Debney has proven his versatility with films ranging from blockbuster comedies such as Elf, Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty, to action adventures like Iron Man 2 and Spy Kids (1 & 2) to dark thrillers including I Know What You Did Last Summer and Sin City. Although Debney had built an industry reputation as a talented composer, it was with his next project that the rest of the world discovered him. Blending symphonic orchestra, a wide range of world instruments and the beauty of the human voice, Debney composed the landmark score for The Passion of the Christ. Strong in his faith, Debney was enticed by the idea of working on a project that held deep, spiritual meaning for him. Debney’s emotional score for the film connected with viewers and listeners and debuted on Billboard’s charts at #1 on the Soundtrack and Christian Album charts and #19 on the Billboard Top 200. The record was certified gold by the RIAA and won the Dove award for Best Instrumental Album, as well as garnering Debney an Oscar nomination. Fresh off his success with The Passion of the Christ, he premiered “The Passion of the Christ Symphony” in Rome, Italy. The performance featured an 83-person choir and a 96-piece orchestra, and included special guest vocalist Lisbeth Scott and woodwind soloist Pedro Eustache, plus solo musicians from both the film and the classical worlds. The symphony was a success with the audience erupting into a 15-minute standing ovation catapulting Debney’s success not just in Hollywood but worldwide.
John Debney recently scored The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, HISTORY’s Texas Rising, which garnered an Emmy nomination for Main Title Theme Music, as well as NBC’s most recent series American Odyssey. Debney’s upcoming projects include the reimagining of The Jungle Book and Christ the Lord, both in theaters 2016. In the tradition of classical composers, John Debney enjoys conducting his own work. “A big part of the joy in what I do is that I consider it an honor to stand in front of live musicians and have the opportunity to hear my music played by these talented people.” In addition to conducting some of the world’s greatest orchestras performing his original works, Debney also conducted the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on a series of classic film scores for Varése Sarabande Records. He has been celebrated for incorporating a myriad of musical styles and techniques into his work, from contemporary beats to ancient instrumentation.
Debney is the youngest recipient of ASCAP’s prestigious Henry Mancini Lifetime Achievement Award. As director Robert Rodriguez perfectly described it, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”