Category Archives: Scoring Sessions

John Williams scores Star Wars: The Force Awakens [EXCLUSIVE!]

Throughout most of 2015, Oscar-winning composer John Williams recorded his score to the highly anticipated new chapter in the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Directed by J.J. Abrams, the film, released on December 18, 2015, is the new box office champ, grossing over $920 million in the USA.  Thanks to our good friends at Bad Robot, Lucasfilm and Disney, we’re thrilled to bring our readers a small but exclusive set of photos from the scoring sessions that took place at the Sony Pictures Scoring Stage last year.


John Williams conducts the Hollywood Studio Symphony on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Recording for Star Wars: The Force Awakens took place at the Sony Pictures Scoring Stage, where composer John Williams conducted his score. Additional conducting was done by co-orchestrator William Ross, and a few cues were guest conducted by Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel. The score to Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned John Williams his 50th Academy Award nomination. He didn’t win during the Oscars show last night, but there was a nice Star Wars themed tribute to him during the broadcast.


The orchestra records a cue

The French horns

The trombone section

Composer John Williams goes over the opening and end title credits with guest conductor Gustavo Dudamel

The cello section

Working in the booth was scoring mixer Shawn Murphy, music editors Ramiro Belgardt and Paul Apelgren, scoring editor Bob Wolff, and scoring mix assistant John Traunwieser. (Unfortunately we have no photos from the booth to share with you.)


The woodwinds

The strings

Guest conductor Gustavo Dudamel and composer John Williams enjoy a moment between cues

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is still in theaters, and is expected to be released on home video later this spring.  The soundtrack to the Oscar-nominated score is available from Walt Disney Records – please help support ScoringSessions.com by clicking to buy it here!

All photos by David James Photog. © 2015 & TM Lucasfilm Ltd., All Rights Reserved. Used with permission. Special thanks to Nancy Dolan at Disney, Tim Mapp at Lucasfilm, and Bryan Burk at Bad Robot for their help and support.

Alex Heffes scores 11.22.63

In late 2015, composer Alex Heffes recorded his music for the new Hulu miniseries, 11.22.63. Based on Stephen King’s thrilling novel, the miniseries produced by JJ Abrams is about a man who travels back in time to try to stop the assassination of President Kennedy. ScoringSessions.com is excited to bring our readers exclusive photos from one of the sessions!


Alex Heffes conducts the Hollywood Studio Symphony on 11.22.63

Recording for 11.22.63 took place at the Newman scoring stage at 20th Century Fox, with composer Alex Heffes conducting a 39-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony.


Composer Alex Heffes

The violins

The cello section

The French horns

Chris Bleth performs on woodwinds

In the booth, scoring mixer Jim Hill made sure everything sounded great, and music preparer Victor Pesavento acted as booth reader. Additional music composers Alexis Grapsas and Peter Bateman were also on hand to lend feedback, as well supervising music editor Jenny Barak and scoring assistant Red Bennett.


Scoring mixer Jim Hill

Booth reader Victor Pesavento gives feedback to Heffes

Additional music composer Alexis Grapsas and supervising music editor Jenny Barak

Scoring assistant Red Bennett and ProTools recordist Phil McGowan

Inside the booth during the 11.22.63 scoring session at Fox

The 8-part miniseries is now streaming on Hulu.

Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL) scores Deadpool

Back in December, composer Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL) was at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox to record his music for the new box office smash, Deadpool. Courtesy of Costa Communcations, ScoringSessions.com is pleased to bring our readers a few photos from the scoring sessions!


The Hollywood Studio Symphony recording Tom Holkenborg’s score to Deadpool

The Hollywood Studio Symphony was conducted by Nick Glennie-Smith


Nick Glennie-Smith conducting on Deadpool

A view from the booth of Tom Holkenborg and his team hard at work at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox recording his score to Deadpool

Released this past weekend, the film broke box office records with an impressive $150 million opening. A soundtrack featuring Holkenborg’s score is available from Milan Records.

Special thanks to Ray Costa for the photos!

Alan Menken and Christopher Lennertz score Galavant: Season 2

Beating the odds, the quirky medieval musical comedy Galavant was renewed – and award-wining songwriters Alan Menken and Glenn Slater returned to provide the wisecracking hysterical songs for the 8-episode run. The underscore was once more handled by Menken along with collaborator Christopher Lennertz, and ScoringSessions.com is delighted to bring our readers exclusive more photos from this season’s scoring sessions!


Conductor Michael Kosarin with the orchestra on Galavant

Galavant aired all eight episodes over four weeks, two per week in an hour-long block that started on Sunday, January 3rd. The music for the show was recorded in three batches of four days of scoring sessions, in November and December 2015, and January 2016, at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros., and the MGM Scoring Stage at Sony Pictures Studios.

As with the first season, the Hollywood Studio Symphony was conducted by Michael “Koz” Kosarin.


