Sundance Institute Announces Six Fellows for 2011 Feature Film Composers Lab

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Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute today announced the six composers selected to participate in the 2011 Feature Film Composers Lab, July 13-27 at the Sundance Resort in Sundance, Utah. These composers will join the four Fellows previously announced for the 2011 Composers + Documentary Lab (July 6-12). Both Labs are produced by the Sundance Institute Film Music Program, in conjunction with the Feature Film Program and Documentary Film Program, respectively.

During the Labs, Fellows participate in workshops and creative exercises under the guidance of leading film composers and film music professionals. Fellows also collaborate with filmmakers to explore the process of writing music for film and to create accompanying scores for scenes. The program aims to give the composers first-hand experience working on film music, as well as to give the directors insight into the process.

“Across many Sundance Institute programs, we work to identify emerging artists with a unique vision and to provide them with rare opportunities to explore and develop their voice in new ways,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. “Our Film Music Program, now in its 12th year, has deepened the range of artistic development services we provide and established itself as both a leader and resource for experimenting with music in film.”

“The Sundance Institute Film Music Program Composers Labs take a collaborative approach to film music composition, and the benefit of involving both directors and composers in the process is experienced through its overall impact on a scene or film’s atmosphere and tone,” said Peter Golub, Director of the Sundance Institute Film Music Program. “With guidance from established film composers in a retreat-like setting, these artists are allowed to achieve new heights in their work. We are enormously grateful to all who participate in the process.”

The composers selected for the 2011 Sundance Institute Feature Film Composers Lab are:

Fabian Almazan
Fabian was born in Havana, Cuba in 1984 and fled with his parents as a political exile in 1993. He studied piano with Conchita Betancourt and went on to join the exclusive Grammy Band High School Combo. He studied in New York with Kenny Barron and began composing chamber and orchestral pieces. His compositions have won him numerous prizes, including ASCAP and Cintas Foundation awards. He was one of five composers selected for the ASCAP/Columbia University Film Scoring Workshop. For the last four years he has been pianist for Terence Blanchard’s quintet and recorded and toured extensively throughout North and South America, Asia and Europe. He recorded his first CD as leader, Personalities, which is schedule to debut this summer.

Kristen Baum
Kristin is an LA-based film composer. Classically trained as a pianist with a master of music in theory and composition she has studied and worked closely with film composer Christopher Young. She wrote additional music for The Book of Eli and orchestrated for Priest and When in Rome. Her scores for independent films include:  Kicked Out, Echo, Never Again, The Things You Lose in the Ocean, and Porcelain.

Michael Cudahy
Michael was leader of the group Combustible Edison, whose music was featured as opening for Bryan Ferry’s tour, three CDs, and placement in Sex and the City and Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The band also composed and performed the original score for Quentin Tarantino’s Four Rooms. He is known for providing a distinct and idiosyncratic, retro-tinged sound that has a solid grounding in both traditional orchestral and modern technology. He also has the dubious distinction of having set the record for the largest amount of winnings ($52,440) ever racked up by a non-winner on Jeopardy.

Philip Klein
Philip Klein is a Los Angeles based composer, conductor and orchestrator working primarily in film, video games and television. Klein has scored several feature films as well as over 30 short films, including Hangar No. 5, which won the ATAS Foundation Emmy Award for Best Music Composition in 2009 and was nominated for Best Music in a Short Film at the Úbeda Film Music Festival, Spain. Recent orchestration credits include: The Tale of Despereaux, the Oscar-nominated score for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 9, videogames Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and Gears of War 3. Klein also actively works as a concert composer and conductor throughout the world.

Luke Rothschild
Luke received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he nurtured a multidisciplinary approach to integrating various sonic and sculptural mediums. He composes and performs with the group String Theory, which he co-founded in 2002; the group creates giant harp installations with sculptural resonators. His music was featured in Fly Away (directed by Janet Grillo), Dispatch (directed by Steven Sprung), Jean Michel Basquiat: Radiant Child (documentary by Tamara Davis), Cat Dancers (for HBO), and While Tom Waits (short film by Scott Matthews).

