Film and TV Scoring Mini-Course Held

Thursday, Mar 21, 2019
Juilliard Journal
Alumni Story
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Nicholas Britell teaching

Composer and Alum Nicholas Britell Leads an Introduction to Music for Film and Television Course

As part of his ongoing creative enterprise and entrepreneurship initiatives, President Damian Woetzel has been trying to create opportunities for students that lay the foundation for innovative and multifaceted careers in the arts. Toward that end, he recently announced what he hopes will be the first of many mini-courses. During spring break, about three dozen students from all three Juilliard disciplines plus a few recent alumni took part in a three-day intensive called Introduction to Music for Film and Television, which was led by composer Nicholas Britell (Pre-College ’99).

Nicholas Britell teaching

Highlights included demonstrations of ways to alter the feeling of a scene with different kinds of music, finding out how to negotiate dramatic vision and musical expression, and learning about the scoring industry and the variety of jobs available within it. Britell, who got his bachelor’s degree at Harvard after studying piano in Pre-College, is the award-winning composer of scores for, among other films, Vice, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Big Short, and Moonlight, as well as the TV show Succession. He’s also a producer and continues to perform.

“I’ve walked away from these three days feeling as though the film industry was massively demystified,” alumna Victoria Pollack (Group 46) said after completing the course. “I loved how Nick likened certain scoring processes to playing jazz with the film editor, allowing the editor to take these mammoth libraries of footage, put cuts together and work in conversation with his musical offerings. I also appreciated how he encouraged us to work with our friends and continue to say yes to opportunities as we’re starting out. He shared some incredible anecdotes about how a humble introduction between him and some other then-twentysomethings led to some extraordinary collaborations (including Whiplash). You never know where things will go!”

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