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Ronald Sadoff

Associate Professor of Music and Music Education; Director/Founder of Screen Scoring

Music and Performing Arts Professions


RONALD SADOFF is the Founder and Director of the BM, MM, and PhD programs in Screen Scoring, having been the initial architect of its curriculum and core courses. Over two terms as Chair of the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions (2014-2019), Dr. Sadoff developed study abroad programs in NYU Paris and NYU Prague, including strategic partnerships with IRCAM and École Normale Cortot. His current initiatives include longstanding collaborations with NYU/TISCH’s Maurice Kanbar Film School and the Martin Scorsese Dept. of Cinema Studies. Dr. Sadoff is currently establishing a Screen Scoring presence in NYU/LA; ongoing work with Columbia University’s filmmakers; and an ‘online’ MM in Screen Scoring. Dr. Sadoff has served on the Steering Committee of the East Coast branch of the Society of Composers and Lyricists since 2009.  He is a voting member of the Advisory Board for the World Soundtrack Awards, as part of the annual Gent Film Festival. 

Sadoff composed the score for John Canemaker's Academy Award-winning film, The Moon and The Son: An Imagined Conversation, featuring John Turturro and Eli Wallach. The film held its premiere at The Museum of Modern Art. Other scores include those for works that revolve around pressing social issues, including the Emmy-nominated PBS Daughters of the Troubles, featuring­­­­­ Angelica Huston; the widely distributed 2013 short, Demand a Plan, an advertising campaign for gun control, worded by Julianne Moore; and the Oscar and Directors Guild awarded film Bleach, directed by CNN Senior Writer/Producer Bill Platt. In 2012, Sadoff produced the score for CNN's Obama Revealed, broadcast throughout the final months of the presidential campaign.

For Oscar-winning director Peggy Stern, Sadoff scored Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood, produced for Turner Classic Movies. Screened at The Telluride Film Festival of 2008/09 as part of a Warner Brothers retrospective of Produced for Turner Classic Movies, Chuck Jones premiered on TCM in 2009 in tandem with a group of rarely screened Looney Toons films. Dr. Sadoff has been featured on CNN, having composed scores for film, radio, and television. His theme and incidental music for Public Radio's What's On Your Mind? was heard throughout its twelve years of broadcast. His theme for Doctor Radio (2005-2019) in over forty hours of weekly programming on SiriusXM Radio, was co-composed with Ira Newborn.

In collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Dr. Sadoff and Tisch School of the Arts Director of Animation John Canemaker produced Toons, Tunes, and Trikfilms — a decade of performances of ‘silent films’ accompanied by live ensembles. As part of the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, Dr. Sadoff produced the 80-minute score for Rene Clair's 1928 silent masterpiece Les Deux Timides, composed by current Screen Scoring students. This featured performances by the NYU Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of renowned conductor/scholar Gillian B. Anderson, and narrated by Tribeca's Artistic Director and film historian, Peter Scarlet.

With "Disney Legend" Buddy Baker, Dr. Sadoff founded the NYU/ASCAP Foundation Film Scoring Workshop, a premier and intensive training ground, now entering its twenty-third consecutive season. The Buddy Baker Film Score Collection, resides as part of the Fales Special Collections in the NYU Bobst Library. The Leonard Rosenman Collection was inaugurated into the Fales collection in Spring 2009.

As a creative director and music supervisor, Dr. Sadoff has produced websites in opera and film music, as well as having produced the largest live webcast of its day, Michael Jackson and Friends, from Munich, Germany, in 1999. He served as the executive producer for the 2004 Koch International release of an all-Khachaturian CD featuring pianist Boris Berezovsky. Of Sadoff’s debut as a pianist, Edward Rothstein wrote in the New York Times, "Sadoff played with a sure understanding of the structural requirements of the music — an impressive, strong, and incisive performance." He has been featured on WQXR's Young Artist's Showcase and has performed throughout the United States and Europe. An avid proponent of 20th-century music, he premiered works by such composers as Kenneth Frazelle.

In 2007, Dr. Sadoff and Gillian B. Anderson co-founded the University of Illinois Press journal Music and the Moving Image. They have served for thirteen years as co-editors of the journal, now joined by renowned film and media music scholar Robynn Stilwell. Dr. Sadoff also serves as the Chair of the annual NYU conference by the same name — now in its thirteenth year. This serves as the field’s premiere international conference, offering over 150 papers that are presented each year by the world’s leading scholars.

With Miguel Mera and Ben Winters, Dr. Sadoff co-edited and authored chapters in the 2017 The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound.  His chapter, “Scoring for Film and Video Games: Technology and the Collaborative Modalities of Post-Production in the Digital Realm,” appears in The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media. His oft-cited 2006 article, "The role of the Music Editor and the Temp Track as Blueprint for the Score, Source, and Scource Music of Film" for Popular Music (Cambridge Univ Press) provides a rare window into the underlying aesthetic of post-production practices in the film industry. Dr. Sadoff has been a guest editor for special editions of Film International and a dedicated Music and Moving Image issue for the venerable journal American Music (UIP). A frequent panelist and lecturer, his discussion of composer Oliver Wallace is featured on Disney's 50th anniversary DVD edition of Lady and the Tramp. Dr. Sadoff frequently serves as a forensic musicologist for music copyright cases.


Screen Scoring

Learn to write music for today’s media industry through rigorous course work, collaborations with schools throughout NYU, and recording opportunities.

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Screen Music: History- Analysis- and Aesthetics

This research-based course explores the aesthetics and the history of music for the screen. In a modular approach, all students study core research foundations that relate to the field of music for the screen. After this, they select between a range of research topics that relate to the history and/or aesthetics of diverse types of music for the screen.
Course #
3 - 4
Music and Performing Arts Professions