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Composer Quest Olympics: The Results


50 composers participated in the Composer Quest Olympic Games, a series of six Olympics-themed composing challenges: National Anthems, Table Tennis, Weightlifting, Hurdles, Relay Race, and Composer's Choice. If you're in Minnesota, join us at the American Composers Forum on Monday to find out who won the gold, silver, and bronze medals, and stick around to hang out with some of the composers who participated.

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Composer Quest Olympics

Composer Quest Olympics

Since I'll be on my Composer Quest World Tour this fall, I decided we had to do something worldly and big for the final composing quest. In the spirit of the 2016 Rio Olympics, I'll be hosting the official Composer Quest Olympic Games!

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Episode 150: UBK on Music Production and Arranging

Composer Quest Episode 150

For this special 150th episode of Composer Quest, I got to talk with Gregory Scott, co-host of my favorite music production podcast, the UBK Happy Funtime Hour. Gregory answers my tough music production questions like: "what effect would you use if you could only choose ONE?" He also shares his process in creating the upcoming Sneaky Little Devil record with his wife Sarah.

Also in this episode, you'll get to hear the results of our MIDI Remix Quest, where composers swapped MIDI data and blindly added their own sounds.

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Composer on Fire Podcaster Garrett Hope

Garrett Hope Composer on Fire - Composer Quest

Garrett Hope has drawn composing inspiration from spider mating calls, Joan of Arc's trial transcript, oil spills, and rape survivor stories. In this episode of Composer Quest, I ask Garrett about these composing projects, and I ask what he's learned from his podcast Composer on Fire. He shares some words of wisdom from his interviewees, and things he's learned through his own composing journey.

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Guild Wars 2 Composer Lena Chappelle on Melody Writing

Lena Chappelle Composer Quest

Video game composer Lena Chappelle worked her way into the game business by starting as a quality assurance tester. Now she's both designing and writing music for games like Guild Wars 2. In this Composer Quest interview, Lena shares some of her music and creativity tips, including her method of composing songs during her bus rides. She shares how to write a good melody, and how her experience as an author has influenced her musical storytelling. I also ask Lena about her perspective as a transgender woman in the video game industry.

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Niche Songwriting with Jonathan Rundman

Jonathan Rundman Composer Quest

Jonathan Rundman's songs have appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show, the CBS Morning News, and NPR. He realized the success of these songs have been due in part to their narrow topics, like insomnia and wearing glasses. But Jonathan has recently shifted to writing songs with more "heart" than his journalistic lyrical past, after somewhat of a mid-life crisis and a purifying experience playing ancient Finnish music. In this episode of Composer Quest, Jonathan shares words of wisdom from his 25 years as a touring musician. We also talk about his podcast Creativity Drill, which he co-hosts with his wife Dawn.

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Slot Machine Composing

Slot machine composers Nick Tardiff, Aldo Perez, and Jonathon Roberts

Reelspins, rollups, symbols, celebrations, underscores - they're all different sound ingredients that go into a slot machine. In this episode of Composer Quest, I interview three guys in the sound department at High 5 Games about their unique challenge of making music for casino slots. We talk about the composition techniques they use to hook players into these elaborate slot machine story worlds. I also ask them how they feel about using their musical skills to get people to throw down money and press that button again "like a monkey looking for that frickin' shot of espresso," as Aldo describes it. It's a fun and quirky interview, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Kevin MacLeod, King of Royalty-free Music


If you’ve been to an indie film fest, you’ve probably seen Kevin MacLeod in the credits. Or maybe you’ve heard his music in a cute cat video, or a Minecraft video, or in a department store, cab ride, or on hold. By writing an enormous amount of music and giving it away for free, Kevin has built his reputation as the single biggest royalty-free music composer.

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Jason Graves on Game Composing

Jason Graves Headshot

Tomb Raider, Until Dawn, and the Dead Space series are some of the big-name video games Jason Graves has been scoring recently. In this episode of Composer Quest, Jason shares a ton of great composing, production, and music business advice, along with lessons he learned from his in-depth study of John Williams scores.

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Arranging Pop Songs with Producer Andy Thompson

Andy Thompson Producer Composer Quest

Andy Thompson is the guy who's made Jeremy Messersmith's albums sound incredibly good. He has also collaborated with Dan Wilson of Semisonic, Belle and Sebastian, and he even added some instrumental parts to Taylor Swift's record Red, which earned him a Grammy nomination. In this episode of Composer Quest, Andy shares his ideas on arranging strings, mixing pop music, and making generative music.

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