News James Newton Howard played the piano

Published: July 01, 2017| 07:56 PM

James Newton Howard, the fresh holder of the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema, revealed something about the profession of a film composer. At his Karlovy Vary Master Class he recalled his cooperation with Barbara Streisand or M. Night Shyamalan, who taught him to write music before filming, only on the basis of dialogues with directors.

Howard gradually learned to listen more to directors and, as he says, while working on a film he does not fight against them, but talks with them. “When I was young I hated criticism from directors; I said to myself, what do they know about music anyway? But directors can tell you some things very important for your work. And it is good to know why they are shooting their film,” said the experienced author.

As a practical demonstration of his work he performed several versions of the first thirty seconds of music for Fantastic Animals and Where to Find Them, including the ones rejected by the director David Yates, because they were too funeral or circus-like. “It was only the thirtieth attempt when I found something that expressed David’s words about an invitation to a big adventure.” Said the composer who, after conducting the symphonic orchestra in Karlovy Vary on Friday showed how he plays the piano.

After the debate with critic Leonard Maltin and composer Jan P. Muchow, the audience had a chance to ask questions, too. One of them was how to become a film music composer. “Make friends with film students and be ready to work for them even for free,” was a piece of practical advice from Howard.

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