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Quest 18: MNKINO Film Score Fest 2016

MNKINO Film Score Fest 2015

I'm happy to announce that we're bringing back MNKINO Film Score Fest this year! If you haven't heard of it, it's an awesome challenge where filmmakers and composers are paired up to create short films, and the Composer Quest Orchestra plays the scores live at the screening.

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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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TV Composer Double Feature: Fil Eisler and Mac Quayle

Mac Quayle and Fil Eisler - Composer Quest

I'm excited to announce this Composer Quest double episode with TV composers Fil Eisler (Revenge, Empire, UnREAL) and Mac Quayle (American Horror Story, Drive, Mr. Robot). First, we hear from Fil about what he learned while composing for an orchestra during four seasons of Revenge. He shares his tips on getting hired for composing gigs and his tips on scoring the entire arc of a show without getting musically stale.

Next, I interview Mac Quayle about how his dance music background (41 #1 Billboard Dance Hits!) influences his film and TV scoring. He gives some music mixing pointers and explains how to build momentum in a song or soundtrack.

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Composing a Symphony with Musicologist Michael Dodds

Michael Dodds - Composer Quest

Composer and Baroque music specialist Michael Dodds is the subject of an upcoming documentary called Blessed Unrest (currently being Kickstarted) about the personal challenge of creating a 40-minute choral symphony. Michael joined me on Composer Quest to talk about the techniques he used in writing his symphony, like borrowing from the beautiful Romantic harmonies of Richard Strauss. Michael also explains how Baroque composers are like jazz musicians, and how music theory is linked to the history of map-making.

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Behind the Curtain of Composing Wizard Tyler Tholl

Tyler Tholl Composer Quest

My talented friend Tyler Tholl evaded coming on the Composer Quest podcast for over a year, but finally my pestering paid off. I was really excited to visit Tyler in his studio and see the man behind the curtain at work. His new Maple & Beech EP Flashes & Floaters (made with drummer Pete James Johnson from episode 15) sounds amazing, and in this episode we get a thorough dissection of the composition and music production techniques Tyler used. We also talk about Tyler's producing for the new Borderline EP by Paul Spring (from episode 11). Stick around until the end, and you'll get to be a fly on the wall in Tyler's studio, as he produces the intro theme to this Composer Quest episode on the spot.

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Adrienne Albert, Composer and Stravinsky’s Favorite Alto

Adrienne Albert Composer Quest

As a singer with a very pure tone, Adrienne Albert has been recruited to work with many talented composers over the years, including Leonard Bernstein, Philip Glass, and Igor Stravinsky. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about Adrienne's own composing process. She shares some stories behind her music, including how she used woodwind players to represent a chorus of animals in her Alaska-inspired "Animalogy."

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Eggs, Bacon, and Composer Wisdom from Rick Sowash


"Outsider" composer Rick Sowash has 14 beautiful chamber music albums to his name, all self-published and fan-supported. After graduating from a prestigious music school that he hated so much he refuses to name, he vowed to stay independent of any academic or commercial organization. In this episode of Composer Quest, Rick shares his entire strategy for making it as an independent composer, which he's been perfecting for many years. We also get to hear how Rick converted orange juice, French toast, eggs, and bacon into music for a treble clef quartet.

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Songwriting Tricks with Dylan McFarling

Dylan McFarling

Guitarist Dylan McFarling is obsessed with studying the work of other songwriters and composers, all the way back to Bach and his ingenious Musical Offering. In this episode of Composer Quest, Dylan shares his songwriting tips and explains how string quartets have inspired the way he orchestrates guitar and voice in his songs. Also in this episode, you'll hear some beautiful, previously unrecorded songs that Dylan performed live in the Composer Quest studio.

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Quest 5: Arrange a Carol for the Amadeus Chamber Symphony

Amadeus Orchestra Quest

I'm excited to announce a brand new Composer Quest competition! The Amadeus Chamber Symphony is in need of Christmas carol arrangements for their holiday performances with the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University choirs. The performances are attended by over 1,500 people, so it will be great exposure for the chosen composers. Eight arrangements will be performed by the orchestra and choirs, recorded, and featured on my podcast.

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