Frederik Du Chau N/A
2005 Kicking & Screaming Jesse Dylan N/A
2005 In Her Shoes Curtis Hanson N/A
2006 Eight Below Frank Marshall N/A
2006 Invincible Ericson Core N/A
2006 Bobby Emilio Estevez N/A
2006 The Black Dahlia Brian De Palma N/A
2007 Freedom Writers Richard LaGravenese N/A
2007 In the Valley of Elah Paul Haggis N/A
2007 Lions for Lambs Robert Redford N/A
2007 Gracie Davis Guggenheim N/A
2007 Reservation Road Terry George N/A
2007 No Reservations Scott Hicks N/A
2007 Next Lee Tamahori N/A
2007 The Mist Frank Darabont N/A
2008 Pride and Glory Gavin O'Connor N/A
2008 The Express: The Ernie Davis Story Gary Fleder N/A
2008 The Secret Life of Bees Gina Prince-Bythewood N/A
2009 Crossing Over Wayne Kramer N/A
2009 Not Forgotten Dror Soref N/A
2009 Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Werner Herzog N/A
2009 Fame Kevin Tancharoen N/A
2010 The Crazies Breck Eisner N/A
2010 The Conspirator Robert Redford N/A
2011 The Mechanic Simon West N/A
2011 Dolphin Tale Charles Martin Smith N/A
2011 Warrior Gavin O'Connor N/A
2012 The Factory Morgan O'Neill N/A
2012 The Lucky One Scott Hicks Won a BMI Award for Film Music.
2013 The Conjuring James Wan N/A
2013 The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete George Tillman, Jr. N/A
2013 42 Brian Helgeland N/A
2013 Homefront Gary Fleder N/A
2014 Beyond the Lights Gina Prince-Bythewood Nominated for a Black Reel Award for Outstanding Original Score.
2015 The Longest Ride George Tillman, Jr. N/A
2016 Mr. Church Bruce Beresford N/A
2016 Mechanic: Resurrection Dennis Gansel N/A
2016 The Accountant Gavin O'Connor N/A
2016 Fallen Scott Hicks N/A
2017 Dirty Dancing Wayne Blair N/A
2018 Duck Duck Goose Chris Jenkins N/A
2019 Bolden Dan Pritzker N/A
2019 A Dog's Journey Gail Mancuso N/A
2019 Togo Ericson Core N/A
2020 Bill & Ted Face the Music Dean Parisot N/A
2020 Honest Thief Mark Williams N/A
2021 Judas and the Black Messiah Shaka King N/A
2021 Needle in a Timestack John Ridley N/A
2022 Blacklight Mark Williams N/A

Television seriesEdit

Year Title Episode(s) Notes
1994 Chicago Hope "Pilot" N/A
1996 EZ Streets 2 N/A
1997 Michael Hayes "Prequel" N/A
1997 Nothing Sacred TV series theme
1998 From the Earth to the Moon 2 N/A
1999 Family Law 18 N/A
2007 The Black Donnellys 18 N/A
2008–2009 Crash 26 N/A
2011–2018 Once Upon a Time 147 N/A
2012 Beauty and the Beast "Pilot" N/A
2013–2014 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 7 N/A
2015 Blood & Oil 10 N/A
2015 American Crime 21 N/A
2017 Black Mirror "Arkangel" N/A
2018 Marvel's Cloak & Dagger 10 N/A
2019 Godfather of Harlem 10 N/A
2020 Little Fires Everywhere 8 N/A
2020 Amazing Stories "The Rift" N/A
2021 The Nevers N/A N/A
2021 Sex/Life 8 N/A

Documentaries and shortsEdit

Year Title Director Notes
1984 The Times of Harvey Milk Rob Epstein N/A
1985 Portraits of Anorexia N/A
1985 Rabbit Ears: The Steadfast Tin Soldier N/A
1990 Tibet N/A
1993 Hawaii: Born in Paradise Robert Hillmann N/A
1993 Hidden Hawaii Robert Hillmann N/A
1998 The Blood Tide N/A
1999 Galapagos N/A
2001 From the Ground Up Laura Nix N/A
2006 Running Scared Wayne Kramer N/A
2011 "Morning" Dror Soref N/A
2017 Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982–1992 John Ridley N/A


As director

Year Title Director Notes
1998 The Cowboy and the Ballerina Mark Isham N/A

As screenwriter

Year Title Director Notes
1998 The Cowboy and the Ballerina Mark Isham N/A

As actor

Year Title Director Notes
1987 Made in Heaven Alan Rudolph N/A

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Mark Isham Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  2. ^ "Movies". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 649/50. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  4. ^ "Mark Isham Biography (1951-)". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Siouxsie on Hector Zazou's 'Songs from the Cold Seas' - CD Columbia, Columbia CD, 1995, liner notes for Siouxsie's song "The Lighthouse", featuring Mark Isham on trumpet, recorded in Paris, in February 1994
  6. ^ Artist Biography by Steve Huey on
  7. ^ Richardson, John M. (September 11, 1993). "The Scientology Church of Hollywood". The Globe and Mail. Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.
  8. ^ a b Wright, Lawrence (February 14, 2011). "The Apostate: Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  9. ^ Nickerson, Thomas (November 9, 2006). "The making of Army Strong". United States Army. Retrieved May 19, 2011.

External linksEdit