Gustavo Santaolalla

A talented musician who hailed from Argentina, Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla became a critically acclaimed film composer, whose best known works included the score for the films "Brokeback Mountain" (2005) and "Babel" (2006). He was born on August 19, 1951 in El Palomar, a planned community within Greater Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1967, he co-founded the musical group Arco Iris, an influential Argentine rock band that fused rock with regional folk music. After leaving the group in 1975, Santaolalla joined Alejandro Lerner and Monica Campins to form a new band called Soluna, which released only one album, Energia Natural (1977). He eventually left Argentina for Los Angeles, where he began to incorporate the sounds of American rock and roll into his music. He returned to Argentina in 1981 and began recording his first solo album. The self-titled Santaolalla was released in the same year and incorporated the synthetic rock and roll sounds of the '80s that he heard during his stay in Los Angeles. His 1998 album Ronroco was notable for its use of the charango, Andean folk string instrument, particularly in the solo piece "Iguazu." The magnificently ethereal track became his entry point into the film industry when it was used in the critically acclaimed Michael Mann comedy-drama "The Insider" (1999). Santaolalla began working on his first feature film score when Mexican film director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu approached him to compose the music to his bleak drama "Amores perros" (2000). The film marked the first of several collaborations between Santaolalla and Inarritu. Their next project was "21 Grams" (2003), the second of three planned movies of Inarritu's "Death Trilogy" that began with "Amores perros." Both films were critical successes and brought much attention to Santaolalla's scores. In 2004, he composed the soundtrack to "The Motorcycle Diaries," a Walter Salles film based on the memoir written by Che Guevara, who was played by Gael Garcia Bernal. His musical efforts on the film earned him his first BAFTA award in 2005. In the same year, moviegoers heard Santaolalla's music accompanying Ang Lee's acclaimed drama "Brokeback Mountain." The romantic drama about the secret sexual relationship between two ranch hands received numerous accolades. Santaolalla's score was given a BAFTA Award and an Academy Award for Best Original Score; his song "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" won a Golden Globe for Best Original Score. Santaolalla continued his hot streak the following year with his score for "Babel," the third and final film of Inarritu's trilogy, with another BAFTA Award and his second Oscar for Best Original Score. For both "Brokeback Mountain" and "Babel," Santaolalla was nominated a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album. In 2009, he won a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album for producing Colombian singer-songwriter Juanes' 2007 album, La Vida Es Un Ratico. Santaolalla made his first foray into the video game industry in 2013 when he composed the score for the Playstation 4 survival adventure game, "The Last of Us." Santaolalla's score was an important immersive element within the game, praised by many reviewers and players.