Austin Wintory began his obsession with composing back when he was ten years old, when he discovered Jerry Goldsmith’s scores to Patton and A Patch of Blue. After a busy high school career composing for the student orchestras, Austin went on to study at NYU and USC with composers Morten Lauridsen, Charles Fussell, and Erica Muhl. Never satisfied with working in a single medium, Austin has worked in the concert world, film music, video games, and miscellaneous others.
In March 2012, the PlayStation3 game Journey was released, after three years of work. The game instantly became Sony’s fastest-selling PlayStation title, and the soundtrack album debuted on the Billboard charts higher than any original score in gaming history. In December 2012, more history was made when it was announced that Journey had become the first-ever Grammy-nominated videogame score. The score subsequently won an Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences D.I.C.E. award, two British Academy Awards, a Spike TV VGA, and IGN’s “Overall Music of the Year,” five G.A.N.G. Awards and host of others. The score features the Macedonia Radio Symphonic Orchestra and a lineup of top soloists (Audio excerpts available here). Orchestral excerpts, and the stand alone mini-concerto “Woven Variations” have been consistently scheduled for concert performances all over the world since its release.
Beginning humbly as a Kickstarter campaign, Austin’s next major game effort was Stoic Studio’s The Banner Saga, a unique and mature turn-based strategy / RPG hybrid with a dazzling art direction. The score featured the Dallas Wind Symphony, America’s premiere wind ensemble, and an all-star trio of YouTube musicians: Malukah, Peter Hollens and Taylor Davis. The game and soundtrack were released in early 2014 to critical and commercial success; the score earned Austin over a dozen awards and nominations, including his 4th and 5th British Academy Award nominations, and won the first-ever peer-voted ASCAP Composer’s Choice Award for “Best Video Game Score of the Year.” He is currently working with Stoic on The Banner Saga 2, which was announced live, on-stage at The Game Awards in December 2014 to an audience of nearly 2 million people.
Most recently, Austin wrote and produced the score for Ubisoft’s latest blockbuster: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. The music is at its heart a chamber score deeply rooted in 19th century traditions, featuring virtuoso musicians Sandy Cameron and Tina Guo, and an all-star ensemble recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. The score earned Austin his 6th British Academy Award nomination, and second ASCAP Composer’s Choice Award nomination, and has been lauded as among the top game scores for 2015 by major industry organizations like GameTrailers, IGN, Movie Music UK, the International Film Music Critics Association and the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.
Austin has also scored nearly 50 feature films, and his first major film score, for the Sundance Film Festival-winning film Captain Abu Raed, was shortlisted for the 2009 Academy Awards for Best Original Score by the LA Times. His next major film, Grace, was also a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Austin’s score (which featured a wild array of custom-recorded sounds such as babies crying and horse flies, in addition to a large ensemble of clarinets at London’s famed Abbey Road Studios), was also highly lauded, earning a notorious Fangoria Chainsaw Award nomination and being cited by “Visions in Sound” (a popular film scoring radio program) as among the Top 10 Scores for 2010. His most recent films are writer/director Adam Alleca’s Standoff, starring Thomas Jane and Laurence Fishburne, and Amin Matalqa’s The Rendezvous, starring Stana Katic.
Outside of games, Austin also maintains a busy concert composing schedule, with regular appearances throughout the world. Most recently he premiered the commissioned work “This Gaming Life” with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a theatrical work created in collaboration with the legendary comedians called “Tripod.” Announced in 2016 was also the unveiling of his partnership with the Chicago-based chamber group Fifth House Ensemble, with whom he will tour in a production of “Journey LIVE,” a recreation of the hit PlayStation title, performed interactively live. His chamber music show “Mythos,” combining his own music with other contemporary works, is also touring throughout 2015 and beyond following a successful world premiere in Manhattan at New York Comic Con in 2014. Forthcoming he will also have premieres with the West Michigan Symphony, Colorado Symphony and others.
Passionate about education, Austin is a regular public speaker at schools and events around the world, in addition to pre-concert talks and workshops. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Education Through Music – Los Angeles, as well as the Board of Directors for the Society of Composers and Lyricists.
Austin Wintory Reviews:
“Mr. Wintory considers his next project — a warm, earthy score for the role-playing video game The Banner Saga, set for release this month — a step in this direction. The score incorporates dynamic cues that react to the player’s actions during a battle scene. If a player starts to win or lose a fight, the music will subtly shift between tense and triumphant. That the music reacts to the player is a relatively new concept. ‘At its best,’ Mr. Wintory said, ‘game music turns the player into a co-storyteller.’” —The New York Times
“Wintory’s The Banner Saga is a wonderful experience on its own. A union of classical string and wind sections, ethnic instruments like the didgeridoo, and some fine vocal talents are at Wintory’s disposal, and to say he makes good use of them would be understating things. Wintory runs the emotional gamut here and even as the pace slows, it is not for a lack of feeling. Rather, Wintory understands well the curvature necessary to build proper character within a score. Journey experienced a meteoric rise to popularity, due in large part to its ambiguity and universal appeal. With The Banner Saga, both Wintory and the project as a whole explore a different direction, one with a definitive focus on folk lore and tradition, a focus that shines in Wintory’s latest work.” —Sean Elliot, of The Daily Album
“As I played The Banner Saga, I was swept away by its chilled tapestry of brass harmonies and meandering woodwind melodies. It was as if the musical score had been woven together of shimmering mithril, evoking both the bleakness of the frozen landscape and the stubbornness of the varl race. I was reminded of several composers, Finnish composer Jean Sibelius chief among them. The opening of Sibelius’ fifth symphony captures a similar kind of comforting loneliness with its glowing French horn chords and frigid clarinets. Composers like Sibelius and Carl Nielsen have been often praised for capturing the essence of Scandinavia, but given his work on The Banner Saga’s soundtrack, I could argue for composer Austin Wintory to be added to that short list.” —Kevin VanOrd, GameSpot