Orchestrating Sprite Sisters

 

"Vier zauberhafte Schwestern" - Pressetermin - FINAL

 

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.

The NAMM Show 2019

 

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.

New Year’s Concert 2018-2019 in Bogotá

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.

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7 Notes Experiment by Serj Tankian

 

As a child, I only listened to classical music, but when I was around 13 years old I discovered System of a Down and had a life changing moment. I realized I loved their music and was especially drawn to the voice of Serj Tankian, their lead singer. Since then I have followed the band and continue to be a fan.

In 2018 I found out that Serj Tankian was hosting a composition competition and I was eager to create a work to submit.The competition was called the 7 Notes Experiment and all entries were required to begin with the 7 notes chosen by Serj. I wanted to write a piece for an unconventional ensemble and the 7 notes “leitmotif” led me to write for 7 cellos and percussion. I titled the piece, “Sweet and Spicy”, combining the sensual and rich sounds of the cello with a rhythmic pattern typical of both Asian and Colombian styles.

The piece was selected as one of the top 100 entries out of more than 2,000 submissions.

Listen to it here…

SWEET AND SPICY

Working at the premier music preparation house in Hollywood

I’m working at JoAnn Kane Music Service! One of the dream jobs I’ve aspired to, I feel myself so fortunate, proud, and lucky to be a part of the JKMS team. Working at this company has introduced me to a variety of music preparation sources, and a lot of wonderful people. As part of this team, I’ve been fortunate enough to work for our biggest clients including John Williams and Alexander Desplat, and on projects such as The Simpsons (big fan!!) and Family Guy.

jkmsThe premier music preparation house in Hollywood, we at JoAnn Kane offer a wide range of music preparation services including orchestration, preparation of scores and parts, audio takedowns, MIDI transcriptions, and scanning of scores. A particular feature of JKMS is their private library of original film scores, including the Harry Potter series, The Omen, A Chorus Line, E.T, The King’s Speech, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, to name but a few.

Apart from working for the film and TV industry, we also work with clients in the live performance arena, for top-notch arrangers who work for Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban, Seth McFarlane, Diana Krall, and many more.

www.joannkanemusic.com

Halloween Fervor is Here!

Crimson-Peak-Tom-Hiddleston-poster

I had the good fortune to work for orchestrator Jeremy Levy on the score transcriptions of Crimson Peak as part of composer Tim Davies’ team. Crimson Peak is a fantasy-horror movie (released for Halloween 2015), directed by award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Alice in Wonderland), Jessica Chastain (Maya in Zero Dark Thirty), and Tom Hiddleston (best known as Loki in the Avengers series).

Tim wrote additional music for this movie based on the main themes composed by Fernando Velázquez. Working behind the scenes on MIDI cleanup, sketching, and proof reading offered me valuable insights into the workings of an orchestrator’s job. One of the best surprises I’ve had was when I went to watch the movie in the theater. After the movie ended, I stayed back to see the credits roll, and was so pleased to see my name appear!

scouts vs zombies poster

My second Halloween release, and first credit as orchestrator in Hollywood, appears in the movie Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, a recently-released horror-comedy film directed by Paranormal Activity-director Christopher B. Landon with Tye Sheridan (young Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse – to be released) and Logan Miller as the leads. The composer of the music for Scouts is Matthew Margeson, with the orchestration done by Tim Davies. As a member of Davies’ team, I orchestrated parts of the background score to this movie.

It has been an incredible feeling working as an orchestrator for Scouts! Being my first orchestrator credit, the many hours I put into this were eclipsed by the amount of on-the-job knowledge I gained.

Batman AK is out

BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT

batman AK

The video game Batman Arkham Knight was finally released worldwide on June 23 and I am very pleased to share with all of you my participation in the orchestration team led by Tim Davies.

This is a very special project for me, because it was the first project I participated in after moving to Los Angeles.

The music was composed by Nick Arundel and David Buckley. I joined the orchestration team in the last phase of the project. I did MIDI transcriptions, prepared sketches for Tim, and also did proofreading for some of the cues.  

A little more than a year after having worked on the project, it is finally available to all of you who have consoles, which makes me think I should get one to experience the game myself! 🙂  

It was a truly rewarding experience with a wonderful opportunity to apply my knowledge in orchestration and learn new things from Tim’s experienced orchestration team. 

CARTA A UNA SOMBRA (Letter to a Shadow) 

Documentary; winner of two awards at the 55th Cartagena Film Festival (aka FICCI); opened in Colombian theaters on June 26, 2015. 

Carta a una sombra

It was a pleasure to have worked as lead orchestrator on this Colombian production which was recognized with two awards at the oldest film festival in Latin America, the 55th Cartagena Film Festival. It was awarded the “Special Prize” by the Jury and the “Audience Award”.

The music was composed by Colombian composer Camilo Sanabria and it was recorded in Bogotá with members of the National Symphony of Colombia. The documentary was directed by Daniela Abad and Miguel Salazar.

Featured in International Media

After having worked for a year successfully in Hollywood, I was very fortunate to have my story covered by the most important media outlets for Latinos in the United States and my native Colombia. I was interviewed by EFE, the major multimedia news agency in Spanish and the world’s fourth largest wire service after the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse. The article was featured on Univision, Fox Latino News, Caracol Radio, La W Radio, Terra and Cable Noticias Colombia. I was also interviewed by El Latino San Diego. To read the articles (in Spanish), click on the logo of each news outlet. For non-Spanish speakers, I have included the text of the article in English below the links.

