spanning over 25 years, Burwell has scored over 50 movies, including Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, This Boy’s Life, Wayne’s World 2, And the Band Played On, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, Conspiracy Theory, The Big Lebowski, Three Kings, Gods and Monsters, Being John Malkovich, Hamlet, A Knight’s Tale, The Rookie, Adaptation, Kinsey, The Alamo, No Country for Old Men, The Spanish Prisoner, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, In Bruges, Twilight, Where The Wild Things Are, The Blind Side, A Serious Man, Howl, and many more.
Burwell has had a long working relationship with the Coen Brothers, providing music for every film they have made (except for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, where he provided additional music to a score of traditional songs produced by T-Bone Burnett). Burwell often works with left-field directors, and has also scored Spike Jonze's films.
Born in NYC, Burwell graduated from Harvard College in 1977. While at Harvard he studied
animation with Mary Beams and George Griffin, electronic music with Ivan Tcherepnin, and pursued a course of independent study at the MIT Media Lab (then known as the Architecture Machine Group). After graduation he became a teaching assistant in the Harvard Electronic Music Studio.
In 1979, his animated film, Help, I'm Being Crushed to Death by a Black Rectangle, won first place at the Jacksonville Film Festival and second place at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.
From 1979 to 1981 Carter worked as Chief Computer Scientist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island, where he wrote software for image processing, lab automation and protein analysis.
From 1982 to 1987 he worked at the New York Institute of Technology, where he began as a
computer modeler and animator, but ended up as Director of Digital Sound Research. During this time he worked on many computer-animated television spots and films, ultimately contributing models and animation to the Japanese anime Lensman.
During the 1980s Carter pursued a parallel career in music, playing with a number of bands in New York City, particularly The Same, Thick Pigeon, and Radiante. He was also writing music for dance (RAB, which premiered at the Avignon Festival in 1984), theatre (The Myth Project at Naked Angels in 1989) and film.