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CMRC Autumn Week 3 seminar: Ceiri Torjussen

Tuesday 12 October 2021, 4.00PM to 5.30pm

Speaker(s): Ceiri Torjussen

New Tools of the Trade: Using Extended Instrumental Techniques and Custom-Made Sampled Instruments in Music for the Screen

Quite often, creating music for film - especially in the horror, thriller and sci-fi genres - can be exciting avenues for sonic experimentation. Having worked extensively in these genres, I try to always make it a point to create at least some 'new sounds' for every new project - using either synthetic (digital) or acoustic sources.

In this presentation I’ll be discussing and demonstrating how I like to utilize live musical instruments in unusual ways, record the sounds, then manipulate them using digital samplers to create playable new ‘instruments’. These new instruments often become an integral part of the score, and sometimes create a whole new sound world which inspires new ways of approaching my compositional process.

About the speaker: Multi award-winning composer Ceiri Torjussen’s (pronounced kay-ree) music was described by the Los Angeles Times as a “sudden bolt of creative lightning.” Welsh-born, but based in Los Angeles, his credits run the gamut of independent films, documentaries, network TV, animation and larger-budget studio films. He is also an accomplished composer of concert and experimental music.

His latest credits are scoring the Danish WW2 epic The Shadow in My Eye, and the comedy India Sweets and Spices (both premiering theatrically in November, 2021). Earlier in 2021 he scored the critically-acclaimed CNN docuseries The People v. The Klan, which tells the harrowing but uplifting story of the last lynching in America and the amazing mother who brought the KKK to justice.

In 2019 Torjussen scored the 4-part docuseries Pistorius for Amazon, about the famed Paralympic athlete and convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius. The psychological thriller Jack Goes Home (starring Rory Culkin and Lin Shaye) premiered at SXSW 2016 and the critically-acclaimed horror film The Canal, which features a terrifying, experimental score, premiered at Tribeca in 2014. His extensive documentary work includes such award-winning films as Mr. Calzaghe (BBC/eOne) and Superheroes (HBO, 2010), about real-life Superheroes patrolling the streets of America. In 2013 Ceiri scored two award-winning films: Test (winner of Outfest and featured at the 2014 Berlinale), a drama set in the 1980s, features a moody, ambient electronic score; and on the other end of the stylistic spectrum, Big Ass Spider! (premiered at SXSW 2013), is a nod to the classic monster-movie scores of the 1950s and features full orchestra with a hard-rock edge.

He composed additional, heart-thumping action music for Hitman: Agent 47, Repo Men, Live Free or Die Hard and Underworld Evolution, and orchestral action-comedy music for Scary Movie II. Most recently he scored additional music to the noir thriller American Night, which just premiered at the 2021 Venice Biennale. He was nominated for a 2007 Emmy Award for his music to the animated series, Dive Olly Dive!

Torjussen has been commissioned by groups such as the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, The Vale of Glamorgan Festival and the Henry Mancini Institute. In 2016 his BBC commission Blodeuwedd, for full orchestra, was given its US premier as part of the Hear Now Festival, Los Angeles. His work has been recorded and released commercially and performed worldwide, including the USA, UK, Germany, France and India. He is a dual US/UK citizen.

Find out more on Ceiri's website

Please contact Catherine Laws for the Zoom link: catherine.laws@york.ac.uk

Location: Online (via Zoom)