Heading for Hollywood

14 Jul 2008 16:20:00.000


Aspiring composer Luke Richards is nearer to his dream of breaking into Hollywood - learning from award-winning film directors and composers during a month in Los Angeles.

Luke, a 20-year-old music student at The University of Nottingham, was picked from hundreds of applicants worldwide to take part in the annual Television and Film Scoring Workshop run by Emmy award-winning composer Richard Bellis.

Luke is among 12 aspiring composers selected to participate in the 20th annual workshop run by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and seen as a top learning experience for the next generation of big-screen musical stars. The month-long programme gives participants a hands-on opportunity to work and learn in a professional composer's environment.

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Guest speakers include Doug Frank, president of music at Warner Bros Pictures; Tom Shadyac, director and producer of films including Bruce Almighty, Patch Adams and Liar Liar; and John Debney, Oscar-nominated composer of the score for The Passion of the Christ and many others.


The most exciting moment for participants comes when they take the podium to record their original compositions on the historic Alfred Newman Scoring Stage at Twentieth Century Fox. Each aspiring composer will conduct a 60-piece LA studio orchestra comprised of world-class musicians, many of whom performed the original scores for recent blockbusters.


Luke, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, said: “Being able to live and work in Los Angeles for four weeks in such close proximity to so many great composers and filmmakers is a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


“Not only will I be able to learn from some of the best in the business but I will be able to make invaluable contacts that may help me in my career in the future. Hopefully this workshop will go some way towards getting my foot in the door of this very competitive industry.”


He has just completed his second year at The University of Nottingham’s Department of Music, which is one of the highest-ranked in the country. It is ranked in the top three in The Times 2009 Good University Guide and was awarded the top 5* rating for the quality of its research in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise.


Luke’s interest in music started around the age of seven, when he first started taking formal piano lessons. In 2001 he won a scholarship to Tonbridge School where he studied music, and while still at school he worked on location as assistant recording technician with the Tonbridge Philharmonic Orchestra. He first developed an interest in writing film music during his A-Levels, and since then he has tried to combine the latest musical technology and tools available with his classical training to produce a diverse range of musical styles.


In 2007 Luke won the Sibelius National Young Film Composer Competition; since then he has written music for a number of music production libraries as well as student films.


He was selected from hundreds of applicants worldwide to be one of the ASCAP workshop's 12 participants. This talented group — from Austria, Germany, the USA, Canada, South Korea, the UK and Ireland — take part in a series of seminars and training sessions provided by a cadre of industry professionals, agents, music attorneys and veteran music composers during July. As part of the annual Workshop, ASCAP selects scenes from contemporary films and challenges the participants to create an original musical score to dramatically enhance the scene.


Richard Bellis, who has been composing film and TV music for more than 30 years, said: “This is a one-of-a-kind workshop which provides aspiring television and film composers a chance to hone their crafts with the help of top industry professionals and state-of-the-art resources. There is not another program quite like it — it is the gold standard for those who aspire to join the ranks of television and film composing."


First held in 1988, the intensive month-long programme has gained international recognition, and is widely regarded as a major educational and networking opportunity for aspiring composers.


In previous years the workshop has featured industry professionals as speakers including: Hans Zimmer, composer of music for Pirates of the Caribbean and Gladiator; Michael Giacchino, composer of Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and Lost, James Newton Howard, composer of Michael Clayton, Blood Diamond, The Sixth Sense, and Randy Newman, composer of Toy Story and A Bug's Life.


Established in 1914, ASCAP is a leading US Performing Rights Organization representing the world's largest repertory, totalling more than 8.5 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 330,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members.


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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.


It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation – School of Pharmacy).


Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.


Story credits

More information is available from Luke Richards, luke.richards@yahoo.co.u

Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: tim.utton@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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