Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who took the business by storm a couple of years ago — earning an Emmy for Chernobyl and an Oscar for Joker — was back in town recently to discuss her music for Tar and Women Talking. It was a rare opportunity for me to write a cover story for Variety, and while she ultimately missed out on Oscar nominations for both scores, she remains a fascinating personality and a talented composer. Along with the profile, I wrote a sidebar on the role of conductor John Mauceri in helping Todd Field get the musical details right for his Tar screenplay.
The L.A. Times asked for a piece linking Wagner’s 19th-century leitmotifs with today’s film music, notably that of Williams (in the Star Wars films) and Howard Shore (in the Lord of the Rings trilogy). It was an offbeat assignment that put me in touch with scholars who shared interesting perspectives.
Here‘s a preview of an all-Disney-music concert that John Mauceri conducted at L.A.’s Disney Hall in 2009. This was a great opportunity to review some of the hits from the Disney canon as well as having the experts (Mauceri, Ross Care, Thomas Schumacher) chime in on the symphonic nature of many of the early Disney scores.
I was delighted to participate in a panel talking about the career of film-composing great Franz Waxman. Conductor John Mauceri hosted, with producer Robert Townson and the composer’s son John Waxman also joining us. Here’s Susan King’s preview of the event.
I’ve often written about composer Danny Elfman, and here is a career profile I penned in 2006 for one of Variety‘s “Billion Dollar Composer” issues. This story gave me a chance to interview not only Danny but also composers Gus Van Sant, Sam Raimi and Brett Ratner. The very next day I published a story about conductor John Mauceri leaving L.A., and it references Danny’s first major non-film work (and still one of his best), Serenada Schizophrana. And here is one I had completely forgotten about, a profile of Danny from June 2002 written for BMI. That one also quotes directors Tim Burton, Sam Raimi and Brett Ratner plus Simpsons creator Matt Groening.