Legendary composer and arranger Michel Colombier whose credits span the last 3 decades has been set by director Guy Ritchie to score his new Madonna film Swept Away being released by Columbia. He will also do the arrangements for Can’t You See My Mind, Madonna’s title song for the upcoming James Bond film Die Another Day (opening November 22nd), and collaborate with her on several other songs for her upcoming CD while in London working on this project.
This is the second time Colombier collaborated with Madonna, the first was the Don’t Tell Me track on her CD entitled “Music.” Additionally, Colombier is seeing a great revival of interest in his career in his native France where the first volume of an anthology of his work Dreams has just been released containing an overview of 35 years of his work. This month Universal will re-release his pop masterpiece Wings, to be followed by a boxed version containing film scores, previously unreleased instrumental works, ballets and songs.
Colombier is well known in both France and the United States for his work as a movie composer, songwriter, arranger and composer of ballets and concert works. His most notable film scores include the music driven White Knights, directed by Taylor Hackford, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines, Purple Rain, starring Prince, Against All Odds, again for Taylor Hackford, starring James Woods and Jeff Bridges, Kevin Sullivan’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back, starring Whoopie Goldberg and Angela Bassett, New Jack City, directed by Mario van Peebles, starring Wesley Snipes, and Jacques Demy’s Une Chambre En Ville.
He received a Golden Globe nomination for his score of White Nights, a Grammy nomination for the soundtrack album of Against All Odds, among many other awards and honors.
In the classical world, Colombier has composed numerous symphonic suites and concertos for a wide range of orchestras and performers ranging from the London Symphony Orchestra to the Kronos Quartet and from the Paris Opera to Brandford Marsalis.
Colombier entered the world of ballet with one of Maurice Béjart’s master-pieces Messe pour le temps présent, which today, is still so popular in France that remixes of this ballet score have been done by William Orbit and Fat Boy Slim. His love of modern dance led him to compose for many of the greatest stars of the dance world including Le Jeune Homme Et La Mort (1985) for Baryshnikov and A Brief Fling (American Ballet Theater/1990), The Rules of the Game (Paris Opera/1989), The Rabbits Fur (1987) and California Kiss (1986), all for the Twyla Thorp Dance Company.
One of the most highly musical talents of the last 3 decades, Colombier started his career as a jazz performer and composer and following a stint in the French Army, he spent a year as an apprentice to French avant-garde composer Michel Magne which soon led to him being hired as Music Director for Barclay Records. His first assignment was to arrange Charles Aznavour’s first album in English, produced by Quincy Jones, released on the Mercury label.
In addition to Aznavour, Colombier has collaborated with some of the most prestigious artists in France including Charles Trenet, Catherine Deneuve, Alain Delon, Brigette Bardot, Jeanne Moreau and Serge Gainsbourg.
In the musical world, his collaborations include a diversified array of artists including Roberta Flack, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Brandford Marsalis, Neil Diamond, Herbie Hancock, Earth-Wind-and Fire, Joni Mitchell, David Sanborn, Prince and Madonna.
In the 70’s Petula Clark chose him as her Musical Director and asked him to come to the US with her where he met Herb Albert of A&M Records, who immediately signed him to an exclusive artist/composer/performer contract. Their collaboration gave birth to Wings an entirely new concept album, which was hailed at the time as “the first pop symphony,” and “the first rock oratorio.” It utilized a rock band, a full brass section, an electric string trio, an entire array of percussion, 5 soloists, a choir and the Paris-Opera Orchestra. For this album he received 3 Grammy nominations and awards in France, Japan, Holland and Canada, where Wings was turned into a TV special which won the Genie Award for Best Score.
To date, Colombier has scored more than 100 features and television movies and has worked with an impressive list of directors ranging from Claude Lelouch, Vittorio de Sica, Jacques Demy, Taylor Hackford, Joan Micklin-Silver, Eroll Morris, Michael Ritchie, Dennis Hopper, Kevin Sullivan, Bertrand Blier, Bill Duke and Guy Ritchie.