Marc Streitenfeld scores Ridley Scott’s American Gangster

Posted on May 15, 2007 by Dan Goldwasser



For the past few weeks, composer Marc Streitenfeld has been recording his score to the new Ridley Scott 1970s crime drama, American Gangster. Written by Steve Zaillian, the film stars Denzel Washington as a Harlem kingpin who smuggles heroin into the country by hiding it in the coffins of American soldiers returning from the Vietnam War, and Russell Crowe is the detective working to bring him down.


Orchestrator Bruce Fowler and composer Marc Streitenfeld

Mike Nowak conducts on American Gangster

The Hollywood Studio Symphony strings

The dark film required a score to support the tension and drama, and Streitenfeld’s approach was to use an 80-piece orchestra (recorded in sections), as well as numerous acoustic pre-records, mostly performed by Streitenfeld himself.


A cellist notes a change to the score

“The orchestra is only one element of many,” explained Streitenfeld at the final scoring session at the Sony Scoring Stage in Culver City, CA. At that session, strings were recorded, conducted by Mike Nowak. Supervising orchestrator Bruce Fowler was present to assist in the booth along with scoring mixer Peter Cobbin, music editor Del Spiva, and ProTools recordist Adam Michalak.


Cellist Steve Erdody, orchestrator Bruce Fowler, violinist Bruce Dukov and composer Marc Streitenfeld

Peter Cobbin mixes American Gangster

Jamie Luker handles pre-record playback and Jezza Borum assists Streitenfeld

Katie Kirkpatrick plays harp on American Gangster

American Gangster will be released by Universal Studios on November 2, 2007.

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