Tag Archives: TV Music

Now More Than Ever, Union Contracts Can Help

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought our industry to a complete halt, and even as we are socially isolated from one another, we are suffering together both economically and artistically.

But we are a diverse union. Our members include musicians who compose, prepare and perform music in an incredibly wide variety of fields, from theater and club work, symphonic, opera and ballet, film, television, sound recordings and other recording work — if it involves music, at least some of us are doing it as part of our livelihoods Continue reading

Amazon’s ‘Transparent’ Blasted for Unequal Treatment of Musicians

** UPDATE 4/11/2016 —  We are pleased to report that an agreement has been reached with the producers of Amazon original series “Transparent” to cover musicians working on the show under a union contract. Read more **

Labor organizations demand action asking ‘Where’s the pride for musicians?’

Download pdf

LOS ANGELES, CA (March 29, 2016) — Amazon series “Transparent” has come under fire by leaders in the Los Angeles labor community for the unequal treatment of musicians who work on the show.

On Tuesday morning members of AFM Local 47, the Los Angeles chapter of the American Federation of Musicians, leafleted outside a desert location shoot in Pearblossom, California, asking “Where’s the pride for musicians?” and calling upon production company Picrow to hold musicians to the same standard as all its other workers. The acting talent, writers, directors, and crew receive union wages, benefits and protections; only musicians are shut out of a labor contract.   Continue reading

#listenLA spotlight: Interview with ‘House of Cards’ composer Jeff Beal

jeff beal HOC

On the heals of two new Emmy nominations for his music for “House of Cards,” Jeff Beal talks about composing for the hit Los Angeles-scored series

Beautifully underscoring the dramatic intrigue of Netflix series “House of Cards,” Jeff Beal’s darkly atmospheric score just garnered two more Emmy nominations. This marks the composer’s third Emmy nod for the show, and 13th altogether.

To date, Beal has won three times, including for the 2007 TNT miniseries “Nightmares & Dreamscapes” and USA Network’s detective series “Monk” in 2003, which were also scored here with our wonderful Los Angeles musicians.

Recorded at his home studio, music for “House of Cards” features more than a dozen of L.A.’s premiere string musicians. Beal spoke with Linda A. Rapka from his home studio about composing for the hit series.

Congratulations on your recent Emmy nominations for “House of Cards”! For both seasons, you’ve recorded in your home studio with Los Angeles musicians.
“They’re fantastic. I have a room in my studio where I do a lot of live recording. With the tight schedules and turnaround times these days being what they are, I love being able to call on the best players in the world and have them available at the drop of a hat. It’s a luxury to work with them. They know the kind of stuff I write, and over the years we have developed a shorthand with each other. It’s nice not having to over-explain to musicians your approach to making music; here a lot of that is sort of a given.”

Read the full interview at listen-la.com

Woo-Hoo! Interview with ‘Simpsons’ composer Alf Clausen

alf headshot

Clausen reflects on 25 years making music for TV’s favorite dysfunctional cartoon family

When “The Simpsons” first aired in 1989, no one expected it to become the longest-running situation comedy ever on TV — especially not composer Alf Clausen, who almost didn’t take the job. Clausen, who this year celebrates 25 years with the show, was initially more interested in composing for dramas and repeatedly turned down requests from Fox producers and show creator Matt Groening to compose for the show. After much cajoling, he signed on with “The Simpsons,” starting off with “Treehouse of Horror,” the third episode of season two, in 1990. He’s been with the yellow-skinned dysfunctional family ever since, and to date has scored 534 of the 550 episodes, receiving two Emmy awards and 21 additional nominations for his work on the show along the way. Clausen speaks here with Linda A. Rapka about spending the past quarter century with “The Simpsons.”

Your “Simpsons” music was just performed the TV Academy’s Score! concert. What was it like to hear it live?
“I thought it was great, it was so inspirational. I know the crowd really enjoyed it too. The orchestra played it beautifully.”

I love that you chose “Stonecutters Song” from “Homer the Great” – a personal favorite of mine. Whose idea was it to change the lyric from “Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star” to “Kim Kardashian”?
“And ‘Oscar’ to ‘Emmy.’ That was producer Mark Watters’ doing. It was really funny.” Continue reading

#listen-la spotlight: MAD MEN’s Final Score


In the booth at EastWest Studios in Hollywood March 22 for one of the  final episodes of "Mad Men" - engineer Jim Hall, composer David Carbonara, contractor John Rosenberg, and orchestrator Geoff Stradling. Photo: Linda A. Rapka

In the booth at EastWest Studios in Hollywood March 22 for one of the final episodes of “Mad Men” – engineer Jim Hall, composer David Carbonara, contractor John Rosenberg, and orchestrator Geoff Stradling. Photo: Linda A. Rapka

Composer David Carbonara fell in love with “Mad Men” years before anybody knew about the show.

He met screenwriter Matt Weiner in 1998, and the two became fast friends over music. In 2001, Weiner handed Carbonara a speculative script for his pilot about a show following the exploits (professional and otherwise) of overly confident womanizer Don Draper, head of the creative department at a growing Madison Avenue ad agency in the 1960s. Weiner told Carbonara if the show were ever picked up, he would do the music.

Read the full story at listen-la.com.

#listenLA spotlight: ‘House of Cards’

The Emmy-nominated score to the Netflix original series “House of Cards” features dramatic, atmospheric music from Los Angeles composer Jeff Beal


“Of all of the places to record my scores, my #1 choice is always here in Los Angeles,” Beal says. “The L.A. studio players are experienced, smart and professional. They are quick, and agile at breathing life and drama into my work. Their musicianship comprises an intimate mastery of the techniques and skills required in today’s studio playing.”

The orchestra contracted for each session by David Low (who also plays cello) includes more than a dozen of Los Angeles’s premiere string performers whose rich artistry adds that extra something special to Beal’s intriguing scores.

Way to #listenLA!

Catch the new season debuting on Netflix Feb. 14.

ABC Drops ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Band


LOS ANGELES, CA (Feb. 6, 2014) — When “Dancing With the Stars” returns this March, the house band won’t be with it.

ABC and BBC Worldwide Productions announced this week that they will not have the 28 instrumentalists, singers, arrangers and copyists return for season 18.

The network did not announce a reason for the firings, but the American Federation of Musicians cites executive changes at ABC for the decision. The musicians union says the network put “pressure on ‘DWTS’ producer BBC Worldwide Productions to cut corners and pander to a younger viewing audience.” Continue reading