The Other Dynamic Duo: Danny Elfman and Tim Burton

By: Meg Humphrey


I don’t go to many concerts so I always forget how much I enjoy listening to live music. I had the chance to experience a wonderful night at the Seattle Symphony and the music of Danny Elfman for Tim Burton films. This was my second night at Benaroya Hall, the first was for a night of music from iconic Sci-Fi movies and television hosted by Jonathan Frakes. I’m not a person who instantly likes everything an artist does, but in Elfman and Burton have never let me down.




The show was phenomenal. Danny Elfman himself arranged the suites for this concert so what we were listening to was precisely what he felt embodied the film the best. Not only that, but the suites were sent to Tim Burton and he provided sets of movie clips and concept art for each movie to match the music. Everything we experienced that night was as thoughtful and purposeful as the movies themselves.


Danny Elfman's Music From The Films Of Tim Burton


Elfman and Burton’s contributions are perfectly matched for each other; it’s no wonder they have worked with each other for twelve films during more than twenty years. The best way to describe most of these pieces is hauntingly beautiful. What has touched me most about Tim Burton’s movies is the way they expertly find beauty and joy in situations where one would normally think there could be none. The gothic and macabre don’t negate cheerfulness and positivity. It’s in the characters and the colors of every film. Even when things are dark and bleak, there is always hope. The music matches this feel exactly.


Since that night, I’ve just been longing to watch all of movies featured in the concert, especially the ones I had never seen before. To learn more about Danny Eflman and Tim Burton’s collaborations, take a look at the program notes from Benaroya Hall.