, London, U.K.
Powell originally trained as a violinist as a child, before studying at London's Trinity College of Music. He later ventured into jazz and rock music, playing in a soul band the Fabulistics. On leaving college, he composed music for commercials, which led to a job as an assistant to the composer Patrick Doyle on several film productions, including 'Much Ado About Nothing'.
In 1995, he co-founded the London-based commercial music house Independently Thinking Music, which produced scores for more than 100 British and French commercials and independent films.
Powell's first film score was for the 1990 film 'Stay Lucky'. He moved to the U.S. in 1997, and scored his first major film, Antz in 1998, the first film produced by Dreamworks Animation which he co-scored with fellow British composer Harry Gregson-Williams. Two years later the two collaborated again to compose the score to Chicken Run, and again the following year on Shrek, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. All subsequent 'Shrek' films however, have been solely scored by Gregson-Williams.
In 2002 Powell was hired to score 'The Bourne Identity', after Carter Burwell left the project, and has gone on to score all of director Doug Liman's subsequent films. He also returned to score the other two films in the series; 'The Bourne Supremacy' and 'The Bourne Ultimatum', which were both directed by British director Paul Greengrass.
In 2010, Powell composed the score to 'How To Train Your Dragon'. This was his sixth score for a Dreamworks Animation film, although the first where he composed the whole score himself. It also became his first work to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score. That year, he has also scored 'Greengrass' Green Zone', and 'Knight and Day'.