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  • Shirley Walker 1945-2006
  • Shirley Walker 1945-2006
    af Henrik - 23.09.1997

    Shirley Walker
    1945 - 2006
    Brief interview and biography from 1997

    SW: Thank you, Henrik, for your interest in my work and in film music in general.

    Henrik: I'm very fond of the popular Rachel Portman, but I only know YOU as a very well involved conductor for other composers. Not for your own work, I'm afraid. But I've often noticed your name at other composers "end-credits". How do you feel about being one of VERY few female film music-composers?

    SW: I’m very proud to be a film composer. It is a difficult profession to create a career in. There are so many fine musical talents wishing to be in this field, but such low opportunity level. I feel quite fortunate to be working in the profession.

    Henrik: I personally love the Danny Elfman scores to Batman and Edward Scissorhands, which you conducted; what was your view on those projects?

    SW: I was very disappointed that Danny did not get an academy award nomination for his score to the first Batman film. I felt it was one of the most interesting scores of the year in which the film was released.

    SW: Edward Scissorhands is, in my opinion, one of Danny’s most melodic scores. The dub favored the music so that you could really hear the score in the film. Hearing the music at those levels is very unusual in a film mix.

    Henrik: And finally, do you mind telling a little bit about yourself, your background, favorite composer(s) and the film, you wishes, that you had the chance to score? (see biography below)

    Best wishes,



    Widely credited as a pioneer for women composers in the film industry, Shirley Walker originally made a name for herself as a highly talented orchestrator and conductor with her work on such big hits as Batman, Days of Thunder, A League of Their Own, Backdraft and True Lies to name a few.

    Ms. Walker is now quietly establishing herself as a leading talent among Hollywood film composers with her score for MGM's suspense thriller Turbulence, starring Ray Liotta and Lauren Holly. Her composition with it's eerie intensity provides a chilling atmosphere for the twisted nature of Liotta's psychotic killer on the loose aboard a 747 navigating stormy skies. It uniquely creates a driving tension that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the score.

    Walker began her professional music career as a piano soloist with the San Francisco Symphony while still in high school, and later got her first big break as a synthesist on Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 feature Apocalypse Now, and co-composing credit on Coppola's Black Stallion in that same year. Since then, she has gathered several award nominations, including a CableACE nomination for the Blair Brown film Majority Rule, and a recent Prime Time Emmy nomination for her music for the Fox series Space: Above and Beyond. She also garnered a Daytime Emmy Award as musical director on the acclaimed animated Batman series.

    Ms. Walker recently broke industry ground with her work on 1995's Escape from L.A., a score she co-wrote with the film's director/co-writer, John Carpenter, which captures the dark, futuristic feel and industrial action of the film while blending dashes of both "old west" and world music for flavour and effect.

    Most recently, she completed the score for NBC's highest-rated television Mini Series of the season, Asteroid, the untitled Tony Danza TV movie for Disney, and is currently providing the score for Spawn, the first television series from HBO's new animation division and The New Adventures of Batman/Superman animated TV series for Warner Brothers Animation.

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