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Behind the Score: The Art of the Film Composer

Moderated by talk show host Tavis Smiley

Gustavo Dudamel, Gustavo Santaolalla and John Williams – three of the biggest names in music today – joined the Academy for a special evening celebrating the art of the film score. The illustrious trio discussed significant musical moments in film that have inspired their work as they examine the art and process of creating a film score, as well as the director-composer collaboration.

Gustavo Dudamel

Gustavo Dudamel, now entering his sixth season as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, made his first foray into composing for motion pictures with the upcoming feature The Liberator (Libertador), a biopic about Simón Bolívar. The score for the film, as well as a CD on Deutsche Grammophon, was recorded with the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, of which Dudamel is music director.

Gustavo Santaolalla

Joining Dudamel on stage was singer, guitarist, music producer and composer Gustavo Santaolalla, winner of consecutive Oscars for Best Original Score (for Brokeback Mountain and Babel) and a 16-time Grammy Award winner. Santaolalla's other feature film credits include Amore Perros, 21 Grams, The Motorcycle Diaries, North Country, Biutiful and On the Road.

John Williams

Completing this extraordinary trio was legendary film composer John Williams, who has created scores for more than 100 movies, including Lincoln, Memoirs of a Geisha, the first three Harry Potter films, the Indiana Jones films and The Book Thief. He has won five Academy Awards, for Fiddler on the Roof, Jaws, Star Wars, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Schindler's List. Williams has the most Oscar nominations of any living person (49).

Tavis Smiley, who will moderate the discussion, is currently the host of the late-night TV talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS and the weekly radio broadcast “The Tavis Smiley Show” from Public Radio International. He has authored or co-authored 16 books, including his forthcoming Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year, to be published this September.

"Behind the Score" was supported by The New York Times, a founding supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, scheduled to open in 2017.


Event Information

Monday, July 21
Bing Theater
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles


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