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Film Scoring

2013 News Highlights

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December 26, 2013 - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Stewart Copeland recently completed another score and I was again his music copyist. It's a percussion concerto that will be premiered by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in the UK, and today we sent the finished manuscripts to them. The concert will be May 23, 2014 at a show titled Bringing Down The House

December 5, 2013 - Miracle Concert
Thank you Canada! David Foster, the legendary producer and composer, held a benefit titled Miracle Concert tonight in which he raised $4.2 Million for the David Foster Foundation, which supports families of children who are in need of life-saving organ transplants. I'm very proud to have helped Brian Benison with music preparation for the show.

Nov 20, 2013 - The Need For Speed
Today we began recording sessions at the Sony Scoring stage for the Dreamworks film The Need For Speed. The fantastic film score is by composer Nathan Furst, and I am helping to orchestrate the score under lead orchestrator Penka Kouneva. The film is essentially a nostalgic american action film, and the film score sounds amazing. More photos are available on my Facebook page.

Our extremely large string section on the Sony scoring stage

The music team in the control room of the Sony scoring stage Day 1, half of our massive string section Day 3, half of our massive brass section Day 4, our enormous french horn section

November 15 & 16, 2013 - Teaching at Citrus College
This weekend I was again teaching an immersive set of seminars on film scoring at Citrus College to a group of Japanese composers and producers. Over two days I took them on a tour of The Bridge Recording where we visited with film composer Mark Isham, taught them some fundamentals of composing for film, and guided them through scoring a scene of their own on a short deadline. The students were exchange students from a music production and engineering program in Japan.
Myself and Citrus College technology manger Rob Tyck
Inside the live room at The Bridge Recording Film composer Mark Isham mid-take and very focused Our composing lab at Citrus College Myself and translator-musician Taka (Tsuyoshi Takayanagi)

Mary J Blige's album `A Mary Christmas' Oct 31, 2013 - A Mary Christmas
Mary J Blige released her Christmas album `A Mary Christmas' on Oct 15th. The legendary David Foster produced the album and will be producing the live shows as well. Brian Benison and I created new sheet music for the live shows so that they will sound exactly like the album. Watch their calendars for dates, because it will be phenominal!

Oct 14, 2013 - Colbun School Of Music
Composer and USC professor Chris Roze has written a new piece for the Colburn School's Faculty Showcase Concert. I did the score preparation for Chris. The concert will be November 22 in Zipper Hall, it's FREE, and it will feature some of the best musicians on the planet. Don't miss it!

Roy Ayers Oct 6, 2013 - Roy Ayers recording sessions
Ric Wilson is a music legend and one of the driving forces behind Mandrill, the Grammy-winning and frequently sampled world-funk band. Singer and vibraphonist Roy Ayers is a part of their upcoming project, and I did transcriptions and score preparation for Roy and for the sessions that begin this week.

Sept 26 - Jane Badler album sessions
Jane Badler, the well known actress and singer, is recording a new album of her unique pop styling. Brian Benison and I were the music copyists for her recording sessions.

Kyle Bielfield on Delos Records September 24, 2013 - Kyle Bielfield's "Stopping By"
Kyle Bielfield is a classical tenor, and today he released an album titled "Stopping By" of American poets and composers, both past and living. The album was released by Delos, my second album with the label. I was the music copyist and score editor for his recording sessions.

Sept 13 - Fiesta Latina at the White House
Brian Benison and I just finished preparing the sheet music for a concert sponsored by the Obamas, the latest of the Performance at the White House series. Titled "Fiesta Latina", it features many of the best latin artists alive today. I prepared the sheet music for Ricky Martin and Romeo Santos. The show will also include Marc Anthony, Jimmy Smits, Pete Escovedo, Gloria Estefan, José Feliciano, George Lopez, Thalía, Tito "El Bambino", the Bachata music group Aventura, and the Chicano rock band Los Lobos, with Sheila E. leading the house band.
Fiesta Latina at the White House
Fiesta Latina at the White House Fiesta Latina at the White House Fiesta Latina at the White House

Aug 25, 2013 - ZMX signs with BMG
At ZMX Music we have just signed a blanket license with BMG, so we anticipate a great partnership and an expanded roster of artists in the near future! As of today we are now working with the bands Beach House, Metric, Anarbor, and Mustard Plug, and I expect there will be many more fantastic bands coming soon.