Conductor Michael Kosarin and the Hollywood Studio Symphony

The violin section

The cellos and basses

The woodwinds

The French horns perform on Wagner tubas

The brass section

Pianist Randy Kerber shows off his keyboards

The percussion

Guitarist George Doering displays his variety of guitars

In the booth, composers Alan Menken and Christopher Lennertz were again joined by scoring mixer Frank Wolf, music editor Christopher Brooks, and Menken’s writing assistant Aaron Kenny. Show creator and executive producer Dan Fogelman was also on hand to give feedback.


Alan Menken listens as his fellow composer Chris Lennertz gives feedback from the booth

Scoring mixer Frank Wolf

Alan Menken’s music assistant Aaron Kenny, music editor Christopher Brooks, and ProTools recordist Adam Michalak

Composers Chris Lennertz and Alan Menken

Inside the booth during the Galavant: Season 2 sessions

Galavant creator Dan Fogelman and composer Alan Menken

The music team on Galavant: Season 2: (rear) composer Chris Lennertz, Alan Menken’s music assistant Aaron Kenny, music editor Christopher Brooks; (front) composer Alan Menken, scoring mixer Frank Wolf, and stage recordist Tom Hardisty

A soundtrack featuring 28 songs from the show is now available on Amazon.com from Hollywood Records.

Carter Burwell scores The Finest Hours

Last summer, Oscar-nominated composer Carter Burwell was at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros. to record his score to Disney’s The Finest Hours, based on the true story about an incredible 1952 coast guard rescue, directed by Craig Gillespie. The film opens today and we’re thrilled to bring our readers the exclusive photos from the scoring session!


Carter Burwell conducts the Hollywood Studio Symphony

The music for The Finest Hours was conducted by composer Carter Burwell, who led a 42-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony in the first round of recording that took place in July 2015.


Carter Burwell conducts The Finest Hours

The brass section

The cellos

The woodwinds

The French horns

Additional music was composed and conducted by Philip Klein, at a pick-up session in October 2015, with a 61-piece orchestra, also recorded at Warner Bros.


Additional music composer Philip Klein conducts the Hollywood Studio Symphony

In the booth, during the first round of sessions, scoring mixer Michael Farrow was joined by additional music composer Philip Klein, music editor Adam Smalley, supervising music editor Jon Mooney, picture editor Tanya Riegel and post production supervisor Lori Korngiebel. Walt Disney Pictures President of Music Mitchell Lieb was also on hand to give feedback.


Additional music composer Philip Klein and composer Carter Burwell listen to a cue

Scoring mixer Michael Farrow and stage recordist Tom Hardisty

Music editor Adam Smalley, Walt Disney Pictures President of Music Mitchell Lieb, supervising music editor Jon Mooney and post production supervisor Lori Korngiebel

The Finest Hours is now playing in theaters. A soundtrack album is available digitally from Walt Disney Records.

Editor’s note: a previous version of this article referred to supervising music editor Jon Mooney as the temp music editor. We regret the error.

Christopher Lennertz scores Ride Along 2

Last year, composer Christopher Lennertz was at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox to record his score to the Ice Cube/Kevin Hart sequel, Ride Along 2. Directed by Tim Story, the film opens today and we’re excited to bring our readers the exclusive photos from the scoring session!


Composer and conductor Chris Lennertz records with the Hollywood Studio Symphony

The music for Ride Along 2 was conducted by composer Christopher Lennertz, who led a 73-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Newman Scoring Stage.


Composer and conductor Chris Lennertz and the orchestra prepare for the next cue

The woodwinds

The brass section

Cellist Dennis Karmazyn and cellist/orchestra contractor David Low

The French horns

Composer and conductor Chris Lennertz and the orchestra

In the booth, scoring mixer Jeff Vaughn was joined by additional music composer Alex Bornstein, orchestrators Andrew Kinney, Michael Lloyd, Marcus Sjöwall, and Gernot Wolfgang. Director Tim Story, supervising music editor Todd Bozung, scoring assistant Dara Taylor, ProTools recordist Kevin Globerman, and assistant scoring engineers Keith Ukrisna and Joshua Margolis were also on hand to lend feedback.


Composer Chris Lennertz and supervising music editor Todd Bozung look over a cue as director Tim Story watches playback

Orchestrators Marcus Sjöwall, Michael Lloyd, and Andrew Kinney, additional music composer Alex Bornstein, supervising music editor Todd Bozung, and scoring mixer Jeff Vaughn

Scoring assistant Dara Taylor, ProTools recordist Kevin Globerman, and assistant scoring engineers Keith Ukrisna and Joshua Margolis

Back at Sonic Fuel Studios, Lennertz also recorded overdubs with such featured artists as percussionist Sheila E, trumpet soloists Arturo Sandoval, and an African choir featuring Carmen Twillie.


Trumpet player Arturo Sandoval performs on Ride Along 2 at Sonic Fuel Studios

Composer Chris Lennertz ponders Arturo Sandoval’s performance

Supervising music editor Todd Bozung, composer Christopher Lennertz, percussionist Sheila E, and ProTools recordist Kevin Globerman

Ride Along 2 is now playing in theaters. A soundtrack album featuring Lennertz’s score is also available from Back Lot Music.

We also have an archival gallery of photos from Lennertz’s scoring sessions to Ride Along – click here to view the gallery!

Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna score Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur

Earlier this year, Oscar-winning composer Mychael Danna and his brother Jeff Danna scored the new Pixar animated feature, The Good Dinosaur. Recording took place at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros., and the generous folks at Pixar have provided us with exclusive photos from the sessions for a gallery to share with our readers!

For the full gallery of photos, click here!


Conductor/orchestrator Nicholas Dodd talks with the violins

Concertmaster Bruce Dukov and violinist Natalie Leggett

Composer Jeff Danna, producer Denise Ream, director Peter Sohn and composer Mychael Danna

The Good Dinosaur was released on November 25, 2015, and has made nearly $170 million worldwide. A soundtrack album, featuring the Dannas’ score, is available from Walt Disney Records.


Composers Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna

For the full gallery of photos, click here!

Photos by Deborah Coleman / Pixar.

John Paesano scores My All American

Last winter, composer John Paesano recorded his score to the inspirational independent football film My All American. Directed by Angelo Pizzo and based on the true story of Freddie Steinmark, the scoring sessions took place at the Sony Scoring Stage and ScoringSessions.com is thrilled to bring our readers photos from the sessions!


Conductor and orchestrator Pete Anthony records a cue for My All American with the orchestra

Conducted by Pete Anthony, John Paesano’s score was recorded with a 61-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony.


Concertmaster Belinda Broughton and violinist Darius Campo

The woodwinds

The brass section

The cello section

Percussionists Alan Estes, Dan Greco, and Greg Goodall prep their instruments

Pianist Randy Kerber

In the booth, composer John Paesano was assisted by additional music composers Braeden Kimball, Joshua Johnson and Nolan Livesay. Scoring mixer Alan Meyerson ran the console, and music editor Lee Scott and ProTools recordist Kevin Globerman were also on hand for feedback.


Additional music composers Nolan Livesay and Braden Kimball look over the scores for composer John Paesano

Scoring mixer Alan Meyerson listens to the mix

The booth listens to the mix with playback

Music editor Lee Scott and ProTools recordist Kevin Globerman

My All American is currently in limited theaters. A soundtrack album is available from Sony Classical.

Christophe Beck scores The Peanuts Movie

Earlier this summer, composer Christophe Beck recorded his score to the Blue Sky/Fox animated film The Peanuts Movie. Directed by Steve Martino and based on the classic comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, the scoring sessions took place at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox, and ScoringSessions.com is delighted to bring our readers photos from the sessions!


Tim Davies conducts the Hollywood Studio Symphony on The Peanuts Movie

Conducted by lead orchestrator Tim Davies, Christophe Beck’s playful score was recorded with a 79-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony.


The violins

The woodwinds

The brass section

The cello section

The French horns

The percussion section

Pianist Randy Kerber makes changes to his part

In the booth, composer Christophe Beck was joined by additional music composers Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson. Scoring mixer Casey Stone was working his magic to make everything sound spectactual, music editor Fer Bos kept things organized, and Larry Mah handled the ProToolse recording. Director Steve Martino was also there to give feedback to Beck.


Composer Christophe Beck talks with orchestra contractor Peter Rotter (back turned), additional music composer Leo Birenberg, percussionist Wade Culbreath, and conductor/orchestrator Tim Davies

nside the booth at Fox during the sessions for The Peanuts Movie

Additional music composer Leo Birenberg and scoring mixer Casey Stone enjoy the session

Additional music composer Zach Robinson and ProTools recordist Larry Mah

The Peanuts Movie is now playing in theaters. A soundtrack album featuring Christophe Beck’s score (as well as some classic Peanuts tunes from the Vince Guaraldi Trio) is now available from Epic Records.

Matthew Margeson scores Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Earlier this spring, composer Matthew Margeson recorded his score to the horror comedy Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Directed by Christopher Landon, the scoring sessions took place at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox, and ScoringSessions.com is excited to bring our readers photos from the sessions!


Conductor Tim Davies and the Hollywood Studio Symphony perform on Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Conducted by lead orchestrator Tim Davies, Margeson’s score was recorded with a 53-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony. Strings were recorded during the day, with brass recorded at night.


Concertmaster Julie Gigante and the first violins

The cellos

Conductor Tim Davies cues the cellos

The low strings

The French horns: Jenny Kim, Dan Kelley, Steve Becknell, and Mark Adams

The brass

In the booth, composer Matthew Margeson was joined by additional orchestrator Jeremy Levy, who served as booth reader. Orchestra recording mixer Alan Meyerson made sure everything sounded great, and also on hand for support was music editor Kevin McKeever, additional music composer Jason Soudah, and ProTools recordist Kevin Globerman.


Composer Matthew Margeson at the console as additional orchestrator Jeremy Levy checks on a cue

Inside the control room at Fox

Composer Matthew Margeson approves of the orchestra’s take

Composer Matthew Margeson speaks with the orchestra as conductor Tim Davies waits on the podium

Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is now playing in theaters. A soundtrack album featuring Margeson’s score is now available digitally from Paramount Music, and physically on Nov. 3 from La-La Land Records.