To be a film composer, one must know how filmmaking works. That definitely happened on the project Philharmonic, when I acted as the Music Composer, 2nd Assistant Director, AND Orchestral consultant. Directed by the talented Jay Swuen, I had the great opportunity of being involved in the process from early on in the idea stage. I remember Jay and I standing atop of a Topanga Canyon overlook at midnight, with the backdrop of the city lights of Los Angeles, discussing the life of conductor Leonard Bernstein, the inspiration for the film.

Little did we know, months later, we would be at a concert hall in Long Beach, CA, filming Philharmonic (as seen on the very first image of this post). With a tight deadline, I wrote the score by incorporating the lead actor’s humming at the end of the film and making it part of the main motif/theme. This was my first collaboration with Jay, and it was quite the interesting experience working with someone so knowledgeable of their craft but also quite sensitive to the smallest details and nuances of each scene! Till this day, I remember Jay’s words: “I want the music in this scene to be like air, highlighting the lightness of the situation”. Following that instruction, I used a lot of pizzicato plucking on the strings and wind instruments to highlight the air and to keep it light-hearted.

Luckily, we ended up being selected as a finalist at the Los Angeles Shorts International Film Festival! I am truly grateful to work with the entire cast and crew for this one, and I hope to work on similar projects with Jay in the future!

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