Aug 15, 2013 - Boulder Symphony
The Boulder Symphony will soon be playing a piece by Loretta Notareschi, a professor of music at Regis University and The Walden School. I prepared publication-ready scores for Loretta, and the symphony will perform the piece on Sept 21.

Sony's `Smurfs 2' comes out August 2 July 11, 2013 - Smurfs 2
In a few weeks Sony will be releasing the film Smurfs 2, and I composed the score for a Smurfs 2 video game that will be released simultaneously. It is a collaboration between Sony and iStoryTime. The video game music was a large full orchestra score, and the app will be released August 2 with the film.

June 26, 2013 - Time Machine
The Time Machine is a new rock opera written by Los Angeles based composer Steve Altman, and I am the music copyist and keyboard player. We have been playing throughout June at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and our closing night was standing room only, sold out to 120% of capacity. It was a great run and I look forward to orchestrating the music when the show takes a bigger stage.

New York Life June 20, 2013 - New York Life creates virtual world
New York Life Insurance Company has a huge amount of educational material, and they are creating a game-like virtual world in which you can explore a town and learn about financial and retirement planning. I was the video game composer for their virtual main street platform, which will be used internally to educate their clients and employees.

June 15, 2013 - Esther Valentine big band
Singer/songwriter Esther Valentine has a big band album called "Go Where The Love Is". We just completed revisions to her scores and parts so that she can tour the album live, and for a whole album of big band music that's more paper than one person can carry comfortably alone!

Don'ts For Dancers, a live music and dance theatrical show that takes a satirical look at the conventions of social dancing. June 10, 2013 - Dont's For Dancers
Don't For Dancers is an Australian theatre and dance show headed by Nicole Canham that takes a satirical look at the conventions of social dancing. For their first tour last year I arranged and produced some of their music. The show is starting this year's tour July 3 beginning with Canberra, Cairns, and Brisbane.

City And Colour's `The Hurry And The Harm June 1 - ZMX signs City and Colour
ZMX just released the catalogue of our newest artist City And Colour. They are led by Dallas Green, formerly a member of Alexixonfire, and we're happy to announce the new City And Colour sheet music.

May 13, 2013 - Tell Tale Heart a success
We got another good review from the LA Times! Stewart Copeland's newest opera "Tell-Tale Heart" is doing very well at the Long Beach Opera. It's one of my recent score preparation projects. From the LA Times review:
"The production turns Copeland's literal retelling of the short story into a flashy, grisly, sexy saga of a serial-killing Poe in a wheelchair."
Buy tickets at The show runs until May 19.

Hilary Hahn signed the scores I made for her May 8, 2013 - Hilary Hahn at Disney Hall
After her show at Disney Hall yesterday violin virtuoso Hilary Hahn autographed some scores I made for her of a piece she commissioned from Rani Sharone. Congratulations Rani! I'm happy for you. From the LA Times review:

"A very nice touch was Hahn's actual encore. It was the world premiere of one of the competition's runners-up, Rani Sharone's "Tick." Tick it did, imaginatively.

The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Fernandez is now available on DVD. April 30, 2013 - Vicente Fernandez on DVD
"The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Fernandez", a film I orchestrated last year, is now available on BluRay and DVD. It stars the legendary Ernest Borgnine in his last of hundreds of roles. It's a very cute family comedy film, and you can find it on Amazon, Netflix, etc.

