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Film Conducting Workshop Helps BMI Composers Refine Skills

Posted in News on July 22, 2001

The BMI Film Conducting Workshop has commenced its fourth year, it was announced recently by Doreen Ringer Ross, Vice President, Film/Television Relations at the performing rights organization. "Conducting for the Film Composer" is a two-week course taught by conductor and composer Lucas Richman and held in Los Angeles at the Musicians Union.

The Workshop is designed for BMI composers who are looking to refine their conducting skills. The annual class is free but is limited to ten students who are BMI-affiliated professional film and television composers. This year's students are Eric Allaman (TV's Mike Hammer Private Eye and African Skies); Jeff Beal (TV's Family Law, and feature films Pollack and Passion of Amy Rand); Adam Berry (TV's South Park, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Disney's Hercules); Ed Choi (Down to You and Wide Awakening); Tom Hiel (TV's The Practice and feature film Swimming with Sharks); Tim Kelly (TV's Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain and Hysteria!);, Anthony Marinelli (Time Code, 15 Minutes, 2 Days in the Valley and Internal Affairs); Joey Newman (TV's Once and Again, co-composer); Ed Rogers (TV's Law & Order co-composer, Martial Law co-composer, NYPD Blue co-composer); and Nathan Wang (TV's China Beach, Eek the Cat, Rumble in the Bronx and Sabrina, the Animated Series).

The course will focus on developing conducting technique and participants will be working with live players ranging from piano duet to a full chamber orchestra. Curriculum will include conducting free form as well as to click track, both with and without picture. Each session will be videotaped and critiqued.

The brainchild of Ringer Ross and Richman, this is the program's fourth year. Past participants include composers Stewart Copeland, Danny Pelfrey, Bennett Salvay, Julie and Steve Bernstein, Dennis C. Brown, Richard Gibbs, Andrew Gross and Laura Karpman. "Lucas is the perfect person to teach this workshop because of his knowledge and stellar reputation in the field and his brilliance as a teacher," said Ringer Ross about the workshop. "BMI is proud to offer this opportunity to our composers to work with him as well as some of the top musicians in the world."

Richman has gained prominence as a conductor and composer of music ranging from classical concert music and opera to musical theatre and film. He is presently Assistant Conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and a cover conductor for the New York Philharmonic. Richman was also Principal Conductor for the Pasadena POPS Orchestra (1997-99) and the Disney Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra (1999). A graduate of BMI's Earle Hagen Film Scoring Workshop, he has worked with many film composers as their conductor on such films as the Academy Award-nominated As Good As It Gets, Face/Off, Seven, Breakdown, and Anastasia. Richman has appeared as guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Spokane Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, among others, and has served as the Pacific Symphony Orchestra's Assistant Conductor from 1988 to 1991. As a composer, he has developed an impressive and diverse catalog, which has been performed by over 60 orchestras across the United States, including the choral work "Wake Me A Song," the cantata entitled "The Seven Circles of Life" and his composition "Be A Conductor." A new CD, Day Is Done, features original and traditional lullabies composed and arranged by Richman as an aid for parents to introduce their children to the joys of music.

Richman adds, "This class is meant to help the composer establish the marriage between the creative and performance aspects of their work. Composers are increasingly being asked to conduct their works in public due to the international popularity of the Pops concert series. While this has helped expand the audience, at the same time we've realized that conducting has become a lost art form for many composers who are not used to conducting in front of an audience. The focus has been so heavily on creative and production skills that the refinement and training of performance skills has been overlooked. Through this course, I'm hoping to merge all three so these composers walk away with a more fully rounded repertoire of skills."

A limited amount of class auditors will be welcomed on an advanced approval basis. Requests for auditors should be sent to Ray Yee, BMI Director Film/TV Relations at ryee@bmi.com.