In an uplifting end to an incredibly challenging year, Netflix released the Dutch film The Claus Family. A magical Christmas film with score by the german composer Anne-Kathrin Dern.
This is the third film that I have orchestrated for Anne. It was recorded in Macedonia by the Fame’s Orchestral Music Recording, which did a fantastic job performing Anne’s music. You can watch a Behind the Music video here to get a glimpse of this whimsical score.
The film will be released on Netflix worldwide in the beginning of 2021.
FOSBO (Foundation Symphony Orchestra of Bogotá) is a musical organization of which I am a co-founder. We started the organization in 2008 under the leadership of maestro Zbigniew Zajac and since then, I’ve been arranging and composing music for a variety of ensembles and projects with FOSBO.
This year, on November 28th, 2020 FOSBO premiered a series of videos with four Colombian singers of different genres: Katie James (Traditional Colombian Music), Laura Kalop (Pop), Camilo Colmenares (Rock Pop) and Diana Avella (Hip Hop), performing their songs accompanied by a reduced orchestra and choir. The goal was to spread positivity to the country during the global health crisis impacting all of us, a message of hope that things will change for the better.
For this project, FOSBO also released a brand new song called Canto Para Que Cambie, written by Maria Adelaida Robledo, which I had the pleasure to arrange and orchestrate. Maria José Villamil conducted the FOSBO’s orchestra and choir. Watch the video of the song here:
Back in May of 2019, my friend, the talented composer Anne-Kathrin Dern, called me to join her team to work on the animated feature Fearless. She had the orchestra lined up in London to record the score at the legendary Abbey Road studio. The catch…the session was happening in less than 2 weeks, but of course I had to say yes! I came on board to work alongside Klaus Badelt’s long-time orchestrator Robert Elhai. It was a fast turn around, but we got all the music ready on time for the session in London.
The film came out on Netflix in August of 2020 and it’s now available to watch worldwide. Anne-Kathrin Dern wrote an epic adventure score that fits wonderfully with the film and we all felt very proud of the final result.
A few years ago I received an email from Pedro Hernández asking if I would consider scoring a film he had directed. He gave me a short introduction of himself and a quick summary of the movie, then he simply said “watch the film and if you like it call me back”. I watched a rough cut without any expectations and found myself fully engaging with the film. It was honest and unpretentious and I completely fell in love with the story. Shortly after, I called Pedro and agreed to score the film.
At the very beginning Pedro had envisioned only one scene at the end of the movie needing music, a total of about 4 minutes of original score. The film has a lot of source music which is why he didn’t anticipate that much underscore. However, after watching the movie, I knew there were several other scenes that could be enhanced by adding music. As a composer, for me music is the soul of a film and because this movie had made such an impact on me already, I knew that by adding music to more scenes it could have an even deeper impact on the audience.
RECORDING THE SCORE
We recorded at 4th Street Recording Studio in Santa Monica, CA with Sejo Navajas as recording engineer. Orlando Perez Rosso mixed the music for me at Loud Mono in Los Angeles. Here’s a shout out to the talented musicians who were part of the score!
Ian Charlie, Guitar Alyssa Katahara, Harp Edgar David López, Clarinet Cara Batema, Accordion Aya Kiyonaga, Violin Jennifer Fagre, Viola Bingxia Lu, Cello
Dalton Daniel, Music Prep Candy Emberley, Music Prep Jina Choi, Music Prep
Soundtrack album and video of behind the scenes making the score coming soon!
Here are a few tracks from the score
On the side of a lonely road in the Colombian desert, under a blazing sun, Alirio and Raúl work at a rustic car shop. This shop doubles as their home and they live there together with their dog named Capitán, and a stereo that never shuts up. Both arrived to this place escaping from their troubled pasts. One day, without warning, a young woman named Carmen arrives who will dramatically change the course of their lives.
The film was released in Colombia on July 25, 2019.
In 2010, Rio Seco won a grant from the FDC (Fondo para el Desarrollo Cinematográfico) for best script.
• Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara (FICG). Mexico.
• Festival Iberoamericano de Cine de Huelva. Spain.
• Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de La Habana. Cuba.
• Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias (FICCI). Colombia.
MAKING THE FILM
Watch this video with some of the best moments of the cast and crew during the making of Rio Seco!
Spitfire Audio, the sample library company, partnered with HBO and the creators of Westworld to organize a worldwide scoring competition. The prize was a hard drive with all their products, which has a value of more than $12,000 USD.
According to the organizers, more than 11,000 entries were submitted to the competition. Mine was one of those. Although I didn’t win, I had a blast writing for an exciting scene full of action with changes in mood and intensity. Here’s my submission:
Besides the competition, it was also a great opportunity for me to dive into the notation software by Steinberg, Dorico. I have been a Sibelius and Finale user for many years and I use them both on a daily basis, but I wanted to work with Dorico and discover its capabilities to score a film. I made a YouTube video explaining the main features that Dorico has to offer as well as some obstacles that I found while I was working on my submission. If you are interested in seeing Dorico in action, watch my video here:
Venena Bibas is a 25-minute film produced by Andrés Acosta and directed by Sergio Carreño. The story is centered on a seminarian who is discovered hanged in his bedroom. As the film develops, many secrets and mysteries are revealed.
I was fortunate enough to work as the composer on this project and I am very excited that the film is now available to rent or purchase through the streaming platform Boonet. (click here to watch the film).
Listen to the main theme I wrote for this film. Enjoy!
2019 began with an exciting new project, Sprite Sisters, a German feature film which I worked on as Lead Orchestrator. The recording sessions were held in Belgium with members of the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the composer, Anne-Kathrin Dern. The movie is scheduled to be released at the end of the year.
In the Fall of 2018, I was contacted by Anne about the project and was excited to join her in working on it. I’m looking forward to seeing the final product and working with Anne again on future films.
While working on Sprite Sisters, I was thrilled to be invited by AVID to give a presentation with Anne at The NAMM Show about the process of writing music for films. Our topic of conversation was to describe our collaboration between composer and orchestrator on a feature film. Anne spoke about her own creative process in developing the music and the way in which she delivers the music to me for orchestration. I then shared information about my work flow using Sibelius as my notation software to create the scores and offered my tips and tricks of the trade to the audience members. This was a wonderful experience and I have to thank Anne and AVID for allowing me to participate.
In 2008, I became a founding member of the Foundation Symphony Orchestra of Bogota (FOSBO). I worked both as a pianist in the orchestra and an administrator. The orchestra played seasonal concerts at the Fine Arts Theater in Bogota and established an annual New Year’s Concert tradition.
I was privileged to be a part of the orchestra and it’s successes over the years as it grew as an organization. Now that I am living in the United States, I remain closely connected to the orchestra and was excited to create an arrangement for the New Year’s Concert this year. The arrangement was a medley of popular works made famous by Colombian pop singer, Carlos Vives, and was the first time I was given the opportunity to write for such a large ensemble including choir (El Coro de La Opera de Colombia), orchestra (FOSBO), and a piano soloist (Eduardo Rojas). The concert was conducted by Maestro Felipe Aguirre and was the celebration for thousands of Colombians which rang in the start of 2019.