Despite the brutal schedule of working in the scoring profession, I always look for other creative avenues. Last spring, I composed “Incantation” for flautist Jenni Olson, and it is now available on her second studio album, “The Dreams of Birds,” from Delos Music (on CD or digitally from iTunes or Amazon MP3).
Jenni is a remarkable musician and our collaborations go back more than a decade, to when we met at the USC Thornton School of Music. She was a featured performer in my earliest orchestras, assembled in college to record film scores for directors I still collaborate with today. Fans of mine will recognize her haunting flute tone from evocative solos on my scores to “Human Target” and “The Cape,” among others. (more…)
On Friday, October 5th, the Calder Quartet will perform a special concert at The Getty Center in Los Angeles, commemorating the work of sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt. The program will feature the world-premiere performance of “A Hypocrite and Slandererer,” a blistering scherzo for string quartet I wrote specifically for the event. The concert will also feature original commissions from Mark Mothersbaugh and Don Davis: a great night for film music fans!
The Calder Quartet and I go way back. All five of us went to school together at USC. Violinists Ben Jacobson and Andrew Bulbrook, violist Jonathan Moerschel and cellist Eric Byers performed many of my concerts and recordings during our time at USC. After graduation, they formed the remarkably successful Calder Quartet, and I did my thing. October 5th marks the first time the five of us will have collaborated in over a decade.
This November will mark the twentieth anniversary of the tragic passing of Freddie Mercury. As the lead singer and frontman of Queen, his music has inspired generations of fans and musicians alike. Approaching this historic milestone, I wanted to create an event where anyone who has ever loved the music of Queen could come together and celebrate the life and music of Freddie Mercury, and raise money for a worthy cause.
I joined forces with Brendon Small and Brendan McCreary to produce The Show Must Go On: A Tribute to Freddie Mercury, a one-night concert of the music of Queen, performed by some of the most talented and in-demand musicians in Los Angeles. All proceeds benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles, to help combat the deadly disease which took Freddie from this world.
I was honored this summer to take part in the 7th International Film Music Festival in Úbeda, Spain and to accept the Jerry Goldsmith Award for Best Television Score for my work on “Human Target.” The journey was an incredible experience for me, both as a film score composer and film score geek. An event like this presents a rare opportunity to escape the studio, see the world and get to know fellow soundtrack fans and fellow composers. I tried to capture the spirit of this adventure in my poorly-filmed travelogue, “A Bear in Spain.” Enjoy…
CHAPTER 1 – Málaga
My story begins not in Spain, but in the LAX airport at 6:00 am. I brought my scores with me, to study on the plane, but forgot colored pencils to mark them with. Minutes before boarding the plane, I managed to find a Spiderman activity book in the gift shop! Thanks to this stroke of luck, I had markers with me to prepare my scores during the long, 18 hour flight. Plus a sweet coloring book! 🙂
The 7th International Film Music Festival Ciudad de Úbeda has just announced my participation in their renowned festival, from July 18th to 24th, in Spain.
I was nominated for four of the festival’s Goldspirit Awards, including BEST COMPOSER and BEST SCORE. I am truly honored to be awarded BEST TELEVISION SCORE for my work on “Human Target.”
I will take part in the Úbeda festival in a number of exciting programs. On July 21st, I will conduct a chamber orchestra in an intimate recital setting. This up close and personal concert will feature world-premiere arrangements of music from “Caprica,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” ‘The Walking Dead” and “Battlestar Galactica.” (more…)
Hey all you lucky European BSG fans, you’re about to get an exclusive look at Battlestar Galactica Orchestra concert footage! Five songs are being released today as part of the Battlestar Galactica Season 4 BluRay release in Europe!
The BluRay bonus feature includes complete performances of “A Distant Sadness,” “Baltar’s Dream,” “Fight Night,” “Apocalypse,” “Wander My Friends” and “Prelude to War.” Here’s a sneak peek (click the images to play video):
“Wander My Friends”
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“Prelude to War”
This summer I will conduct the largest and most ambitious “Battlestar Galatica” concert yet. The “Battlestar Galactica Symphony” will premiere in Tenerife, Spain, headlining a concert in Fimucité: The Tenerife International Film Music Festival.
This hour-long work incorporates musical material from the entire series, performed by a full orchestra, choir, taiko ensemble and select members of my own Battlestar Galactica Orchestra.
This unique combination of the symphonic, ethnic, rock and percussive realms will make this concert the most complete and authentic performance of the “Battlestar Galactica” score ever, and it’s all taking place in the idyllic Canary Islands of Spain. (more…)
Brendan McCreary and Raya Yarbrough are performing in a unique double-bill concert at Room 5 in Los Angeles, on November 28th, 2009. I will be a guest musician, playing accordion.
I normally don’t blog about every single concert by members of my Battlestar (and/or literal) family, but this one is special. Rather than simply dividing their time into two sets, Brendan and Raya have integrated their songs into one seamless set list. And rather than missing their full bands, I’ve found that the intimate musical setting allows you to appreciate every note, every gorgeous harmony and catchy melody even more. We’ve been rehearsing in my living room all weekend, and it sounds frakkin’ incredible. Even though its an acoustic set, it’s going to truly be epic.
October is a busy month of concerts for me. In addition to the Stu Phillips tribute with the Golden State Pops, I’m returning to the stage with the Boingo boys for our fourth and final Johnny “Vatos” Tribute to Halloween and Oingo Boingo!
If you missed our shows in 2005, 2006 or 2007, then this is your last chance to see these songs performed live by this band. Anyone who caught one of our previous shows knows how completely bad-ass insane this show promises to be. We slammed through Boingo hits like “Dead Man’s Party,” “Only a Lad,” “Out of Control” and “On the Outside” for the casual fan, and played the rarer oddities such as “Forbidden Zone,” “I’m Afraid,” “Vultures,” “Take Your Medicine” and “Nature Zone” for the hardcore out there!
This year, we’re expanding the set list even more. “Just Another Day,” “No Spill Blood” and “Nothing to Fear” are just a few of the new songs I’m arranging for the band. And there are a few surprise additions as well. (And while I’m faithful to their original versions, many of these tunes go through some McCreary-ization for an extra kick in the pants.)
ONE NIGHT ONLY: On October 24th, the Golden State Pops Orchestra will perform a special tribute to composer Stu Phillips to commemorate his 80th birthday. He will conduct his scores from the original Battlestar Galactica, as well as several other projects. Richard Hatch and other new and original BSG alums will be there, and I will be there as a special guest, conducting my new arrangement of Stu’s classic theme!
My piece will be a combination of the various moments in my scores in which I quoted Stu’s timeless melody, drawing from “Colonial Anthem” from Season 2, “Husker in Combat” from Razor and, of course, “The Heart of the Sun” from the final episode. Some of my own, original BSG themes will weave in there as well.
If you missed the summer concerts in downtown Los Angeles, San Diego, or my ballet, Prelude to War, in Germany last spring, this is your last chance this year to hear my Galactica score performed live in concert. Since the concert program also includes Stu’s “Theme from Battlestar Galactica,” I want my “Colonial Anthem” to have all the unique qualities and sounds that set my score apart. So, the orchestra will be joined on stage by BSG Orchestra superstars Paul Cartwright on electric violin, Chris Bleth on duduk and M.B. Gordy on taikos and ethnic percussion. (UPDATE: The line-up has changed. See the bottom of this entry).
And even if you did see any of the previous shows, this one will be entirely different, since it involves a full orchestra! This concert will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the classic and re-imagined Galactica scores together on one program. There will also be a drawing to win CDs and other goodies signed by me and Stu.