It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for since we were accepted into this program more than 2 years ago!  On Wednesday, August 1, we each got 40 minutes of recording time in Studio A at capitol records, with a 30-piece union first-call orchestra and veteran recording/mixing engineer Frank Wolf at the controls.  I made the most of it and learned a tremendous amount on what was one of the best days of my life…


Fighting For Hope

Fighting For Hope is my thesis and the main reason why we got such an awesome recording session.  The thesis project works in tandem with the undergraduate film department’s Practicum program.  I have had the luck to work with Jon Santiago, a director who really understands the importance and impact music can have on a film.  He also has given me much more artistic freedom than I had hoped for, and this has really allowed me to stretch my legs.  I wrote my thesis score with solo soprano in mind, and recorded Hollywood Master Chorale conductor and vocalist extraordinaire Lauren Buckely the week before the session:

Recording Lauren in my apartment

Lauren turned in a great performance, and it allowed me to conduct very expressively when it came time to record the orchestra:

Conducting "Fighting For Hope"

While the film itself had 4 distinct cues, I grouped them together on all the sheet music, and we recorded the whole thing in one pass.  This made the score seem more cohesive, and also saved us a lot of time during the recording session & mixing session.  The entire mix turned out fantastically, I really can’t wait to see it synched with the final cut of the film!  Here’s the final mix.

Peregrine Sonata

I wrote the music for Amanda Aikman’s play Peregrine Sonata, a project which I’ve referenced in a previous post.  The titular piece of music I wrote was supposed to evoke feelings of flying and grandeur.   I spent days making the mockup sound great.  Since I had already put the leg work in recording Lauren for Fighting For Hope, I knew it would only take 2 takes to get that score done.  So I wanted to make sure I had other music on the stand in order to take full advantage of my recording time.  So I cleaned up all the MIDI, and made parts for Peregrine Sonata.  Since it was originally intended only to be a mockup, it was very free sounding.  As a result, we ended up doing this one “on the stick” —  without a click track.  Here is the final mix.

Frank Wolf (engineer), Ilya Levinson (orchestrator), Gary Chang (prof)

If you listen to the mockup and the recording, there are pros and cons on both sides.  While the mockup is a little tighter and up tempo, it really has no soul.  The recording is a little looser and freer, as well as down tempo; but no one can argue it sounds worlds better than the mockup.

Sky Chase

I wrote Sky Chase right at the end of the last spring semester.  It truly reflects who I am as an artist.  We recorded it back in Chicago, and it turned out pretty well.  But I only had 10 minutes of studio time, and there were some errors in the bass that necessitated replacing it with samples.  Here is the recording.

Studio A

I decided to re-orchestrate, and try again.  I knew these guys would nail it, and they did.  I also knew it would be very easy and fun for me to conduct, as I had already done so in Chicago.  I had the honor of working with one of Hollywood’s premier concert masters, and he hit his solos out of the park.  Check it out!

This was an amazing experience, and has given me three monster tracks to put on my demo reel.  Thank you CCC!