Cinema history without music is unimaginable. Even during the silent era, movie theatres were hardly silent. The film score is a uniquely visceral tool of storytelling, able to engage emotion and enhance characters, themes, and narratives. How many memorable moments owe their lasting power to music? Who can imagine Gone with the Wind without Max Steiner or Lawrence of Arabia without Maurice Jarre? In this panel, some of today’s most admired composers explore the creative process—from inspiration to the final score.
Terence Blanchard, a five-time Grammy Award winner and one of the most influential jazz musicians and composers of his generation, has scored more than 50 films, including Eve’s Bayou, Inside Man, Barbershop, and the Golden Globe–nominated 25th Hour. Commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, his opera on boxing legend Emile Griffith premieres in June 2013.
Chris Douridas (moderator) hosted KCRW-FM’s daily music program “Morning Becomes Eclectic” and was music director at the station throughout most of the 1990s. He continued discovering and sharing new talent at Geffen, DreamWorks, AOL Music, and iTunes, where Steve Jobs hired him as a creative programming consultant. He has also worked as a music supervisor and consultant on movies and television, including Northern Exposure, the Austin Powers series, One Hour Photo, and American Beauty.
Mark Isham is a pioneer of electronic music and a world-renowned film composer whose work—Crash, A River Runs Through It, and Nell—has earned him Grammy, Emmy, Academy Award, and Golden Globe recognition in addition to ASCAP’s Henry Mancini Award for Career Achievement. Acclaimed for his solo recordings, he has also graced albums from Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, The Rolling Stones, and many others.
Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, who started composing for theatre after relocating to the U.S. from Poland, has written scores for more than 50 films, including Unfaithful, Total Eclipse, The Visitor, and Finding Neverland, for which he won an Academy Award. In his native country, he established the Transatlantyk Poznan International Film and Music Festival and the Instytut Rozbitek, which is aimed at developing new talent in the arts.