Our Friday@1 series presents conversations with some of the most renowned composers, songwriters, publishers, and industry executives in New York City and beyond. Our distinguished guests discuss their own creative processes, share their accomplishments and experiences, and thoughtfully critique our students’ work.
Mark Suozzo and Irwin Fisch
October 21, 2016
Program co-director and associate professor Mark Suozzo is an accomplished and versatile composer and arranger. He has performed as a guitarist, written for and produced pop, jazz, and R&B sessions, and orchestrated for theater and the concert hall. But the core of his work is as a composer for film and television.
Mr. Suozzo has been especially active in independent film, both features and documentaries. He scored Whit Stillman’s coming of age trilogy Metropolitan (Oscar nominee for screenplay), Barcelona, and The Last Days of Disco, Bob Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman’s American Splendor (Oscar nominee for screenplay), and The Nanny Diaries, as well as their documentaries Off the Menu, The Young and the Dead, Wanderlust, and Mary Harron’s The Notorious Bettie Page.
His TV documentary scores include the Oscar nominees Why Can’t We Be A Family Again, and Sound and Fury, both for PBS, and Unknown Soldier and I Have Tourettes, But Tourettes Doesn’t Have Me for HBO. He wrote additional music and orchestrations for the miniseries Aftershock and the Hallmark Musical Bye Bye Birdie, both for CBS. His music has been part of the Summer Olympics (1996) and the Goodwill Games (1998).
Mr. Suozzo arranged and conducted strings for Creed's Grammy-winning number one hit, "With Arms Wide Open," and has arranged for many performers including Aretha Franklin, Britney Spears, Reba McIntire, Liliias White, and Jaheim.
His orchestrations and arrangements for the New York Pops Orchestra, under the direction of Skitch Henderson, have been heard in numerous Carnegie Hall performances and recordings. His concert compositions include works for jazz orchestra and small bands, voice and piano, clarinet and piano, string trio and quartets, and chorus with orchestra.
He holds a B.A. from Columbia and an M.M. from Manhattan School of Music, and he participated in the Eastman School of Music’s Arrangers Holiday Program. He has studied with Jack Beeson, Ludmilla Ulehla, Rayburn Wright and Manny Albam.
Irwin Fisch is an Emmy-nominated arranger-composer-performer who creates music for television, film, theatre, and concerts. His arrangements have been heard by millions on the Kennedy Center Honors, the Tony Awards, and the Super Bowl, on stage behind Bette Midler, Beyoncé, and Barbra Streisand, on Grammy-nominated recordings, and in Tony-nominated Broadway musicals. As a composer, Irwin has scored numerous television miniseries and movies, and has created hundreds of scores and songs for advertising. As a keyboardist, he has played with countless artists including Peter Allen, Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Run-DMC, Shawn Colvin, Elmer Bernstein, and the Baltimore Symphony.
October 14, 2016
Leonard Bernstein described Paul Woodiel as "a first-class performer who combines spirituality with intellect." A busy New York-based purveyor of violin and fiddle music, his broad stylistic compass includes the dance fiddle traditions of America and the British Isles, ragtime, jazz, and the music of Charles Ives. Mr. Woodiel has presented recitals at the 92nd St. Y, Wesleyan University, Caramoor, Miller Theater, Yale University, and the New York Festival of Song at Carnegie Hall, and has appeared as soloist at festivals from Bard College to Moab, Utah.
A veteran of dozens of Broadway orchestras, Mr. Woodiel has completed a run as concertmaster of Oprah Winfrey's The Color Purple, and is looking forward to the revival of West Side Story. Previous shows include hits such as Ragtime, and the underappreciated masterwork Caroline, or Change.
A three-time New England Fiddle Contest champion in his hometown, Hartford, CT, he is a widely respected exponent of the fiddle traditions of New England. In this vein, he performs across the US and abroad with the Scottish dance band Local Hero.
Other engagements have included performances and recordings with Steve Reich, piano wizards Dick Hyman and Neely Bruce, Marin Alsop's Concordia, Vince Giordano's Nighthawks, American Composers Orchestra, and the Grammy Awards Orchestra.
