Jonny Greenwood

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About Jonny Greenwood

Although still best known for his kaleidoscopic guitar work in the rock band Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood has transformed an early dalliance in film scoring into a full-time practice that has occasionally eclipsed his band output. Born in Oxford in 1971, he grew up listening to a small but eclectic collection of music in the family car, and while countless children encounter the recorder as their first instrument, he continued to play it as a teenager in school Baroque ensembles. He also played viola before turning to the guitar and computer music. He formed Radiohead while still at school, and experienced the band’s meteoric international ascent during the 1990s. In 2003, he scored his first film, the documentary Bodysong, which retained many hallmarks of his Radiohead work, with hints of jazz and evocative orchestrations complementing his guitar and electronics foundation. He soon jumped full-bore into orchestral music, revealing the monumental intensity of Krzysztof Penderecki as a key influence in his 2005 piece Popcorn Superhet Receiver. He later collaborated with the composer on a 2012 album offsetting Penderecki’s iconic Polymorphia against Greenwood’s 48 Responses to “Polymorphia.” Most of Greenwood’s subsequent work has been for film, including an especially close working relationship with director Paul Thomas Anderson on movies such as There Will Be Blood (2007) and The Master (2012). The medium has proven a highly effective canvas for Greenwood to explore the full diapason of his interests, allowing him to toggle between orchestral and electronic sounds, modern classical, and other non-pop styles. In 2021, he co-founded The Smile, a new rock band with Radiohead singer Thom Yorke; however, his film work continues to be his main outlet.

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