I'm curious who our forum members could classify as the most innovative composer in film music history. only 1 choice available. It's a tough one to be sure.
Alex North, yes! But to the younger generation, I doubt his prowess would be digestible. It was heavily complex and at times, had an almost disregard for the action on screen. the music of course, was incredible.Either Toru Takemitsu or Alex North - nobody else comes close in my assessment. Bernard Herrmann comes in at #3 for me. As you say, Herrmann was one of those rare film composers used unique instrumentations and things like that. But so did North and Takemitsu. All three of them also invented their own unique musical language obviously.
Some of Takemitsu's scores from around the middle century were genuinely groundbreaking and expanded our sense of what film music could be. I haven't gotten around to familarize myself with all of his film music innovations, but I think he was for example maybe even the first composer who integrated his own field recordings into his film scores. That's not to mention a landmark score like Kwaidan which was groundbreaking.
North's A Streetcar Named Desire was one of those genuinely groundbreaking scores - perhaps even the first jazz-based score ever even.
Some of the film composers you list don't even belong in the conversation in my opinion.
John Williams for example is largely no innovator, it has never been one of his strong suits.
One important innovator in film music which I expected to be included is Leonard Rosenman. He was one of the first film composers to break the romantic mold with his serial/Americana music. I believe his score for The Cobweb was the first mostly 12-tone score and there are other scores of his that are innovative also.