miércoles, septiembre 29, 2010


David Newman was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Mississippi-born Martha Louise Montgomery and Hollywood Alfred Newman. He is the brother of the Hollywood composer Thomas Newman and a cousin of composer Randy Newman. An accomplished violinist, and successful concert conductor, Newman was educated at the University fo Southern California. 

Thomas Newman frequently collaborates with actor/director Danny DeVito, scoring "Throw Momma from the Train" (1987), "The War of the Roses" (1989), "Other People´s Money" (1991), Hoffa (1992), Matilda (1996) and "Death to Smoochy (2002). Newman has also scored the comedies "The Flintstones ", (1994) "The Mighty Ducks" (1992), "The Nutty Professor" (1996) y "Billy & Ted´s Excellent Adventure" (1989)
His other scores include "Critters", "The Phantom", "The Brave Little Toaster", "Anastasia", "Malone", "Ice Age", "Serenity" and "R.O.T.O.R.". He received an Academy Award  nomination for the score to the animated film "Anastasia", following his father, who scored the 1956 live-action version.

In 1997, David Newman began a four year stint as the music director for the Sundance Institute , and he has conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra on several occasions. 
That year, he also re-recorded the Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare, composed by his father Alfred Newman.
David Newman was elected president of The Film Music Society in February 2007. 

Along with your brother Thomas and cousin Randy, you follow the great legacy of Lionel and Alfred Newman. What are your feelings about their tremendous legacy in the history of american film music?

I think it’s a uniquely American Art Form. Of course its roots are in the Western European operatic tradition and now of course contemporary music, but it has a peculiar “functional” role of it’s own in the art form. 

Did you ever have the opportunity/temptation to collaborate with your brother Thomas in a film score?

Film scoring is really not a collaborative endeavor – so no. 

Your collaborations with Danny De Vito (Throw Momma from the Train, The War Of The Roses, Matilda) in comedy are remarkable. What´s your favorite work with him? The tango-like opening for “War of the Roses”, was it suggested by the director? Did you think about Herrmann for the Hitchcock’s pseudo-remake?

I think that Matilda was my favorite because I love the story so much and the music seemed to flow so naturally. The Tango for War of the Roses was actually my idea – It’s not all that original but it fit the story. In terms of THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN I did reference very much Hermann’s style. That movie was very early on for me and my first with Devito. There were a few bumps but very soon we got into a good rhythm.

I remember having to write the main title twice. It was a bit frightening to have to do an entire rewrite, as I had never had to do that before. But it was the best way it could have taken place as it seemed magical to the filmmakers that something could change so dramatically in such a short period of time. I think it helped to cement my relationship with Devito

How about “The Kindred” score? It’s a favorite of ours in a genre (horror) you aren’t usually associate with.

This was VERY early on in my career. I have done a few comedy horror movies but nothing like this. It’s a style I don’t really write in anymore but it was very well received at the time. I remember getting a really good review from Page Cook a writer for a Film Music publication that at the time was very prestigious. 

How was working with Don Bluth in “Anastasia”? We do love the nightmare scene scored with a waltz, reminding us Goldsmith’s “Legend”. Was that a particular influence? Did you have any participation on the songs?

It was FANTASTIC working with those guys. I had plenty of time to work on the score and record it. Yes, the Waltz is reminiscent of Legend which of course is reminiscent of “La Valse” by Ravel. This is the peculiar nature of film music. Most of the time something is referenced in one-way or another. 

Another favorite work of ours is “Paradise”, a very moving score and film. How was composing it?

I loved doing this film as well. Like Matilda, it just flowed. However this score was ravaged by critics, as was the movie, as being to soft and overblown. It was kind of painful for me as the music was so personal. I think it is a spectacular movie that just came out at the wrong time. I remember the oboe player at the session, Jon Clarke (who has sadly passed on)  played particularly beautifully.

We know Joss Whedon is a writer-director that usually composes main themes and songs for his TV series. How was your experience with “Serenity”?

The start of Serenity was very difficult. I think I had 15 versions of a Main Title before Joss approved the one that is in the movie. But he was 100% right about it. It was amazing working with such a talented filmmaker who is very good at dealing with the modern studio system. It was a highlight for me. 

Simon Wincer usually worked with late Basil Poledouris. Were you influenced by him in your big-action scores to “Operation Dumbo Drop” and “The Phantom”?

I was not really influenced by Basil per say but these are “genre” films and they need a certain quality of size and texture. Both those scores were done in London. The only 2 I have scored there.

“Galaxy Quest” was a Star Trek spoof. How was your approach to the score? Were you influenced by the trek scores of Goldsmith and Horner?

Again, not really sure. Yes to some extent but there is so much humor and tongue in cheek in the movie that wasn’t in the Star Trek series, at least not in this way. I think my experience with comedy really helped me. You know, Comedy is REALLY DIFFICULT. 

You worked with Steven Spielberg in “Amazing Stories” and then first-time director Tim Burton in “Frankenwinnie”, two film makers with a very personal musical world. How was the experience?

I didn’t really work with anyone in Amazing Stories. It was a running TV series and you were given the film and you wrote it and recorded it. Tim I did work with a bit, but it was a very short stint and I was collaborating with another composer at the time. It was really the first big orchestra score I had done. 

Many of your film scores remain still unreleased and we feel people are in demand of more David Newman scores. Do you have any plans on releasing them, maybe through INTRADA, VARESE CLUB or FSM limited editions?

I can’t get anything released myself. The labels you mentioned have been great about getting my stuff out there but I have no control over it at all. Again, much of my output is comedic or hybrid comedy/drama and they tend not to be released. 

What do you think about temp-tracks”?

They are a way of life. It’s not even worth thinking about these days, as you have to deal with it. It’s like saying I wish the sky were Green if you complain about Temp Tracks. 

Will you do any other re-recording/restoring of older Hollywood film scores?

I would love to. Please refer your readers to our Web site for the American Youth Symphony and you can see what kind of stuff we are doing.

What movie composers have influenced you the most?

Alfred Newman – Jerry Goldsmith – Alan Silvestri

Do you feel type-cast in comedy films? Is there any genre you’d like to do at this moment? Any director you’d like to work with now?

Yes to all of the above. Good Movies, Good Directors, Good People. That’s what I want to do….




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