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Alberto Iglesias

Spanish film composer Alberto Iglesias is best known internationally for both thrillers and his varied orchestral scores for director Pedro Almodóvar. After getting his start in film in the early 1980s, he first partnered with Almodóvar on 1995's The Flower of My Secret, then had his first international hit in 1999 with the Almodóvar comedy-drama All About My Mother. In the meantime, Iglesias also composed multiple ballets and released electronic music with composer Javier Navarrete. He garnered his first Academy Award nomination for his suspenseful score to Fernando Meirelles' 2005 film The Constant Gardener. It won the music prize at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. He went on to work with directors like Marc Forster (2007's The Kite Runner, his second Oscar nomination), Steven Soderbergh (2008's Che), Tomas Alfredson (2011's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, his third Oscar nomination), and Ridley Scott (2014's Exodus: Gods and Kings), among others. A run of three straight Almodóvar films -- 2019's Pain and Glory, 2020's The Human Voice, and 2021's Parallel Mothers – resulted in his fourth Academy Award nomination, for Parallel Mothers, his 13th film with the director. Alberto Iglesias Fernández-Berridi was born in San Sebastian in 1955. He spent his early years studying harmony and counterpoint in the city of his birth, later studying composition and piano in Paris and in the studios of Phonos in Barcelona. Wrapping up his period of formal education, Iglesias formed a duo with fellow composer Javier Navarrete, creating and performing electronic music together from 1981 to 1986. This spark for creative and unconventional techniques would come to characterize Iglesias' career. Thanks to personal connections made by his brother Jose Luis, Iglesias began working in the film music sphere in the early '80s, scoring films such as La Conquista de Albania (1983) and the thriller Adiós Pequeña (1986). Though well liked by industry insiders, Iglesias' compositions had not found large audiences before his collaborations with Julio Medem, one of Spain's most influential directors. 1991's Cows (Vacas), followed by 1993's The Red Squirrel, formed an alliance that would lift the young composer to new heights of renown. Thanks to the films' success and the quality of Iglesias' work, he was solicited for a number of projects throughout the '90s, including The Flower of My Secret (1995) -- his first film with Pedro Almodóvar -- Medem's Lovers of the Arctic Circle (1998), and Almodóvar's All About My Mother (1999). The latter marked Iglesias' arrival as an internationally recognized name in film music. The composer kicked off the new millennium with the 2001 Medem outing Sex and Lucia, followed by Almodóvar's Talk to Her in 2002. That year, he also scored the directorial debut of actor John Malkovich, The Dancer Upstairs. His work on 2005's The Constant Gardener, an adaptation of the John le Carré novel, led to Academy Award and BAFTA nominations for original score. Iglesias took home the Prix France Musique at the next year's Cannes Film Festival. He did another film with Pedro Almodóvar, 2006's Volver, before earning Oscar and BAFTA nominations again in 2008, this time for American film The Kite Runner (2007). He finished out the decade with Steven Soderbergh's Che (2008) and Almodóvar's Broken Embraces (2009). His output in the early 2010s was highlighted by Almodóvar's sci-fi-thriller The Skin I Live In (2011) and another John le Carré adaptation, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). The latter resulted in Iglesias' third Oscar nomination for score. After the Almodóvar comedy I'm So Excited (2012), he returned to the thriller genre with a Patricia Highsmith adaptation, The Two Faces of January, in 2014, the same year that saw the release of Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings, featuring music by Iglesias. His first Medem film in 14 years, Ma Ma followed a year later. Based on a set of short stories by Alice Munro, Almodóvar's Julieta arrived in theaters in 2016. He next worked with Almodóvar again on 2019's Pain and Glory, following it with two more films by the director, 2020's The Human Voice and 2021's Parallel Mothers. The latter represented Iglesias' fourth Oscar nomination. 2021 also brought the political drama Maixable, the composer's second movie with Spanish director Icíar Bollaín.
© Marcy Donelson & Evan C. Gutierrez /TiVo
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