In this exclusive SoundWorks Collection profile we talk with the Music Conductor and Orchestrator Tim Simonec on the 20th Century Fox Newman Scoring stage for Director J.J. Abram’s new film Star Trek Into Darkness.
For years, Tim Simonec has been one of the busiest orchestrators in Hollywood. He has orchestrated and conducted over 70 feature films and 25 television series. He has also composed the music for the feature film A Rumor of Angels and Anne Frank: The Whole Story, which won an Emmy for best mini-series.
He has worked with Graeme Revell since 1991 as his orchestrator and conductor.Some of their films together are Pineapple Express, Daredevil, The Negotiator, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. In 1996, he began working with composer Chris Tyng. Their projects together included kazaam, The Associate, and the TV series Futurama. Since 1997, Tim has been working with Michael Giacchino as his conductor and orchestrator/arranger. Over the years their projects have included video games such as Medal of Honor, Call of Duty; TV series, Alias, LOST, Fringe; and films, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, The Family Stone, Mission Impossible 3, Star Trek, UP, and most recently, Super 8, Cars 2, MI4: Ghost Protocol, and John Carter. For his arrangement of the end-titles of UP, Tim was nominated for a Grammy.
Tim was born and raised in Chicago…making him, to this day, a die-hard Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks fan. He began playing the organ and piano at age 8, and became the church organist at the ripe old age of 12! Despite his teen years at the keyboards, he chose to study theology in college. And while his intent was to become a minister, his love of music was a constant in his life. He arranged music for orchestra during college, and after graduation, Tim was hired to write a theme for a local television program. The moment he heard studio musicians play his composition, he realized his passion and career would be music.
Although Tim decided to pursue a career in film composition, ironically, he did so by writing the scores for 40 religious films. While recording music for a religious documentary in London in 1979, recording engineer Eric Tomlinson (Star Wars, Superman) was impressed with Tim’s composition and encouraged him to make the move to Los Angeles. Soon after arriving in LA, Tim was hired to compose music for Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Family Ties.
All was moving along well until March of 1984. After experiencing debilitating numbness in his hands and a painful, stiff neck, Tim was diagnosed with a tumor on his cervical spinal cord. The operation to remove the tumor resulted in Tim becoming a quadriplegic. He was told he would never walk again. After thousands of prayers, the support and love of the woman who became his wife, and great determination, Tim learned to walk again. In medical terms, he is that rare phenomenon, a walking quadriplegic. He also regained partial use of his hands and is able to conduct orchestras.
Tim’s days at the keyboard were over but he knew he could compose, hopefully with the newest technology…the Apple computer! In 1986, he returned to pursue his passion and career in film music, which he continues to this day.