Jacob Shea
Jacob graduated from UCSB with a degree in Composition and has gone on to work at Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions. He assisted Elliot Goldenthal on Public Enemies and composed additional music for Transformers 3, Despicable Me, and the video games Prince of Persia and Gears of War 3. He composed music for student films MEI (Berlin Silver Bear) and Pitstop (Student Academy Award).

Creative Advisors for the Feature Film Composers Lab are: Composers Christopher Young, George S. Clinton, Harry Gregson-Williams, Edward Shearmur and Alan Silvestri; Other film music professionals  Robert Messinger (agent, First Artists Management), Tracy McKnight (Head of Music, Lionsgate), Adam Smalley (music editor) and Doreen Ringer Ross (VP for film and TV music at BMI).

As previously announced, the composers selected for the 2011 Sundance Institute Composers + Documentary Lab are:

Ben Goldberg
A composer and clarinetist, Ben studied with Steve Lacy and Joe Lovano. He’s performed with Scott Amendola, John Zorn, Myra Melford, Bill Frisell, Roswell Rudd, Wayne Horvits, Vijay Iyer and others; he is a member of the Tin Hat Trio and the New Klezmer Trio. His record label is BAG Production Records. Recent commissions include pieces for 2010 Chamber Music America New Jazz Work, the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and the French American Cultural Exchange. He has consistently placed among the top ten clarinetists in Downbeat magazine’s annual Critics’ Poll. 

Ronen Landa
A guitar and oud player, Ronen contributed orchestral music to the Discovery Channel/BBC original series Life, as well as to Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. The Pact, a short film featuring his music, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Feature films include: The Festival of Lights (upcoming international drama); The Dreams of Sparrows (Official Selection SXSW); City of Borders (winner of Teddy Audience Award, Berlin International Film Festival); Divergence (Method Fest); and Burning in the Sun (New York African Film Festival).  His debut album, Picturebooks, was released in 2009. 

Michael Roth
A composer, conductor, pianist, arranger and sound designer, Michael has composed music for chamber ensembles, film, dance and a numerous theatre productions. His chamber opera, Their Thought and Back Again, is available on CD. He has composed scores for over 250 theatre productions, including La Jolla Playhouse, where he was composer-in-residence, and South Coast Rep, where he has been a resident artist.  He collaborated with Randy Newman on several projects, including Faust and The Princess and the Frog. He has had a long association with Stratford Shakespeare Festival, most recently composing for The Tempest with Christopher Plummer as Prospero. His recent film, Jews and Baseball, with narration by Dustin Hoffman, was broadcast on PBS.

Heather Schmidt
A composer and pianist from Canada, Heather has composed for film, TV, trailers and video games. She began composing at age 5, attended the Juilliard School, and has won three consecutive BMI Awards and two SOCAN Awards. Her music has been performed worldwide in Canada, the US, Russia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, England, Mexico, Cyprus, and Brazil. Film/TV credits include: Archeology of a Woman, Hot Damned, Midnight Violin (Bravo), Wildfire, and The Uninvited Ghost.

Creative Advisors for the Composers + Documentary Lab are: Filmmakers Jon Else (Sing Faster), Vivien Hillgrove (In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee) and Cara Mertes; Composers Martin Bresnick and Peter Golub.

The Sundance Institute Film Music Program Composers Labs are made possible by The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and the Jerry & Terri Kohl Family Foundation.

Sundance Institute also gratefully acknowledges the generous assistance provided by the following organizations: Alesis Corporation, Apple Computer, Apple Software, Avid Technology, Inc., the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), G-Technology by Hitachi, HP, HP Marketing, JBL Professional, LaCie Limited, M-Audio, Mackie, Mark of the Unicorn, Native Instruments, Sony Business and Professional Products, Sony Media, Sony Pro Audio, Sony SXRD, and Soundcraft.

Sundance Institute Film Music Program

With the goal of nurturing the development of music in film, the Film Music Program connects composers and directors, giving them first-hand experience of the collaborative process. At the Sundance Film Festival, the program raises the profile of music in film through a series of concerts and panels. Year round, whether through international collaborations or through direct consultations with filmmakers, the Film Music program is committed to enhancing the role of music in film.

Sundance Institute

Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, I Am My Own Wife, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America.

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