CELEBRATING OUR COMMUNITY STARS
James Thatcher, Horn
James Thatcher has been the New West Symphony’s Principal Horn since the orchestra’s inception in 1995. Notably, James played with John Williams for the original soundtrack of Raiders of the Lost Ark. He began his professional career at age 16 when he played and studied in Mexico City with his uncle, Gerald Thatcher, former principal hornist with the National Symphony of Mexico. Subsequent instructors have included Fred Fox, Don Peterson, Wendell Hoss, James Decker, Vincent DeRosa and master classes with Hermann Baumann. Mr. Thatcher has been a member of the Phoenix Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the Pacific Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
He is currently principal horn of the New West Symphony but principally he is a studio player, a recipient of the Most Valuable Player Award from the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences and “arguably the most often heard horn player in the world” due to his performances on some 70 to 80 films per year for the last 20 years.
James has the enviable position of being the favored first horn of multiple Oscar-winning composer John Williams performing in such films as Always, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Sleepers (in which he received an on-screen credit), Nixon, Schindler’s List, JFK, Sabrina, Home Alone, Rosewood, Seven Years in Tibet and The Patriot as well as the fanfare for the 1992 Olympics.
He also works regularly with other Hollywood greats Jerry Goldsmith, James Newton Howard, Randy Newman, John Barry, James Horner and Alan Silvestri to name a few and can be heard as well in the tracks to Glory, The Rocketeer, Field of Dreams, Monster House, X-Men: The Last Stand, Robots, Spider-Man 3, Ice Age, Polar Express, Beowulf, Dances with Wolves, Toy Story, Cars, Maverick, Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, Titanic, Pearl Harbor, Constantine, National Treasure, Transformers, The Simpsons Movie, Night at the Museum, Dinosaur, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, King Kong, Signs, Lady in the Water, Peter Pan, First Knight, Hook, Independence Day and the Star Trek films. Most recently, Mr. Thatcher was deemed principal horn in James Newton Howard’s soundtrack of The Last Airbender directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Thatcher has joined Kristy Morrell on the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music as the co-professor of Horn. Notable students include J. Greg Miller.