The specified audio id does not exist.


The specified audio id does not exist.


Yearly Archives: 2015

Home  >> Blog  >>  2015
Getting Goosebumps
Posted by admin on Oct, 13, 2015

This “horror” (comedy) movie was a blast to work on!  Danny Elfman hitting the musical chords (need I say more?), and Jack Black creating a hilariously hateable father character.

Pretty goofy stuff, but fun for even young teens, I think… (don’t take my word for it, research!)


IMDb explains plot:

“A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R.L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Greendale, Maryland.”

Richard taking a walk with “The Walk”
Posted by admin on Oct, 12, 2015

Working on Robert Zemeckis‘ epic and awe-inspiring movie, the Walk, was exhilarating. Alan Silvestri’s score “soars”, appropriately enough.


Here is IMDb’s blurb on the upcoming film:

“In 1974, high-wire artist Philippe Petit recruits a team of people to help him realize his dream: to walk the immense void between the World Trade Center towers.”  (Yeah, you know, the structures destroyed by our militant extremist friends…  Hey let’s treat.)

I will never forget the incredible, transcendental and magical scene in which the fearless tightrope-walker, Philippe, lies down on his back onto the wire, effortlessly balancing while he encounters a passing seagull… peaceful yet astounding.

InConcert Sierra’s Orchestral Concert of Favorites!
Posted by admin on Sep, 29, 2015

InConcert Sierra’s attitude toward making music is truly novel: play music people want to hear! (Click on photo below for sample:)


Conductor Ken Hardin and Concertmaster Richard Altenbach put on a fund-raising concert every season featuring musical selections chosen by the audience!  The result this September 20, 2015 included Respighi’s Ancient Airs & Dances, the Blue Danube, and most poignantly, the slow movement from Dvorak’s New World Symphony.


This approach always leads to a successful financial campaign allowing the organization to pursue its lofty goals (such as sponsoring Joshua Bell’s recital in October! and securing individual patron sponsorship OF EVERY SINGLE CHAIR in the ORCHESTRA!!)  Thank you to our sponsors and community…

Clue to music programmers:  Ummm, it was a smash hit.

Great sketch of the InConcert Sierra Orchestra by Elly Gould!InConcertSketch

Richard and Kristin Chenoweth
Posted by admin on Sep, 28, 2015

September 25, 2015 Richard had the pleasure of playing with Kristin Chenoweth and her 4-man traveling band at Weill Hall, Green Center, Sonoma State University.  A small string section indeed: 2 violins, 1 cello.  This concert was part of the Summer Lawn Series, very beautiful setting.


Her personality, professionalism and charisma were inspiring.  Known for her sweet high notes, intonation was flawless, power amazing (she is 4’11” tall, and very petite) and most importantly expressivity uncommon.  The highlight of the concert for me was the lovely piano / voice rendition of Bring Him Home from Les Miserables which along with selections from Wicked, brought down the house!

at rehearsal with the charming Kristin:



Auburn Symphony Summer Concert in the Park 2015
Posted by admin on Sep, 14, 2015

Opening concert of the season for Auburn Symphony is always done in a heavily wooded park in town.  This picture below shows a lost Concertmaster, Richard Altenbach, in search of his orchestra … (I said it was wooded!)


Moments with Maestro Peter Jaffe:


Guest Maestro Perry:

_cMwxdR2TNfhiEn7XkVnjwd24vL5S5cqf5uPfSdj6do,L8wI16EfE9dfV3IvtNzfI_fz13m3VYeP6SrV36N0yJwMore Woods!


Sage & Milo
Posted by admin on Sep, 14, 2015

Just finished a feature film project cryptically entitled Sage & Milo at the Barbra Streisand Scoring Stage, Sony / Old MGM.  Why the working title Sage & Milo?  Yes, secrecy reigns again at Sony.  Referring to literary allusion,  Sage is a wiseman and Milo is a Greek soldier hero.  Add a cape to each fellow, change the & in the title to vs, and you figure it out!


The pictures below shows the beautiful Katia Popov, violinist extraordinaire and the incredible Hans Zimmer!


Having played and recorded for so many Zimmer movies, I can only say I admire him the most of any Hollywood composer.  A hilarious, witty German with a delightful Anglicized accent (all those BBC productions in London!), he is a true gentile superhero (am I giving anything away here?), at least musically speaking.  As a Participant in the ASCAP Film Composers’ Workshop, I had the pleasure of visiting him in his private studio in Remote Control, Santa Monica (a couple of beachside street blocks of buzzing musical recording activity).  He was a blast.  I will always remember how he goes about bidding for a job; he studies the script or some visuals, and instead of putting sample music to picture, he creates a 20-minute fully fleshed-out montage of all the musical themes and moments he sees for the film.

