Congratulations - Six NYU Composers at SUNDANCE 2011

NYU Steinhardt News

Congratulations - Six NYU Composers at SUNDANCE 2011

ASCAP's Composer Spotlight features six NYU Steinhardt Film Scoring alums who composed scores for this year's films. They are in good company with Ennio Morricone, Philip Glass, and others..
Lydia Ainsworth is a film composer/Bulgarian vocalist wannabe/meshuggeneh. An accomplished singer, pianist, and cellist she was named an Emerging Artist by the Canada Council for the Arts, who awarded her a full professional artist grant in 2008. Beyond the realm of film, Lydia has written music for the concert hall, art installations, contemporary dance performances, pieces for live electronics, as well as jingles (recently for Nikon and Centrum). She earned her Masters degree in composition at New York University's film scoring program, and her Bachelors degree in composition from McGill University. Lydia is based in NYC and Toronto. Her score for Dir. Matthew Lessner's feature The Woods will premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Jeff Grace (NYU/ASCAP Workshop) is a composer who has scored films with appearances at Toronto, Venice, New York, Rotterdam, South by Southwest, Los Angeles, TriBeCa and Sundance film festivals. Jeff’s recent projects include Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff, Jim Mickle’s Stake Land (winner of the People’s Choice Award in the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival’s 2010 Midnight Madness section), and Ti West’s acclaimed The House of the Devil.

Active as a composer for concert and stage, Jeff was selected for American Opera Projects’ Composers and the Voice Series where he was awarded the Tobias Picker Chair, entailing a mentorship with the celebrated composer. Jeff is also active as an orchestrator and arranger with credits including Lucia Micarelli (HBO’s Treme), Lady Gaga, Fredrick Doci, and numerous films.

From 2001-2004 Jeff worked as an assistant to Academy Award® winning composer Howard Shore on such projects as Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Martin Scorsese’s The Gangs of New York. In the years prior, Jeff worked as an assistant to legendary jazz composer/producer/arranger Gil Goldstein working on projects for artists such as Pat Metheny and Roy Hargrove. 1998 marked the beginning of Jeff’s film and music career working as a composer and producer at the New York music house Ruggieri Music where he also worked with composer Robert Ruggieri on his scores for A Hymn For Alvin Ailey (ballet and film) and Double Exposure (ballet) for The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

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John Jennings Boyd represents the vanguard of a new generation of composers equally adept at scoring for live orchestra, producing ambient soundscapes and writing and creating pop/commerical tracks across all forms of modern media. His music can be heard in a variety of feature films including Four Christmases (Vince Vaughn), $5 a Day (Christopher Walken) and What Doesn't Kill You (MarkRuffalo). Television highlights include HBO's How to Make It In America,Discovery's Life, CBS' 48 Hoursand dozens of shows across most of the majorcable networks (TLC, A&E, THC, etc).

In addition to scoring film and TV, John also has written music and produced tracks for dozens of ad campaigns for products and institutions as varied as Lexus, Verizon, Microsoft, Clinique and HSBC. John has scored two films in this year's Sundance Film Festival, Kinyarwanda (dir. Alrick Brown) and Crazy Beats Strong Every Time (dir. Moon Molson).

Patrick Kirst’s passion for music and other media started early on when he was writing incidental music for theater plays in his native Germany. After extensive studies, Kirst moved to the States in 2000. Collaborations with aspiring directors soon led to many diverse projects from narrative shorts to independent features and documentaries. He recently finished his powerful lyrical score for Der Grosse Kater (The Day of the Cat), starring acclaimed actor Bruno Ganz (Downfall, The Reader) along with an all-star German cast. 

In 2008, Patrick collaborated with Disneynature on their first nature documentary Earth, based on BBC's highly successful Planet Earth TV series. In 2007 Patrick started his working relationship with critically acclaimed composer Aaron Zigman. Credits include top-grossing romantic comedy The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, The Ugly Truth, starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler, Sex and the City: The Movie, and Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman.

Kirst's recent documentary credits include The Golden Stool, released on Time Warner's Africa Channel (2008), At the End of Slavery, produced by the International Justice Mission, narrated by Danny Glover (2009), and the 2011 Sundance entry An African Election, about the 2008 presidential elections in Ghana, West Africa.

A great supporter of independent filmmaking, Patrick scored the short film Kavi, which was nominated for Best Live Action Short at the 2010 Academy Awards.

In 2007 Patrick joined the faculty at University of Southern California, where he is teaching film music composition to aspiring film composers. He enjoys sharing his experience as an artist in today's highly competitive film music market.

Ronen Landa's original music has been hailed in the press as “an astounding auditory journey… an intricate and delightful aural treat.” His work has been heard in film screenings around the globe, on television, and in concert halls. He particularly enjoys collaborating with filmmakers; the moving image presents an opportunity to create music that is inventive and daring, and, above all, music that communicates.

Recently, Landa contributed orchestral music to the Discovery Channel/BBC original series Life as well as to Comedy Central's Colbert Report. Feature films he has scored include the upcoming international drama The Festival of Lights, the landmark Iraqi-made documentary The Dreams of Sparrows (Official Selection: SXSW), City of Borders (Winner of the Teddy Audience Award, Berlin International Film Festival), the romantic drama Divergence (Official Selection: Method Fest), and the uplifting environmental documentary Burning in the Sun (Official Selection: New York African Film Festival).

Landa released his debut compilation album, Picturebooks, in 2009. Among his many talented collaborators on Picturebooks are Anna Bulbrook of The Airborne Toxic Event, Emily and Julia Bruskin of the Claremont Trio, Lev Zhurbin of Ljova and the Kontraband, and Malian kora virtuoso Yacouba Sissoko. The album features Landa's own performances on guitar, mandolin, and oud (Arabic lute).
Stefan Swanson is an award-winning composer for film and concert. He has composed over 50 works for the concert hall and 25 scores for films spanning all genres.

Swanson's scores for Premature and Cuts (both directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green), are currently broadcasting on both HBO and Cinemax. He recently finished the score for Green's feature film Gun Hill Road starring Judy Reyes (Scrubs, Hawthorne) and Esai Morales (NYPD Blue, La Bamba), which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

His concert music has been performed all around the country including Lincoln Center and Aspen, CO. His recent works Precipice and The Avenged, co-composed with acclaimed violinist Jane Hunt, were premiered at the U.S. Tennis Open in Flushing, NY.

Stefan earned his Masters degree in composition at New York University's film scoring program, where he studied composition with Ira Newborn (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Naked Gun), and his Bachelors degree from Rowan University in Music Composition, studying with Dr. Harold Oliver. He has also studied with George Tsontakis at the Aspen Music Festival.

He is a recipient of the Scholarship from the Film Music Museum in Los Angeles, the Susan and Ford Schumann Scholarship, as well as a winner of the Harmonium Choral Society's Composition Contest and the Singing City Composer'sPrize.

For information regarding Film Scoring Studies at NYU Steinhardt please contact:
Dr. Ronald Sadoff, Director of Film Scoring Studies in Music Composition, 212-998-5779

For information regarding Graduate Studies in Music Composition at NYU Steinhardt please contact:
Dr. Tae Hong Park, Director, Music Composition
For Undergraduate Studies, please contact Dr. Youngmi Ha,