 

Caracol Logo      W Radio Logo   El Latino San Diego      Cable Noticias Logo

ANDRÉS MONTERO, THE COLOMBIAN PROMISING STAR OF FILM SCORING IN HOLLYWOOD

Miami (EE.UU) March 4 (EFE). According to the young Colombian musician Andrés Montero, “there are no limits” in writing music for films. Nor are there any in his musical career, which began in front of a piano when he was 7 years old and continues today in Hollywood, where he works with the acclaimed orchestrator and composer Tim Davies. The first achievement of this collaboration was the orchestration for the video game “Batman: Arkham Knight”, which will be released mid-2015, and it shows, as Montero explained in the interview with Efe, the “magnitude” of professional projects in the film industry mecca.

The 26-year-old orchestrator participated alongside Davies in Mexican director Jorge Gutiérrez’s film “The Book Of Life”, which was nominated for a Golden Globe this year, and Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”. Montero’s American dream began just three years ago, when he entered a film scoring program in Los Angeles, but his trajectory started long before –  playing piano at the Conservatory of the National University of Colombia. “Back in the day, the composition I was studying was (…) too intellectual, which I liked, but we had a film-scoring class and I realized that that was what I wanted to do in my career”, he reminisced. In his last year as student, Montero won a competition and performed one of his favorite pieces, “Rhapsody in Blue”, by the American George Gershwin, with the Symphonic Orchestra of the Conservatory. This concert launched his professional career. The director of the academic music education counts on him as a soloist for multiple shows that led to the establishment of what is today the Capital’s third professional symphonic orchestra, La Fundación Orquesta Sinfónica de Bogotá (FOSBO), of which he is a co-founder.

His professional debut as pianist was at the first New Year’s Concert celebrated at the Fine Arts Theater, a cultural institution where he worked as artistic coordinator for two years before his move to the United States in 2012. According to Montero, who also played for the beauty pageant Miss Colombia, the piano allows “experimentation” with an orchestra, because it offers a “general map of all ranges and sounds” that one can get away with. “Working with a symphonic orchestra has been a fundamental part in my work”, he said. “In fact, combining instruments to create different textures is what made me pursue a career in film scoring”, he revealed.

While studying in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), he was selected to be part of the Mentor Program by the Society of Composers and Lyricists, where he met renowned Hollywood musicians, the likes of Oscar nominee John Powell and Emmy winner for the music of The Simpsons, Alf Clausen. It was there that he met Tim Davies, who in March 2014, offered him a job that has been extended to this day and has resulted in many projects. “In films I can use any technique and style – there are no limits” Montero pointed out, who embraced the possibility of composing music for a variety of genres from horror to romance.

While his goal is to keep working as an orchestrator for Davies, Montero reaffirmed his desire of composition and being involved in projects where he can write original music. “I want to start to write music for short films. I have been working on some of them with many directors, but eventually, I want to write for feature films” he said. The Colombian youth, based in multicultural Los Angeles, assured that “Latinos have entered the film industry gradually” and he is very proud to see Mexican directors such as Guillermo Del Toro or Oscar winners Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro G. Iñarritu making waves in Hollywood and paving a way for others. EFE

Meeting John Powell at FOX

Oscar® nominee John Powell and Andrés Montero.
Oscar® nominee John Powell and Andrés Montero.

September 29, 2014 – Los Angeles, CA – My move from my native Colombia to LA was full of  new experiences. One of the first, exciting things that happened to me was the Mentor Program offered by the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL).

When I saw that the SCL was accepting interns for the Mentor Program (Fall 2013), I sent in my application and my best demo. A couple of weeks later, I received my acceptance! I was very excited for my first step as a composer out of school, starting to see the real world.

The first meeting took place at composer and SCL Board member Chris Farrell’s studio, who gave us interns an introduction of how the program would be. After that, we had the opportunity to talk to Emmy-nominated composer Miriam Cutler; Hollywood percussionist MB Gordy; lawyer, and writer of the book “Music Publishing – The Complete Guide”, Steve Winogradsky; three-time Emmy Award-winning composer and Director of audio/video for Blizzard Entertainment Russell Brower; President of the SCL Ashley Irwin; and recording and mixing engineer John Rodd.

The highlight of the program was attending the recording sessions. The first one I ever attended was of the world-renowned animated TV Series The Simpsons, at the historic Newman scoring stage in FOX Studios. It felt very special witnessing the music for one of my favorite TV shows being recordedThe best moment was hearing the main theme played by the orchestra for the closing credits (in a great arrangement for band). Afterwards, I had a short conversation with the man behind the music of the show, Alf Clausen. I have the utmost respect and admiration for him, for his amazing work through the years.

Family Guy scoring session at FOX.
Family Guy recording session at FOX.

I also attended the sessions of the show Family Guyscored by Ron Jones, and the movie Rio 2, with Oscar®-nominated composer John Powell. This last one was very special because sessions for TV are slightly different from sessions for features. The orchestra is bigger, and usually, the cues are longer. While we were in the stage for the first part of the session, we were invited by John Powell to sit in the booth (as he said, ‘The experience is totally different’). And yes, it was!

To sum up, the whole program was a very rewarding experience, affording me a glimpse into the inner workings of music-making in Hollywood. I thank the Society of Composers and Lyricists, and especially Board member Elizabeth Sellerswho was my main mentor.