His music is characterized by originality,  shameless bows to ultra Germanic Romanticism (hello Wagner, Strauss and Bruckner!) and outrageous audacity.  His signature sound is a mixture of gigantic orchestral forces sweetened with numerous overlays acoustic and electronic, magnificent solos and wild eerie, powerful sonic effects.

I remember upon the last day of recording one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, he sent us all home WITH A BOTTLE OF RUM!  good rum …

Oh, one more interesting tidbit … It seems that the computer system is still down at Sony since the North Korean hacker attack!  Note the hand-written pass I received to enter the studio (below):



“SJP”, or “Bridge of Spies”?
Posted by admin on Aug, 24, 2015

Powerful film by Steven Spielberg about an American lawyer (Tom Hanks) who is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.

When we were recording Tommy Newman’s poignant score to the film, our cue sheets (notated musical selections to accompany each specific scene) were entitled SJP;  some in the orchestra (perhaps readers of the book?) surmised the working title must have been Saint James Place.


Think Private Ryan – we’re talking Academy Award Nominations here.  And Tommy’s music was effective, understated yet expressive;  Steven mentioned to the orchestra that he could not have made a better choice for composer than Tommy Newman.  (Note: John Williams, his go to guy, was unavailable being occupied on music in a Galaxy far, far away!)

“Finding Dory” Swimming to Theatres Near You
Posted by admin on Aug, 24, 2015

Yes, the fun(?) has begun as Disney / Pixar is in production on the oceanic sequel to Finding Nemo, FINDING DORY!  I played on the first of several Studio Recording sessions at the venerable Alfred Newman Scoring Stage, 20th Cent. Fox;  music by Alfred’s youngest son Thomas Newman.


Ellen DeGeneres reprises  her role as the “wrong-way”, forgetful yet lovable fish.  However, it seems the story’s message may sound a bit didactic and heavy for a young audience.  In essence, the moral of the story is that “fish are not pets”!  Ellen’s comments below:

“I think that fish should be in the ocean. It’s what this whole sequel is about: It’s about rehabilitation and putting them back in the ocean … And we have to protect our oceans. Hopefully that discussion starts with this film, because we really need to protect that environment.”  chatting to Yahoo Movies at the D23 Exposition.

This political correctness always steps out of bounds, disheartening the audience (in this case, young impressionable children!).  I would say a case could be made that maintaining pets  demonstrates the intimate bond between a person and an animal, teaching to care for and love the animal.  To bring to close appreciation if not sheer awareness of a creature’s existence could only better further the aims of animal rights folks and environmentalists.

Release late 6-2016, not 11-15

Randy Newman Performs in Grass Valley
Posted by admin on Aug, 20, 2015

My family enjoyed a real once-in-a-lifetime experience on June 26, 2015 – right here in Grass Valley!  The inimitable Randy Newman (think music from almost any Pixar movie ever made!) performed a one-man show under the tall cedars of our beautiful Fairgrounds.


Although many of the selections were unexpectedly “randy”, our son was in awe to meet the man who wrote the score to Cars and Monsters University!  Having worked on most of his movie scores myself, we were invited backstage to see him.  He was hilarious, a little on the shy side and very kind to and interested in Bren.


In my opinion, Randy possesses one of the greatest minds around in regards to musicology, orchestration and history.  His wit is legendary!   I let him know that night how the joy and beauty of his film scores served our Bren as a deeply meaningful interface between a vulnerable, sensitive baby/toddler and a brave new world.


Thanks Randy!  Take a bow …

A Blast Performing With Kevin Spacey!
Posted by admin on Aug, 18, 2015

IMG_2171  IMG_2170

My recent trip to Sonoma County involved very little imbibing of the local grape; rather on the evening of July 18, 2015, I enjoyed my first time performing at the magnificent Green Center Weill Hall. The audience was treated to the mellifluous, crooning voice of actor Kevin Spacey! Being a true showman, Kevin impressed the crowd with moving renditions of jazz standards and entertained with stories, humorous banter and excellent celebrity impressions.


I can be seen on violin – 1st row, 3rd in …

It was good to work with my old Hollywood friends René Mandel & Mark Robertson:


(ok, OK … I had a little wine!)