October 7, 2016
MTV VMA nominated composer Tom Salta is one of the most versatile and prolific music artists/producers working in film, television, advertising, and video games. Renowned for crafting emotionally engaging soundtracks for multimedia, Salta has received widespread industry acclaim for his world-class produced scores featured in films and video games such as HALO: The Fall of Reach (The Animated Series), HALO: Spartan Strike, HALO 2 Anniversary, HALO: Spartan Assault (G.A.N.G. Best Original Soundtrack Award), HALO: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, From Dust, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Red Steel (IGN Award for Best Original Score), Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter and H.A.W.X series, and original songs and adaptations for the world’s #1 dance game series, Just Dance. In addition to these scoring assignments, Salta has created music for numerous national commercials and ad campaigns for companies like Coca-Cola and the U.S. Marines, as well as music for Hollywood film trailers.
September 30, 2015
In New York, he has performed with the American Symphony Orchestra, the New York City Ballet, many jingles and film soundtracks, on-camera mandolinist in the movie The Royal Tenenbaums, and was the principal guitarist in many Broadway shows. John is currently the guitarist for The Lion King.
Mr. Benthal toured internationally for 10 years with the cutting-edge New-music ensemble “Bang on a Can All-stars” as an alternate guitarist. He has played on soundtracks for several award-winning movies, including: Enchanted, Nanny Diaries, Doubt, Sin Nombre, and was recently featured in the documentary Listen to the World in an interview and demonstration of ethnic instruments.
September 19, 2016
Richard grew up in suburban Philadelphia. He started playing piano when he was 6 years old by playing along with pop and rock records in the basement. Shortly after, he began studying classical piano with various teachers in the Philadelphia area, including teachers at Jenkintown Music School and Settlement Music School, where he also studied theory and counterpoint with Donald Rappaport. After graduating from Springfield High School, he enrolled in the Jazz Studies program at Indiana University and studied jazz with the world-renowned jazz educator David Baker, and classical piano with Bronja Foster. Richard also studied composition, orchestration and electronic music performance while at IU.
Richard moved to Los Angeles in 1978 and married Susan Froehlich, a piano major he met while attending Indiana University. He toured for several years with various artists, performing on piano and synthesizers. His interest in electronic instruments led him to becoming in demand as a recording session musician, and he became one of the busiest “synthesists” in the 1980’s and early 1990’s in the Los Angeles recording studios. He worked with a variety of composers including David Newman, Maurice Jarre, Mike Post, Thomas Newman, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, John Debney, Basil Poledouris, Trevor Jones, and many others.
In 1990 Mike Post gave Richard his first opportunity to co-compose for the television shows Magnum P.I, Hard Castle and McCormick, and Wiseguy. He quickly began composing on his own for television and film in the mid 1990’s, and he has had a very busy career ever since. Some of his notable television shows include Grimm, Six Feet Under, Without a Trace, The OC, and In Treatment; extensive television movies, and films Surrogates, U-571, Breakdown, and the 3 Ninjas series.
Richard lives in Studio City, California with his wife, Susan. Their older son Michael graduated from University of Chicago with a degree in economics and will attend law school in September, and their younger son, Matthew, attends Pomona College, in Claremont, California.
September 16, 2016
David Weiss, a New York City based musician, specializes in performing on flutes and woodwinds from many different cultures, including American and Celtic flutes & whistles, panpipes, recorders, Asian and Middle Eastern woodwinds, unusual woodwinds (bass flute; great bass recorder; sopranino ocarina, microtonal woodwinds) as well as western flutes in a variety of styles (rock, jazz, classical).
Currently, Mr. Weiss performs with Disney's The Lion King for which he is a featured orchestral soloist, performing on thirteen different woodwinds. He co-composed much of the flute music for that production, which has received numerous awards, including a 1999 Grammy.
Dave is active in the recording industry, and is frequently requested to perform on television commercials, films, video games, documentaries, and CDs. He also serves as an advisor to composers, orchestrators, and fellow musicians on historical and ethnomusicological issues.
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