(New York, NY, November 30, 2001) – Oscar-winning composer James Horner (Titanic) has created an original score for the Miramax Films release Iris, with violinist Joshua Bell as soloist on Sony Classical’s original soundtrack recording.  Oscar winner Judi Dench and two-time Oscar nominee Kate Winslet share the title role in the film, directed by Richard Eyre, which tells the love story of the English novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley.  Iris opens December 14 in New York and Los Angeles for a one-week Oscar-qualifying run, and it will open nationally in early 2002.  The soundtrack will be released on January 8, 2002 from Sony Classical.

Horner had Bell in mind as the soloist when he composed his wistful, tender score for Iris. Bell’s playing is heard throughout the score, including a track that features Kate Winslet singing a folk song that is a part of the story.  The violinist made his first appearance on a film soundtrack as the soloist in John Corigliano’s original score for The Red Violin, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1999.

In Iris, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet play the writer Iris Murdoch at two different stages in her life, with Jim Broadbent and Hugh Bonneville sharing the role of her husband John Bayley.  The film recounts the story of Murdoch and Bayley’s life together, from their early days at Oxford in the 1950s to Murdoch’s untimely death in 1999.  The cast of the film also includes Penelope Wilton, Juliet Aubrey, Samuel West, Timothy West and Eleanor Bron.

Winner of two Oscars, two Golden Globes and a Grammy for his music for the blockbuster Titanic, Horner is one of the most acclaimed composers working in film today.  The Sony Classical soundtrack recording of Horner’s score for Titanic (SK/ST/SM 63213, also available on SACD) has sold more than 30 million units worldwide, and its sequel recording Return to Titanic (SK/SM 60691) sold some 3 million units.  He has won Oscar nominations for his scores for Apollo 13, Braveheart, Field of Dreams and Aliens, as well as for the song “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tail.  Horner’s credits include A Beautiful Mind, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Mighty Joe Young, Ransom, Courage Under Fire, Jumanji, Legends of the Fall and many more.  In recent years, Sony Classical has also released soundtrack recordings of Horner scores for Enemy at the Gates (SK 89522), The Perfect Storm (SK 89282), Freedom Song (SK 89147), Bicentennial Man (SK/SM 89038), The Mask of Zorro (SK/ST/SM 60627) and Deep Impact (SK 60690) and The Spitfire Grill (SK 62776).

Joshua Bell’s most recent Sony Classical recording is a tribute to the music of Leonard Bernstein, West Side Story Suite.  The CD also includes the composer’s Serenade and new arrangements for Bell of three classic Bernstein Broadway songs (SK 89358, also available on SACD).  A live performance of the Suite, with the New York Philharmonic, was also filmed in New York’s Central Park this summer and broadcast on the PBS Great Performances series.

Iris is written by Richard Eyre and Charles Wood, and based on John Bayley’s memoris Iris: A Memoir and Elegy for Iris.  The film is produced by Robert Fox and Scott Rudin.  The executive producers are Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Tom Hedley, Guy East and David M. Thompson.

The original soundtrack recording for Iris will be featured on www.IrisSoundtrack.com on Sony Classical’s Web site at www.sonyclassical.com.  The site will include excerpts from the score, images from the film, multimedia, special interactive features and more.  Sony Classical.com is an online resource for exploring the label’s entire catalogue of recordings, and includes sound clips, track listings, cover art and other information about the recordings.  The site also features an online radio show, album supersites, multimedia, artist biographies, tour schedules and discographies for all Sony Classical artists, as well as special promotions, and much more.