The American Modern Ensemble performed the world premiere of new orchestrations of Stewart Copeland’s The Cask of Amontillado based on the story by Edgar Allen Poe. Stewart wrote the opera many years ago for a smaller ensemble, and I helped him re-orchestrate the show for AME’s orchestra. I was also the music copyist and did the music engravings for G. Schirmer.
Today we finished recording the film score for Nina, a biopic about the late jazz musician and classical pianist Nina Simone. We recorded the orchestra in Prague and the rest of the musicians in Los Angeles, and the film will be released in March 2016. The film stars Zoe Saldana and is directed by Cynthia Mort. The film composer is Ruy Folguera, and I was the orchestrator and music copyist.
Today Colombia Pictures released the film Freaks Of Nature. It’s a comedy horror film directed by Robbie Pickering and written by Oren Uziel. Previously titled “Misfits” and “Kitchen Sink,” the baseline “normal” in this world is vampires, humans and zombies coexisting, but it all goes wrong of course. The film was scored by Fil Eisler, and I orchestrated for him with Penka Kouneva.
I was orchestrator and co-producer for a new Opera by composer Mark Abel. We had an all-star cast of musicians and the album will be released on the Delos label in 2016. It was a deep collaboration between Mark and I which lasted about a year, and it was a real pleasure to work on. The session was conducted by Benjamin Makino and the musicians were contracted by Timothy Loo.
The $99 Orchestra is a new business venture in Lisbon, Portugal, which sells orchestral recording session time slots in smaller segments and at lower prices than ever before. Not everybody needs or wants three hours with an orchestra, and even fewer people could afford it. Their intention is to make orchestral recording available to the masses with highly flexible shared sessions.
I just finished orchestrating some music for composer Robert Charlton which will be recorded using this new orchestra at the end of the month for a music library. I am very eager to hear the quality of their performances and production, because if it’s good enough this orchestra has the potential to democratize orchestral recording and make MIDI recordings less common. Wouldn’t that be nice??
Stewart Copeland is working on several ambitious projects, and I continue to work with him as his orchestrator and music engraver for G. Schirmer. We’re currently working on a new opera, finishing a new symphony, re-orchestrating his older opera “The Cask of Amontillado”, and adding repertoire to his classical crossover ensemble ParCo. All will be completed in 2015, so it’s a busy and exciting time.
Amritha Vaz is a composer for film and television and multi-instrumentalist. Today we were at United Recording (previously JJ Puig’s room at Ocean Way) recording my orchestrations of her arrangents. We were tracking for two different album projects, one by Ensign Broderick and another by Lisa Cuthill. We had a spectacular union orchestra contracted by Peter Rotter, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Both albums are slated to be released in late 2015.
In a strange twist of coincidence I find myself orchestrating not one but TWO operas at the same time, both of them about 90 minutes long. I am confident this will never again happen in my career. Together they represent several thousand pages of orchestration and score preparation. One is by Stewart Copeland, a project that we began in late 2014. The other is by Mark Abel, also begun last year.
This month we made a big push to finish Mark’s opera because we will be producing a full orchestra recording of it in July of this year. The scores are now in three massive books, the piano reduction in another book, and our planning for the recording sessions is beginning in earnest. It will be very fun to hear this piece come to life in a few months! It will be conducted by Benjamin Makino and the musicians will be contracted by Timothy Loo.