John Bobek's new album Out Of Place April 30, 2013 - John Bobek album released
John Bobek is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter with a great voice and equally great guitar chops. Today his album "Out Of Place" was released, a project produced by Jake Schaefer. I did string orchestrations and music copyist work for the guys, both for the album and for their live shows.

April 22, 2013 - Recording Vanessa Jourdan
I have had the pleasure of recording and producing Vanessa Jourdan over the last month or so, and today we finished all of the guitar and vocal tracks for her new album. She KILLED it today in my studio. I really love her voice and it is a pleasure to produce such a fantastic talent. This girl can SING! We caught the final vocal takes for two songs on video today, a sneak preview of her upcoming album.

(available in HD and 3D!)
Vanessa Jordan in my recording studio

Vanessa Jordan in my recording studio

Vanessa Jordan in my recording studio

Nashville based singer songwriter Shantell Ogden in my recording studio April 15, 2013 - Recording Shantell Ogden
Shantell Ogden, a singer/songwriter based in Nashville, came out to LA in part to record some tracks with me at my studio. We are laying the foundation for a new album project, so keep an eye on her. She's a great song writer and it was a pleasure to record, produce, and play for her.

April 13, 2013 - Don Lardie book of transcriptions
Don Lardie was a blind composer and piano teacher who died several years ago. He recorded his compositions with a cheap old cassette player, and because of his blindness they were never written down. I had the honor of helping to preserve his legacy and recently completed transcribing his entire catalogue, a little more than 200 pages of solo piano music.

Christafari is the first Christian reggae band in history to grab the #1 spot on the Billboard reggae charts. April 11, 2013 - Christafari makes Billboard history
Christafari has made Billboard history this week! After many years my final tour with them was the first tour as this album launched, and we made it up to #3 on the Billboard reggae chart. Eight months later it made it up to #1!! Christafari is the first Christian reggae band in history to grab the #1 spot. Congratulations guys! I'm glad to have been a part of it.

March 23, 2013 - Music engravings for book
Brother John-Bede Pauley is a professor of music theory and voice at Saint John's University in Minnesota. He recently completed a book and I prepared the music engravings of his musical excerpts. It is an ambitious project with quite a lot of notation throughout, and the end result looks fantastic.

March 1 & 2, 2013 - Teaching at Citrus College
I had the unique opportunity to teach an immersive set of seminars on film scoring at Citrus College to a group of Japanese composers and producers. Over two days I took them on a tour of the Warner Brothers sound stage, taught them some fundamentals of composing for film, and guided them through scoring a scene of their own on a short deadline. The students were exchange students from a music production and engineering program in Japan.
Warner Brothers Studios Eastwood film scoring stage
Control room inside Warner Brothers Studios Eastwood film scoring stage All my students inside the live orchestral room Students working on their film cue My classroom at Citrus College

February 14, 2013 - Andrea Bocelli: Love In Portofino
Andrea Bocelli makes his cinema debut today with a Valentine's Day release of a live concert in Portofino, Italy. I helped with the sheet music preparation for some live performances he did in conjunction with the release, including one song in which he performs a duet with the legendary Edith Piaf on film.

February 10, 2013 - Winifred Phillips book
Today I delivered music engravings for a new book by composer Winifred Phillips. The engravings were excerpts of music to be interspersed in the text of her book, which I believe will be published soon.

Forever The Sickest Kids February 4, 2012 - ZMX Signs Forever The Sickest Kids
Today we signed the pop punk band Forever The Sickest Kids to my sheet music publishing company ZMX Music. They're on a KROQ compilation right now, they're touring heavily, and you can catch them on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. We will begin creating sheet music for their songs this coming week, so keep an eye on their website.

Tegan and Sara's Heartthrob was released Jan 29 January 29, 2013 - Tegan and Sara album release
Today Tegan and Sara released their newest and much awaited album Heartthrob through Warner Brothers. ZMX simultaneously published sheet music to go along with it, so if you're a fan of Tegan and Sara check out their sheet music store.

