Best known for his evocative film and TV scores to Agatha Christie's Poirot and La Vie En Rose, composer Christopher Gunning feels equally at home in the concert hall. He recently released a new album through Signum Classics, featuring his 2012 Violin Concerto, 2013 Cello Concerto, and 2016 symphonic poem titled Birdflight. All three works provide a musical and emotional rollercoaster that is both whimsical and daring. In this Q&A, Christopher shares his experiences composing these concert pieces.
Chris Warner, composer for the Royal Shakespeare Company and orchestrator for BBC One's McMafia, is all about helping others tell their stories. Earlier this year, he decided to tell his own story and produced a story-driven album called Wonders of the Cosmos. After listening to the album, I asked Chris about his experiences creating this beautiful sonic adventure.
For many composers, the Holy Grail of film scoring programs – the place with legendary faculty, connections, and curriculum – is the University of Southern California's Department of Screen Scoring (previously the Scoring for Motion Picture and Television [SMPTV] program). With the class of 2020 recently graduated, I asked my buddy and newly USC alumnus, Michael Wilson, about his experiences in the program.
In the second installment of my Composer Routines series, I spoke with composer Darren Fung (The Great Human Odyssey, Equus: Story of the Horse). Darren wears many hats; not only is he a skilled composer, he's also a conductor, serves on the Board of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada after recently stepping down as the Second Vice President, acts as a Program Advisor for the Canadian Film Centre's Slaight Music Residency, and is a husband and father.
Joey Newman – composer, husband, father of three daughters, four cats, and a dog. If you know Joey, or at least know his work, you know that he's composed for dozens of TV shows including Little People, Big World, The Mysteries of Laura, and The Middle. So how does a composer juggle the responsibilities of week-to-week TV work while simultaneously being family man? I asked Joey about his daily routine to find out...
If you haven't yet watched Tales from the Loop, Amazon's new sci-fi series, I highly recommend it. It's beautifully made with stunning visuals, interesting story, and, luckily for us, some mesmerizing music. That hauntingly alluring music was written by composers Paul Leonard-Morgan and Philip Glass, and blends some fantastic minimalist textures with intimate orchestration and thoughtful melodic writing. I recently had the opportunity to pick Paul's brain and ask about his experiences working on this series with Philip Glass.
I first heard about Darren Fung a few months ago when I found a video called "Making of a Film Score", which takes you into the recording session for the score to the CBC series The Great Human Odyssey, and he's been on my radar as an outstanding composer ever since. The video is great, and a lot of fun to watch, but what really caught my attention was Darren's music and his ability to control the session and his orchestra. I've included the video at the bottom of our Q&A, I highly recommend checking it out!
Matt Head is an Atlanta based composer and producer whose career in film scoring has seen incredible success over the last few years. His composition credits include numerous scores for movies, documentaries, and even commercials. Working with The Horne Brother's production company, Matthew served as the Music Supervisor and Composer for their films Kissing Bandit and The Start of Dreams. Matthew has also worked with Dapa Entertainment composing the music for their documentary I am a Dream Chaser.
Matt and I originally connected on Twitter and I was immediately impressed with the quality of Matt's music and his growing success in a city I only really knew for it's music. Matt's story is truly inspiring.
"First is merely the realization that film composers are in the film business, NOT the music business." - Richard Bellis
Richard Bellis' career in show business ranges from child actor, to composer, to educator and author, and more. After years of working as arranger and music director for Las Vegas acts like Connie Stevens, Leslie Uggams, Abbe Lane and Sally Struthers, Bellis landed his first TV movie, "Black Market Baby", in 1977. He later won an Emmy for his score to Stephen King's "It". Richard is also a past president of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, served on the faculty at USC's SMPTV program, and served on the Board of Governers of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Richard currently serves on the Board of Directors of ASCAP.
With Halloween approaching, and my annual horror movie marathon nearing its climax, I reached out to Richard for a Q&A to celebrate the season and one of my favorite 1980s horror movies, "It".
Film | Music
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