A guide to Jonny Greenwood on film…

Jonny Greenwood is perhaps best known as being the lead guitarist/keyboardist of the rock band Radiohead. For over 15 years, though, Greenwood has established himself as an inventive and award-winning composer.


An early solo departure – the documentary score, Bodysong, in 2003 – lead Greenwood to receive his first orchestral commission.


2004’s Smear was premiered by the London Sinfonietta and in the same year Greenwood was announced as Composer in Residence with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

His first commission for the BBCCO, Popcorn Superhet Receiver, would play a role in his first full film score in 2007.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is an Oscar-nominated masterpiece – though Greenwood’s visceral score was ineligible thanks to the use of that earlier piece.

He was, however, nominated for his first BAFTA and won both a Critics Choice award and a London Evening Standard award.

His second score, for Anh Hung Tran’s film Norwegian Wood (2010) would see the composer utilise another existing work, this time Doghouse (composed the same year). Music from that score would go on to be performed at the BBC Proms.

Greenwood would compose the score to yet another critically acclaimed film in 2011. We Need To Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsey’s uncompromising 2011 family drama, saw the composer create an unsettling soundscape.

The following year Greenwood reunited with Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master, which cemented their creative partnership. They followed it with Inherent Vice in 2016 and Phantom Thread in 2017. 2017 also saw him reunite with Lynne Ramsey for the acclaimed film You Were Never Really Here, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Greenwood received his first Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Phantom Thread, not to mention an Ivor Novello award.

His film work has proffered some of the most intense and original scores for some while, with pretty much all of them dealing with humanity’s dark side, its flaws and complex emotional depths.

Jonny Greenwood – Filmography

Bodysong (2003)

There Will Be Blood (2007)

Norwegian Wood (2010)

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

The Master (2012)

Inherent Vice (2016)

You Were Never Really Here (2017)

Phantom Thread (2017)

Jonny Greenwood’s Three Miniatures from Water – No. 3, 88 (No. 1) and Horror vacui – for solo violin and 68 strings are performed at the BBC Proms on Tuesday 10 September at 10.15pm


Image: wonker [CC BY 2.0]