Articles

Making Mexican Music for Pixar’s “Coco”

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 at 8:50 am

This piece, the lead Artisans story in this week’s Variety, was both complicated and a joy to write. Disney/Pixar always goes to great lengths to find the right score (and often songs) for each of its films, but on Coco they went to extremes. Coco, which opens next week, is set during Mexico’s “Day of… Read More

Film Music in Concert: More Popular than Ever

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Movie music in the concert hall seems to be, as they say, “trending” — it’s more popular than ever, and in many different forms. For the lead story in this week’s Variety “Music for Screens” section, I interviewed three composers (David Newman, who recently conducted the New York Philharmonic in sold-out Star Wars shows ;… Read More

Awards season begins; early score contenders

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at 7:47 am

For Variety‘s first Contenders issue of the year, I profiled four early scores that could be vying for “original score” honors as the 2017 awards season gets underway: Dario Marianelli’s music for Darkest Hour; Thomas Newman’s music for Victoria & Abdul; Carter Burwell’s music for Wonderstruck; and Rupert Gregson-Williams’ music for Wonder Woman. This is… Read More

Lalo Schifrin 85th Birthday Concert

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 at 6:54 am

Renowned film and TV composer Lalo Schifrin turned 85 this year, and the occasion was commemorated Saturday night with a concert featuring many of his memorable themes — everything from Mission: Impossible and Mannix to Bullitt and Dirty Harry. It was a co-production of Musicians at Play Foundation and Varese Live, with proceeds benefiting the… Read More

Wallfisch on the music of “Blade Runner,” “It”

Saturday, October 7th, 2017 at 11:02 am

With Blade Runner 2049 opening this weekend, and the colossal box-office success of It, I thought it was the perfect moment to talk at length with composer Benjamin Wallfisch about both scores — which, incidentally, couldn’t be farther apart in terms of style and execution. Wallfisch collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the all-electronic score for… Read More

Pasek & Paul’s new songs for Hugh Jackman & Co.

Thursday, September 28th, 2017 at 7:03 am

It was a genuine thrill to be the first journalist allowed to hear the songs that Oscar- and Tony-winning tunesmiths Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have penned for the upcoming Hugh Jackman film The Greatest Showman (debuting at Christmas), a musical biopic of the legendary P.T. Barnum. It’s the lead music story in this week’s… Read More

Jeff Russo talks about “Star Trek: Discovery”

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at 3:43 pm

In his first interview about scoring the new Star Trek: Discovery series, composer Jeff Russo talks about how he came up with the theme, the use of full orchestras (now a rarity in weekly TV scoring), and about the idea of a more nuanced approach to scoring the Klingon Empire. Variety published this today, just… Read More

Big orchestras for “The Orville”

Thursday, September 7th, 2017 at 6:24 am

Writer-director-actor-singer Seth MacFarlane loves the orchestra — not just as backing for his albums and live musical appearances, but for his movies and TV shows too. He is a fan of classic movie scores and understands the value of real musicians helping to support the emotional needs of both drama and comedy. So for his… Read More

John Williams, Kobe Bryant at the Bowl

Thursday, September 7th, 2017 at 6:17 am

The annual John Williams concerts at the Hollywood Bowl are always cause for celebration, and they remain as popular as ever, generally selling out three consecutive nights on a late-summer weekend. But this year offered a surprise: Williams conducted, live-to-picture, his score for the animated short Dear Basketball, based on Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe… Read More

Alf Clausen Fired from “The Simpsons”

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Strange as it may sound, this story may have had the widest global repercussions of any story I’ve ever written for Variety. I learned that composer Alf Clausen, after scoring more than 550 episodes and winning two Emmys for his music, had been fired from The Simpsons after 27 years on the job. It was… Read More