Stewart Copeland – The Invention of Morel workshops

As Stewart says: Opera is the most fun a composer can have with his clothes on.

For the last two years composer Stewart Copeland has been working on a new opera based on the book The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. It was commissioned jointly by the Long Beach Opera and the Chicago Opera Theater.

This week we had two day-long workshops with members of the Long Beach Opera. These were not show rehearsals, but rather workshops so that we could hear the composition and orchestrations live and make adjustments as needed. Led by Andreas Mitisek and Kristof Van Grysper, the ensemble was extremely talented, and also very supportive while we listened and altered the orchestrations in real time. I’ve been Stewart’s orchestrator and music copyist since 2010, and it’s always a pleasure to work with him.

The opera will be premiered by the Chicago Opera Theater in two months, February 2017.

Orchestrating for Christine Hals

This week I was orchestrating again for the wonderful Norwegian composer Christine Hals, who is scoring an animated series called Aero Origins by Desertski Films directed by Arturo Vargas. We produced the film score using the fantastic Budapest Scoring orchestra. The end product is otherworldly, textural, and beautiful in a way that’s very unique to Christine.

At the same time we also recorded another stunning piece of hers titled Calling The Aurora. To make this video she stood in -5°F in a mountain stream for an hour and a half while calling to the aurora borealis. All the best artists are crazy! But it’s always a pleasure working with her.

Arranging for David Arkenstone – 28 shows with 8 orchestras

Three-time Grammy nominee David Arkenstone began his Winter Fantasy tour last night. This year he’s combining his unique folk-inspired sound with 8 orchestras in 28 shows throughout December, collaborating with Cirque de la Symphonie to bring Cirque de Soleil style performances to the concert hall. I had the honor of writing some of the orchestral arrangements for David, and it was real pleasure. Check out his album, and if you’re in any of these cities check out the live show.

Our show is playing with:
San Francisco Symphony, CA
Atlanta Symphony, GA
Phoenix Symphony, AZ
Portland Symphony, ME
Grand Rapids Symphony, MI
Hartford Symphony, CT
Milwaukee Symphony, WI
Midland Symphony, MI

Kennedy Space Center – Heroes and Legends exhibit

Heroes and Legends is the title of the Kennedy Space Center’s new $30M multimedia exhibit which includes the Rocket Garden and Astronaut Hall of Fame. The one-hour exhibit experience tells the story of early space missions and the astronauts who took part in them through 3D films, installations and Augmented Reality. It’s highly interactive, with 36 individual mini-docs seen in the interactive pods representing qualities needed to be an astronaut. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex receives 1.5 million visitors a year and this exhibit will live on for decades. It’s an honor to be a small part of it.

The brilliant composer Penka Kouneva has long been focused on sci-fi, space, and astronauts, and she was perfectly fit to be the sole composer of the exhibit. Based here in Hollywood, Penka wrote an epic and inspiring suite of music which is used throughout the whole exhibit, and I co-orchestrated with music with her. It was recorded with an orchestra in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the music was mixed here in Los Angeles by audio mastermind John Rodd.

This is a behind-the-scenes video which reveals some of what went into creating the exhibit. Penka discusses the music at 7:43.


Stewart Copeland’s percussion concerto in San Antonio

Stewart Copeland‘s percussion concerto Tyrant’s Crush premiered last February with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and it played again last night with the San Antonio Orchestra, again featuring Stewart as the soloist. I was his music copyist, prepared the final engraving of the manuscripts for publication with G. Schirmer, and made some minor contributions to the orchestration.

This review from Classical Voice America discusses the orchestration with some detail.

With four other percussionists playing a massive battery of percussion, it’s a highly energetic and engaging piece. The reviews of the show are coming out today, and (unsurprisingly) they are very positive. Stewart’s music is always very playful, and it’s always a pleasure to work with him.


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Amadeus Live

The multi-Academy Award winning film Amadeus tells the incredible story of Mozart’s final years. The production Amadeus Live presents the film on a vast screen accompanied by a live full orchestra and choir. It will be presented at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, conducted by Richard Kaufman. I was in charge of the printing and binding for Richard, and it’s bound to be a really fantastic show.

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GameSoundCon video game sound and music conference

GameSoundCon is one of the premiere conferences and educational opportunities for those looking for highly specific education in the areas of video game sound design and scoring. Every year it’s a pleasure to attend and rub shoulders with my colleagues, since the vast majority of us work separately on different projects for most of the year.

Pictured here is Li Xiao’an, the head of East Coast Scoring in Boston, and Chance Thomas, a fantastic composer and fellow book author. Chance’s book Composing Music for Games is a fantastic companion to my book Guerrilla Film Scoring, and we will most likely collaborate in some educational events or seminars in the future.

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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith album

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is a singer and classical guitar and piano player who evolved into an electronic musician who focuses on modular synthesis. I just completed a project with her in which live orchestral musicians in Berlin were recorded in loop-ready segments. Those loops will be processed, sequenced, and mixed with her electronic sounds. I was her orchestrator and music copyist, and it was a pleasure to work with her on such an unusual collision of musical worlds.

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ASCAP publishes Guerrilla Film Scoring article

ASCAP published an article which I wrote today. It’s in their We Create Music publication titled Finding Work As A Composer. Based around some of the material from my book Guerrilla Film Scoring, it gives a few little nuggets of wisdom for surviving the industry.

There are no guarantees in any culture in the world that art is going to be sustainable and provide you a good living. As a composer you might become well-paid eventually, but you will never have a steady or predictable career path. (read more…)