Nightmare Before Christmas

Danny Elfman’s Nightmare Before Christmas

Featuring: Tim Davies, David Das, and Reuven Herman

In our first study on the music of Danny Elfman, Tim Davies and ASA President David Das take apart the classic 1993 score to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. We featured an in-depth look at two cues from the movie (“Nabbed” and “Ending”), discussed Danny’s compositional technique, and looked at portions of the movie to see how Tim Burton and Danny Elfman created this masterpiece.


Tim Davies is one of the busiest conductors and orchestrators in Hollywood. His film and TV credits include The Lego Movie 2, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hotel Transylvania 3, Empire, La La Land, Minions, and Frozen. In addition he has a wealth of video game credits under his belt, having orchestrated and conducted scores to Marvel’s Spider-Man, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and multiple titles from the God of War, Infamous, Resistance, and Batman: Arkham series. He is also becoming known in the concert hall having conducted Frozen Live and Beauty and the Beast with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, and Pokemon: Symphonic Evolutions with the Baltimore and San Diego Symphonies. In January 2018 Davies conducted the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, for the first time, featuring his arrangements for Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds.

The Babyface concert was the most recent in a string of collaborations with the NSO and the Kennedy Center that have included arranging and playing drums for the twentieth anniversary concert of NAS’ Illmatic, being lead arranger for Kendrick Lamar’s performance of To Pimp a Butterfly, and working on shows with artists Ledisi and Common. He has arranged for albums by chart-topping artists Amy Winehouse, Akon, Miguel, Cee Lo Green and for orchestras all over the world from the Los Angeles Philharmonic to frequent collaborations with The Netherlands’ Metropole Orkest. He plays drums and writes for his own group, the 18-piece Tim Davies Big Band, and received Grammy nominations for Best Instrumental Composition in 2010 and 2016.

Davies has also worked as a composer, beginning with a collaboration with two-time Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla on the score to the Fox animated film The Book of Life. This was also the beginning of a relationship with producer/director Guillermo del Toro, which led to writing additional music for Crimson Peak and then creating the Annie-nominated score for his TV show, Trollhunters, produced by Dreamworks Animation for Netflix.


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