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“Liberty & Slavery”

So, here’s a pretty basic question about America’s founding fathers. How could these men, who believed that “all men are created equal”, own slaves?

“Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers” is a new PBS documentary that examines this amazing paradox. The film travels back in time to better understand the men responsible for America’s greatest victories—
and most heinous sins.

It was a joy – and a struggle – to compose the score for this film, trying to capture the conflicting ideas that attempted to coexist. To hear a […]

“The Sultan and the Saint”

So, here’s a little-known story I’d never heard – that changed the course of history. Almost 800 years ago, St. Francis of Assisi walked into the enemy camp and started a friendship with the Islamic sultan Al-Kamil – a friendship that helped bring an end to the Crusades.

“The Sultan and the Saint” is a new film that tells this unbelievable – and true – story. In a time when religious wars were normal, two men of different faiths defied the expectations of their time, and changed the course of history.
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By |February 15th, 2017|Commentary|0 Comments|

Original Music for Snooping?

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Original music for snooping? Ok, not “snooping” exactly, but “investigating”. 😉

You may know the name Michelle Malkin – she’s a controversial investigative reporter that is hosting a brand new tv series – “Michelle Malkin Investigates”. I was asked to compose all of the music for this show, which premieres on CRTV. It was a lot of fun to do, and gave me an opportunity to create music that’s a bit difrerent from the orchestral scores I’ve been composing lately (which I also love!).

If you have about 20 seconds, […]

By |December 15th, 2016|Commentary|0 Comments|

The hardest music I’ve ever had to write…

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Ok, I admit it – I love my job as a music composer. Over the years, I’ve been privileged to write music for hundreds of enjoyable projects, films, tv shows, records, etc. But recently, I was asked to compose the score for a film for the Holocaust Museum in Aushwitz, Poland – a museum honoring the more than one million people who were exterminated at this death camp in World War II.

Watching this horrific footage hour after hour, day after day as I tried to compose the […]

Brilliant Musicians

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One of the things I love about my job as a composer is the chance to work with lots of different musicians. Over the years, I’ve worked with everyone from the London Symphony to indie bands, and everything in-between.

But for a recent film score (“Iran In The Bible”), I had the chance to hire and work with brilliant Iranian musicians, using a half-dozen instruments I’d never used before in a score. These musicians were incredibly gracious, and willing to work at getting the sound I wanted without being able […]

A Deep Passion for – what?

Adam Smith Title
If you’re like me, you have a deep passion for economics and economic theory. 😉 Just kidding – I don’t have a clue about any of this stuff, or how it affects me. And yet almost two hundred years ago, an economist named Adam Smith devised economic theories that describe the cost of almost everything we buy and sell today.

This month, PBS is premiering the two-hour special “Morality and Markets – The Real Adam Smith” (check your local PBS station for air times). It’s a pretty fascinating […]

Music for Ballerinas, and the Black Panther Party…

Best of Indies Screen Shot
I recently had the chance to compose a series of music pieces for the new PBS series “The Best of Indies”, premiering in 2016. As if often the case with PBS, this project gave me the chance to create music in a number of different styles. Gotta’ love PBS!

Watch the opening segment HERE.

By |November 23rd, 2015|Commentary|0 Comments|

New PBS Series This Fall

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One of the things that I love in my job as music composer is the chance I get to write in lots of different styles. As you’d guess, each project I work on usually focuses on one particular kind of music.

But “Chaplains” – the new 2-hour PBS series that I just scored – gave me the chance to create music in a lot of different genres. Because chaplains themselves are involved in so many different arenas (prisons, hospitals, government, military, businesses, etc.), I had the chance to compose in […]

By |September 14th, 2015|Commentary|0 Comments|

Arranging and Producing for Blues legend Keb’ Mo’

I recently had the honor of arranging/producing a song for blues legend Keb’ Mo’, for a new exhibit that will be opening at the Grammy Museum this fall.

Keb’ Mo’ wrote a simple 12-bar blues song, called “Wrote You A Letter”. I then took his vocal track, and added three live drum tracks, several electric and acoustic bass parts, electric pianos, acoustic pianos, organs, tons of guitar tracks, and even harmonicas.

Why so many parts? Glad you asked! 😉 The idea here is that visitors to the museum will be able to go into a booth where they can create their […]

Inside the mind of a befuddled composer…

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Recently, one of my clients asked me to score his new 90-minute PBS documentary about the recent uprisings in Egypt. We decided that musically it would be best to use real Egyptian musicians and musical styles. A great idea. Just one small problem – I’d never worked with Egyptian music or musicians before. Ever. Didn’t even know for sure what Egyptian instruments were. I was – befuddled.

Fast forward a few weeks – I’m in a recording studio with five incredible (and patient) Egyptian musicians – the Egyptian band “Saltanah”. For […]

Sitars or Guitars?

India Awakes
Just finished composing music for a PBS film called “India Awakes”, which focuses on some pretty amazing changes in that country as the caste system finally starts to disappear.

