Brian LaGuardia - Composer/Conductor/Arranger

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Children’s Halloween Concert

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These past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the future of children’s concerts: small amateur plays mixed in with musical demonstrations. The content is entirely created from scratch, and the music selections either pulled from existing library pieces or arranged. I volunteered to arrange a number of things, from modern pop music to film scores and everything in between. Since community orchestras oft have zero budget for new music, this was basically a donation. However, between the good it did my orchestration chops and the fact that I got to work with some of my favorite music, I was happy to oblige.

The play itself was a fun examination of what constitutes “stealing” in music, and how art builds on art. So naturally there was some John Williams in there, the man being front and center of “plagiarism” criticisms worldwide. We had undead Mozart and his sister, Mozart defending his own borrowing choices when he stole from her, the Patent Troll of Nottingham who wants to sue everyone in sight for all this stealing, Robin Hood Prince of Theft, who advocates against the Troll so that as many people as possible can share in this wondrous music, and myself…I played the Notorious Neckbeard, the Patent Troll’s assistant undercover for Robin Hood. All of this parallels impassioned arguments I’ve made over the years (and are detailed in this post), so how could I refuse to help?

The whole concert was incredibly fun, but the highlight of the evening was when I, as Cap’n Neckbeard, got to conduct the orchestra in my own arrangement of one of my favorite movie themes since childhood to accompany Robin Hood’s entrance: Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. It’s not often you get the chance to arrange and conduct something like that.

Huge thanks to the Boulder Symphony for giving me so much to do, and being so adventurous with their creative drive! This whole process has been so much fun that I think I’m going to do more arranging in the future. But for now, avast ye maggots and have yerselves a Happy Halloween!

My first nomination!

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I am very excited to announce that music I co-composed with the talented Lasse Elkjaer has been nominated for best music score at Dubwebfest 2016!

partitioned

A huge thanks goes out to the creators for allowing both of us to go nuts and do some fairly risky things. They were an absolute pleasure to work with, and the show itself is really something special. I feel privileged to be a part of it, and I can’t wait to start working on season 2!

This also gives me an excuse to package this score and publish a soundtrack. More details as they come!

The Trouble with Temp Music

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I stumbled upon a fantastic little video the other day, and my friends and I have been discussing it at length. Before we move forward, take a look:

Now, I basically agree with the narrator on all points except for one: there is one memorable Marvel theme. Alan Silvestri’s theme for Captain America:

This is a character theme at it’s best: memorable, triumphant, larger than life. It shows up frequently, even in some of the movies the video criticizes, such as The Avengers, when Captain America saves the Jew:

I particularly love the soulful violin that harkens to Schindler’s List. I’ve always argued that Silvestri does a great job at going for the emotion when he doesn’t have much room to work with (because of sound effects, pacing, whatever). What do you think? What is your favorite Marvel score?

The Partitioned

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Last summer, I had the opportunity to work on an incredibly ambitious, dramatic sci-fi webseries, The Partitioned. Set in a dystopian future, The Partitioned is more a character study than anything else, even though it has heaping helpings of action. As such, I jumped for joy. How often do you, as a composer, get to write character themes these days?

I wrote a few themes that served the story well, but easily my favorite is Eeli’s Theme. When I first saw the episode where she was introduced, she struck me as so out of place from the grungy, oppressive tone of the show. Sure, we notice almost right away that she knows how to defend herself, but there is an innocence and untouched beauty that one did not expect. It almost felt like a fantasy for a brief moment, rather than dark, gritty science fiction. As a result, I tried to get away from the shows typical musical identity of gritty marcato strings, found percussion and Omnisphere, and instead introduced her character and theme with a solo flute. It worked better than I hoped for and I fell for the melody so hard that I later developed it into a full theme, complete with a B section:

I can’t tell you how much fun it was to work on this amazing show. We all grew together as artists. I definitely learned a lot about what to do (and not to do!) in a way that Film Scoring school, useful as it was, couldn’t prepare me for. It also helped me to find ways of being creative on a tight deadline, especially when a large body of music was needed. I am looking forward to working on season 2, because it is only getting better and better.

In the meantime, feel free to check out the show. It’s entirely free to watch on youtube!