2020 started like any other year, with continuing to work on Empire with composer Fil Eisler – its sixth (and final) season! However, as happened to everyone, that work was interrupted when the pandemic hit. As local stages and studios suspended operations, Fil and the producers of the show made the commitment to support the musicians who had been playing on the show for all these years by arranging to have everyone record remotely. There are some unique orchestration concerns when you can’t have a conductor and every musician is playing alone! It took some work to make it happen (I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a group chat with an entire recording ensemble before), but we did it. I had to relax my no phone in the studio rule!
Shortly after Empire wrapped, Fil also began composing for a new show called Council of Dads. Based on the book of the same name, this one sadly proved short lived, but we continued to use the “record at home” techniques we developed while finishing Empire.
Fortunately, after a while stages began to cautiously resume operations and we were able to work with actual ensembles again. Later in the year I again orchestrated for a new Fil Eisler and Alexis Grapsis project called Big Shot.
One of the highlights of the television work last year was getting to work with Christophe Beck once more to orchestrate his score to WandaVision, one of the most popular Marvel shows to date. It’s always a treat when projects you’ve worked on generate so much buzz, and Chris’s music did an excellent job setting up the unfolding story of the show. We start work on Hawkeye for Marvel next!
There was one last TV project in 2020, and it was zany to the max! That’s right, I orchestrated songs for several episodes of the new Animaniacs show, working with a couple different songwriting teams; Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly, and also Jordan Cohen and Clyde Lawrence. Each song was unique (and funny!) and so it required a thoughtful approach to the backing arrangements.
The soundtrack with these songs just came out in August, so check it out!