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Mychael Danna
Danna in January 2020
Danna in January 2020
Background information
Born1958 or 1959 (age 65–66)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
OriginToronto, Ontario, Canada
Years active1987–present

Mychael Danna (born 1958 or 1959) is a Canadian composer of film and television scores. He won both the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Original Score for Life of Pi. He has also won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Original Dramatic Score) in his work on the miniseries World Without End.

Personal life

Danna's family moved to Burlington, Ontario, when he was four weeks old. He is the brother of fellow composer Jeff Danna. He studied music composition at the University of Toronto. He has two children with his wife, Aparna.[1]


Danna served for five years as composer-in-residence at the McLaughlin Planetarium in Toronto (1987–1992). Works for dance include music for Dead Souls (Carbone Quatorze Dance Company, directed by Gilles Maheu 1996), and a score for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Gita Govinda (2001) based on the 1000-year-old classical Gita Govinda, with choreographer Nina Menon. In June 2014, Danna was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Toronto, for his career achievements in the field of music.[2]

He has been scoring films since his 1987 feature debut for Atom Egoyan's Family Viewing, a score which earned Danna the first of his thirteen Genie Award nominations. He has won five times for Achievement in Music - Original Score.[3] Danna is recognized as one of the pioneers of combining non-Western sound sources with orchestral and electronic minimalism in the world of film music. This reputation has led him to work with such directors as Atom Egoyan, Deepa Mehta, Terry Gilliam, Scott Hicks, Ang Lee, Gillies MacKinnon, James Mangold, Mira Nair, Billy Ray, Joel Schumacher, and Denzel Washington. His soundtrack for Ang Lee's Life of Pi earned two Academy Award nominations for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for Pi's Lullaby.

Other films include Dan Scanlon's Onward, Mimi Leder's On the Basis of Sex, Nora Twomey's The Breadwinner, Bennett Miller's Capote and Moneyball and Marc Webb's (500) Days of Summer.

On September 30, 2021, Danna received a Career Achievement Award from the Zurich Film Festival.[4][5]


Year Title Notes
1987 Family Viewing
1988 Murder One
Blood Relations
1989 Speaking Parts
Road to Avonlea TV series
One Man Out
Cold Comfort
Without Work: Not by Choice Short Film
Termini Station
1990 Still Life: The Fine Art of Murder
1991 The Adjuster
Johann's Gift to Christmas TV Short series
Montréal vu par... segment: "En passant"
The Big Slice
1993 Hush Little Baby TV movie
Gross Misconduct TV movie
Ordinary Magic
1994 Exotica
The Darling Family
Narmada: A Valley Rises Documentary
Dance Me Outside
1995 Johnny Mnemonic
1996 Dangerous Offender: The Marlene Moore Story TV movie
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love
1997 The Ice Storm
The Sweet Hereafter
1998 At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story
1999 The Boondock Saints With his brother Jeff Danna
Girl, Interrupted
Don't Think Twice Short Film
Ride with the Devil
Felicia's Journey
The Confession
2000 Bounce
2001 Hearts in Atlantis
Monsoon Wedding
The Hire: Chosen
Green Dragon With his brother Jeff Danna
2002 Antwone Fisher
The Guys
2003 The Snow Walker
Shattered Glass
Hulk Additional cue "Mother"
2004 Being Julia
Vanity Fair
2005 Sohni Sapna
Eve and the Fire Horse
Tideland With his brother Jeff Danna
Water Background score only
Genie Award for Best Original Score
Where the Truth Lies
Aurora Borealis
2006 The Nativity Story
Little Miss Sunshine
Lonely Hearts
2007 Surf's Up First score for an animated film.
Fracture With his brother Jeff Danna
2008 Adoration
Lakeview Terrace With his brother Jeff Danna
2009 (500) Days of Summer With Rob Simonsen
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus With his brother Jeff Danna
The Time Traveler's Wife
2011 Camelot TV series
With his brother Jeff Danna
2012 Life of Pi Academy Award for Best Original Score
Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Pi's Lullaby")
2013 Devil's Knot
2014 Transcendence[6]
The Captive
Tyrant TV series
With his brother Jeff Danna
2015 Sanjay's Super Team Short Film
The Good Dinosaur With his brother Jeff Danna
Replaced Thomas Newman
2016 Storks With his brother Jeff Danna
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk With his brother Jeff Danna
2017 The Breadwinner[7] With his brother Jeff Danna
The Man Who Invented Christmas
2018 On the Basis of Sex
2019 A Dog's Way Home
The Red Sea Diving Resort
After the Wedding
Guest of Honour
The Addams Family With his brother Jeff Danna
2020 Onward With his brother Jeff Danna
2021 Stillwater
The Addams Family 2 With his brother Jeff Danna
2022 Return to Space with Harry Gregson-Williams
Where the Crawdads Sing
My Father's Dragon With his brother Jeff Danna
2023 No Hard Feelings with Jessica Rose Weiss


  1. ^ "Life of Pi golden for Burlington's Mychael Danna". Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "Convocation 2014: meet honorary grad Mychael Danna". Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  3. ^ "Canada's Awards Database". March 28, 2011. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  4. ^ Croll, Ben (September 27, 2021). "For Oscar-Winning 'Life of Pi' Composer Mychael Danna, Concept is King". Variety. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  5. ^ "Career Achievement Award for Film Composer Mychael Danna". Zurich Film Festival (in German). Archived from the original on July 25, 2021. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  6. ^ "Mychael Danna to Score Wally Pfister's 'Transcendence'". Film Music Reporter. December 19, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  7. ^ "Mychael & Jeff Danna to Score 'The Breadwinner'". Film Music Reporter. June 2, 2017. Retrieved July 7, 2017.

Further reading