John Powell scores Ferdinand

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Dan Goldwasser

Earlier this year, Oscar-nominated composer John Powell recorded his score for the new Fox/Blue Sky Studios animated feature, Ferdinand. Based on the classic children’s book, the film was directed by Carlos Saldanha, with whom Powell had worked with previously on Robots, the Ice Age films, and the Rio films. Recording took place at the Newman Scoring Stage at Fox, and is thrilled to bring our readers exclusive photos from the sessions!

John Powell conducts his score to Ferdinand

At Powell’s 5 Cat Studios, small ensembles were recorded, including flamenco guitar, percussion and various soloists. For the main orchestral scoring sessions, at Fox, Powell himself conducted the musicians. Strings, woodwinds, harp and piano were recorded separately from the brass, and a separate percussion session was also used, allowing for greater control in the intricate sound mix.

The large violin section

The viola, cello and bass sections

The woodwinds

Harpists Katie Kirkpatrick and Marcia Dickstein perform on Ferdinand

The French horn section

The trumpets

The low brass

Percussionists Brian Kilgore, Gregory Goodall, and Bob Zimmitti

Composer John Powell and the percussion section try different options to achieve the right sound

Director Carlos Saldanha was very hands on during the sessions, sitting next to the podium as Powell conducted, and giving feedback during playback in the booth.

Director Carlos Saldanha enjoys the session up close with composer/conductor John Powell

Director Carlos Saldanha, additional music composer Batu Sener, and composer John Powell go over a cue

Inside the booth, scoring mixer Shawn Murphy made sure everything sounded specatcular, and additional music composer and score co-producer Batu Sener gave feedback to Powell out on the stage. They were joined by additional engineer/mixer John Traunwieser, ProTools recordist Erik Swanson, music editor Tom Carlson, scoring editor David Channing, additional music composer Anthony Willis, and score prduction assistant Soya Soo. At the pickup sessions, Traunwieser took over the mixing as Murphy was unavailable.

Composer John Powell discusses a cue with scoring mixer Shawn Murphy

Additional music composer Batu Sener

Music editor Tom Carlson, digital score recordist Erik Swanson, additional engineer/mixer John Traunwieser, and score production assistant Soya Soo

Composer John Powell talks with additional engineer/mixer John Traunwieser

Composer/conductor John Powell at the podium

John Powell and the Hollywood Studio Symphony records his score to Ferdinand

The score album for Ferdinand has been released by La-La Land Records and 5 Cat Studios and is now available.

Composer John Powell conducts the orchestra as they record his score for Ferdinand

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