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Rachel Portman

Born: 1960

Nationality: British

Publisher: Chester Music

Photo © Benjamin Ealovega


Rachel Portman was born in west Sussex, England. She began composing at the age of 14 and read music at Oxford University. Whilst there, she became interested in writing music for student films and theatre productions. She gained experience writing music for drama in BBC and Channel 4 films such as Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Mike Leigh's Four Days In July and Jim Henson's Storyteller series, however the majority of her work has been in film. 

Rachel won an Academy award for her score for Emma and Academy nominations for Chocolat and Ciderhouse Rules. She has been fortunate to work with directors Roman Polanski (Oliver Twist), Norman Jewison (Only You), Jonathan Demme (Beloved, Truth About Charlie, Manchurian Candidate), Robert Redford (Legend of Bagger Vance), Mike Leigh (Life is Sweet), as well as countless others. Her list of film scores includes The Vow, Never Let Me Go, One Day, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Grey Gardens (HBO), The Duchess, Infamous, Lake House, Hart's War, Human Stain, Marvin's Room, Benny and Joon, Joy Luck Club, Smoke, Nicholas Nickleby and Where Angels Fear to Tread. 

She has written a musical of Little House on the Prairie as well as an opera of Saint-ExupĂ©ry's The Little Prince for Houston Grand Opera and The Water Diviner, a dramatic choral symphony commissioned for the BBC Proms concerts. 

She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours. 

Rachel lives in London with her three daughters.
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