Neal Acree is an award winning film, television and video game composer and conductor whose work includes the massively popular game franchises World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Overwatch, Revelation Online, shows like Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Witchblade and over 30 feature films. A versatile and prolific composer with roots in classical, rock and electronic music, Acree's music has been recorded and performed by orchestras and choirs around the world, including the hit concert tour Video Games Live.
"What Acree achieves with his combination of orchestration and technological wizardry is quite amazing...
Anyone looking for a grand, epic score with a really great theme should hire this guy!"
- Mikael Carlsson, Music From The Movies
A fan of movies and their music from a very early age, Neal's first records were soundtracks by John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner and others. Though originally planning a career in art, his early experiments in instrumental electronic music began to take over his life. After studying classical, ethnic and electronic music (including a semester in England), Neal began to see that film scoring was the ideal outlet for his love of movies and music. Soon after, his childhood love for video games that began with an Atari 2600 would find a new outlet in writing music for games when he scored the opening cinematic to Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade in 2006. Games would offer a whole new world to play in musically and the far reaching popularity of Neal's music for them has allowed him to conduct it for fans on on four continents.
In 2014 Neal’s critically acclaimed, Asian themed music for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria would open a new door, this time to the East. When Chinese game giant NetEase gave Neal the unique opportunity to write a traditional Chinese score for their fantasy MMO Revelation Online (one of the first times a Chinese game company had hired a Westerner to do so), he felt strangely at home. Having been raised by a father whose love of Chinese cinema and culture was mirrored by the passion for art and music that he passed on to his son, Neal found an unexpected familiarity in a musical language that was on the surface so foreign. The result was one of his most passionate and critically acclaimed scores that led to several more collaborations with NetEase including Imperial Reign, Wildfire and Legends of Tibet.
Early in his career, Neal had the opportunity to work in cartage, transporting and setting up music equipment at major Hollywood scoring sessions. This gave him a unique "fly on the wall" perspective of nearly all of the A-list Hollywood composers at work including Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman, David Newman, Randy Newman, John Barry, Alan Silvestri, Bill Conti, John Debney and James Newton Howard.
This proved to be an invaluable learning experience, as well as an opportunity to meet and eventually apprentice with such distinguished composers as Marc Shaiman (Hairspray, City Slickers), Richard Marvin (The O.C., Six Feet Under), and the late Joel Goldsmith (Stargate SG-1, Call Of Duty 3). Neal would collaborate on numerous projects with Joel over the years including the Emmy nominated mini series Helen of Troy, all three of the Stargate series, the SyFy series Sanctuary, Witchblade and numerous others. "Joel was a dear friend and mentor", Neal says, "He taught me so much and opened so many doors for me. He will be sorely missed."
In addition to winning two Hollywood Music In Media Awards, a Golden Reel Award, six Game Audio Network Guild Awards and four Global Music Awards, Neal was also nominated for a BAFTA, four Academy Of Interactive Arts and Sciences Awards, two ASCAP Composer's Choice Awards as well as numerous critic awards. In 2016 Neal was named the BSOSpirit Jerry Goldsmith "Composer of the Year" at a ceremony in Malaga, Spain.