Rachel Portman

Rachel Mary Berkeley Portman,[1] OBE (born 11 December 1960)[1] is an English composer who is best known for scoring films.

Rachel Portman

Rachel Mary Berkeley Portman

(1960-12-11) 11 December 1960 (age 59)
Haslemere, Surrey, England
Alma materWorcester College, Oxford
m. 1995)
  • Berkeley Charles Berkeley Portman (father)
  • Sheila Margaret Penelope Portman (mother)

Early life and educationEdit

Portman was born on 11 December 1960 in Haslemere in Surrey, England, the daughter of Sheila Margaret Penelope (née Mowat) Portman and Berkeley Charles Berkeley Portman.[1][2]

She was educated at Charterhouse and became interested in music from a young age, beginning composing at the age of 14.[3]

After finishing school, Portman studied Music at Worcester College, Oxford. It was here that her interest in composing music for films began as she started experimenting with writing music for student films and theatre productions.[3]


Portman's career in music began with writing music for drama in BBC and Channel 4 films such as Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Mike Leigh's Four Days in July and Jim Henson's Storyteller series.[3]

Since then, Portman has written over 100 scores for film, television and theatre.

Her other works include a children's opera, The Little Prince (which was later adapted for television) and Little House on the Prairie, a musical based upon the Laura Ingalls Wilder books Little House on the Prairie (2008). Portman was commissioned to write a piece of choral music for the BBC Proms series in August 2007 called The Water Diviner's Tale.[4]

Awards and honoursEdit

Portman's first award was received as the result of scoring "a large body of work" for The Storyteller, for which she received the Anthony Asquith Award from the British Film Institute.[5]

Later, Portman became the first female composer to win an Academy Award in the category of Best Musical or Comedy Score (for Emma in 1996). Portman was also nominated for Academy Awards for her scores for The Cider House Rules in 1999 and Chocolat in 2000.

On 19 May 2010, she was given the Richard Kirk Award at the BMI Film & TV Awards for her contributions to film and television music. Portman is the first woman to receive the honour.[6]

Portman was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours.[7]

In 2015, Portman received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Special for her work on Bessie.

Personal lifeEdit

Portman married Uberto Pasolini Dall'Onda in 1995, with whom she has three daughters.[8]



  1. ^ a b c Rachel Portman Biography (1960-), FilmReference.com website.
  2. ^ "The Peerage". Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Rachel Portman Biography". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  4. ^ The Guardian "The Water Diviner's Tale" by Michael Billington, 27 Aug 2007
  5. ^ BBC Composer of the Week: Rachel Portman at 15:36 by Donald Macleod, March 9, 2018 (retrieved April 19, 2018)
  6. ^ "Rachel Portman Receives Richard Kirk Award at BMI Film & TV Music Awards". BMI.com. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
  7. ^ "No. 59282". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2009. p. 11.
  8. ^ http://www.thepeerage.com/p64023.htm#i640228

External linksEdit