Creating the music gave me a chance to play with lots of ethnic instruments, combine “traditional” Indian sounds with more current Asian music, and come up with my own ideas – all in all, a lot of fun! You can hear a short montage from the music score and several music cues by clicking

Article in “Style” Magazine

Style Article Photo BETTER 12:14

There was a nice article in “Style” Magazine recently about my work. Thought it was worthy of a post… 😉 Click below to read the full article.

Aural Fixation | Music | Style Weekly

By |January 12th, 2015|Commentary|0 Comments|

Composing Original Music Not for Ken Burns

Underwater Bloom pic
So in my last post (below), I had a link to the music I composed for the Ken Burns PBS “Roosevelt” series trailers. I really enjoy doing that kind of music, but this time, I thought I’d provide a link to something completely different. I just finished creating music and sound effects for a tv spot created by European group “Protect Our Heritage”. The spot does an amazing job of describing the […]

Composing Original Music for Ken Burns

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Ken Burns is probably the best known documentary filmmaker in existence. His films, including “The Civil War”, “Baseball”, “Lewis and Clark”, have forever changed the way documentaries are made. Although Burns usually uses historical music in his films, I was honored to be asked to create original music for the trailer for his upcoming series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” a 14-hour film that debuted Sept. 14 on PBS.

It was a bit tricky composing music […]

New Music Composed for OmniMusic in New York

OmniMusic Logo
In continuing my relationship with OmniMusic Library in New York, I’ve created nine new music cues for their new CD. Entitled “Wide Angle” the CD features panoramic, sweeping, majestic orchestral scores.

You can hear samples from the new CD HERE.

Enjoy!

Suffer No Fools

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If you’ve heard of Walter Williams, you know that he’s without a doubt is one of America’s most provocative thinkers. He is black, but opposes affirmative action. He believes that the Civil Rights Act was a major error, and that the minimum wage actually creates unemployment. Love him or hate him – he’s pretty hard to ignore.
PBS is premiering a new film about Walter Williams, called “Suffer No Fools” (check your local listings for air times). I was pleased to compose the music score for […]

By |May 10th, 2014|News|0 Comments|

This weekend…

Richmond Symphony practicing WINGS
Richmond Symphony practicing “Our Wings Have Caught The Wind”

If you happen to be in Richmond, VA this Sunday (May 11), head down to Pocohantas State Park. The Richmond Symphony is performing a free concert there Sunday evening, and will be playing one of my works (“Our Wings Have Caught The Wind”). You can listen to the piece here. Enjoy!

Wait 10 Seconds…

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One of the things that I love about my job as a music composer is the chance I have to get involved in so many different musical styles. Seems like each project I get involved in is an opportunity try a new musical feel.

But a film that I just finished scoring, “Water Blues, Green Solutions” (for PBS) was a bit different. Instead of just one musical “feel” for this score, I needed to create a ton of different musical styles for the same film […]

By |November 20th, 2013|Commentary|0 Comments|

Sax on a plane


If you’re like me, every time you travel on a plane, you get the urge to take out the ol’ saxaphone and play… 😉 At least that’s the tongue-in-cheek idea behind a new TV spot for Emirates Airlines.

Recently, I was asked to compose music for a few Emirates tv commercials, including one featuring a sax player traveling on the airline. The clever spot tempts the viewer with the luxuries of first-class travel on Emirates, where (I assume) the flight attendant allows you to play whatever musical instrument you just happen to have brought along. The commercial was […]

By |September 3rd, 2013|News|0 Comments|

NBC – Their Finest Hour” – Olympic Broadcast

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As a part of NBC’s Olympic broadcast, Tom Brokaw produced and hosted a special one-hour documentary called “Their Finest Hour”. Brokaw revealed the incredibly compelling story of Britain’s struggle in the early days of World War II as they displayed the Olympic spirit that’s still alive in that nation today.

I was honored to compose and conduct the music for this program. NBC wanted a traditional historic/heroic World War II score for the program – You can hear samples from this score by going HERE.

By |December 12th, 2012|News|0 Comments|

A 425 Year-Old Birth…

Birth of a Colony

I wasn’t planning on posting again so soon, but I thought you might like to know that “Birth of A Colony” is premiering this coming Monday on PBS at 9 pm (check your local listings). The 90-minute film takes an amazingly frank look at the interaction between the European colonists and the Native Americans in North Carolina during the earliest days of colonization.

I have to say – this was an incredibly fun film to compose the music for, because (among other things) it gave me a chance […]

By |October 29th, 2012|News|0 Comments|

“Eruption of Life”

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I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t thought about the Mt. St. Helens eruption in years. Huge explosion decades ago, lots of wildlife and land destroyed. Bad news. End of story.

Turns out, that wasn’t the end at all. A new film, “Eruption of Life”, shows the amazing resurgence in plant and animal life in the area – a pretty phenomenal story.

I was pleased to be able to compose and produce the music score for this fascinating film. You can hear a few samples from […]

By |October 4th, 2011|News|0 Comments|