Justin Gabriel Hurwitz (born January 22, 1985) is an American film composer and a television writer. He is best known for his longtime collaboration with director Damien Chazelle, scoring each of his films: Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009), Whiplash (2014), La La Land (2016), and First Man (2018).
He won two Academy Awards: Best Original Score and Best Original Song (for "City of Stars") as well as the Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (for "City of Stars") for La La Land, and the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music. For First Man, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.
Hurwitz was born in California, the son of Gail (née Halabe), a professional ballet dancer turned registered nurse, and Ken Hurwitz, a writer. He is of Jewish heritage (from Russia, Poland, Damascus in Syria, and Beirut in Lebanon). His family moved to Wisconsin in 1998 where he attended Nicolet High School.
Hurwitz attended Harvard University, where he was roommates with director Damien Chazelle. They collaborated on a student film that would become Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, which was released in 2009. While in school, Hurwitz was a member of the Harvard Lampoon and was an original member of the indie-pop band Chester French with Chazelle.
After college, Hurwitz and Chazelle moved to Los Angeles where Hurwitz wrote comedy for the sitcom The League and one episode of the animated comedy TV series The Simpsons. Thanks to the success of Guy and Madeline, they were able to obtain financing for their next collaboration, the 2014 film Whiplash – with Hurwitz scoring the film and Chazelle writing and directing. Hurwitz also scored Chazelle's 2016 film La La Land, for which Chazelle won the Oscar for Best Director and Hurwitz won two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song.