January 15, 2013 - Wurlitzer 112 restoration complete
A good friend of mine gave me a 1955 Wurlitzer 112. '55 was the first year Wurlitzer was making electric pianos, so it's a super cool relic in rare near-mint cosmetic condition. However, it was severely neglected. I got what I paid for - 75lbs of unusable instrument so old nobody knows how to fix it or find parts. It was an unplayable disaster that only amplified the sound of the power in the walls. And so began my restoration journey...

As of today it's FINISHED and back to mint condition! To hear it in action check out this YouTube video. Check each photo for more details about the process.

This photo is where I started.  Actually, I started like this minus about 15 reeds.  These reeds were only made for a very short while and nobody is re-manufacturing them, so it took a WHILE to find them.  Step 1 was to find the reeds, because without them the rest doesn't matter.  Only after I found the reeds did I begin the restoration.  (It took about a year, but I wasn't trying very hard.)
Step 2 was to get the amp schematic.
My expertise is mechanical, not electrical, so I started by studying the schematic and labeling the components so I was completely clear what was what.
My amp was only amplifying the sound of the power in the walls, so I replaced the tubes and the power supply caps.  This is my butler Mr. Winston delivering my first new components.  These replace the big can cap that's not pictured and the big orange one you see in the photo.  They made it so the amp was functional again, although it was still very buzzy.
Tuning a Wurlitzer is a real hassle.  I put it off for as long as I could, but eventually I had to grit my teeth and do it.  These are tools required, and on this model it's impossible to tune with the reed bar installed in the piano.
Some of the keys were sluggish so I pulled them all to ease them, straighten and pivot the pins where necessary, vaccuum, etc.
Since the amp was halfway working I couldn't resist and put it mostly back together just to hear what it sounded like.  This was the first time I heard it play.  It was somewhat usable at this point, but the action was in serious need of regulation, the strike points were abysmal, and the amp was humming like crazy.  Still, it was a cool experiment and worth doing for sure.
My Wurli's birthday!
Keys leveled...
The Wurli came with the pedal, but it was cracked and broken and not working.  This is the very last step of the pedal repair after gluing and painting the enclosure back to it's original state.  The cable was pretty scratchy too, so I lubed the hell out of it.
My old damper felts were falling apart and were as soft as cotton balls, so I sliced them all off with a razor blade.
My new damper felts installed and glowing white.
You know it's a major overhaul when you can't tell the difference between an instrument and a student desk!  I was lubing the action so I also took the opportunity to lube the key pins and vacuum everything out one more time.  Even the most beloved of instruments only look like this about twice a century.
My action and reed bar are now re-installed, as is the new speaker.  The dampers need to come off for final the tuning, letoff adjustment, and strike point adjustment.  On this model it's a hassle because each damper comes off with it's own individual screw, and once they're off it's still a hassle to get the hammer out to adjust the strike point.  Accessibility and maintenance were not design considerations.  It's tuned and regulated already, so the only mechanical work remaining is the strike points.  It's almost a playable and fully restored Wurli, except for the damn noisy amp!
It's Halloween candy for techies!  These are the new caps for my amp.
The power supply and the amp section both have all new caps now.  The old electrolytics were shot so I replaced them first.  The old ceramics were working but the capacitance was universally a little bit under spec.  With the new caps the amp is a bit louder, which is nice, but IT STILL HUMS!!!  Damn it...
There is a happy ending to this story!  Here is my 1955 Wurli 112 fully restored.  The action feels as good or better than it did when it was new, it's tuned and voiced, the exterior cabinet is still in great condition, and I have spare reeds on hand.  It's done!  This little guy is 58 years old and will make it well past 100 for sure.

State Radio in concert Jan 3, 2013 - ZMX Signs State Radio
ZMX Music has just signed State Radio as our newest artist. Led by Chad Stokes of Dispatch, the rock band has an active non-profit that focuses on service oriented projects all over the world. They are on tour in Europe at the moment and we will publish their first batch of sheet music shortly after their return.

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