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Visiting Faculty

The Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program relies on the guidance and real-world perspective of visiting professors working directly as professional technologists and film/game composers at the top of their field to shape its curriculum for maximum relevance. A number of high-profile visiting artists work with TAC students regularly, offering insights not only in technique, but the industry as a whole.

Laura Karpman

Four­-time Emmy award winning composer Laura Karpman maintains a vibrant career in film, television, video game, concert and theater music. Her distinguished credits include scoring Kasi Lemmons' Black Nativity for Fox Searchlight, Spielberg's miniseries Taken, the Showtime series Odyssey 5and; Masters Of Science Fiction (both Emmy-­nominated) and numerous video games including Microsoft's Project Spark, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Everquest II and Untold Legends. Karpman was resident orchestral composer of Sony Online Entertainment and has received two GANG awards and an additional nomination for her video game music, which has been performed by orchestras internationally. Her score for the animated film, A Monkey's Tale, received a 2006 Annie Award Nomination.

Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Karpman collaborated with soprano Jessye Norman and The Roots on Ask Your Mama, a multimedia opera on a text by Langston Hughes, which received its sold out premiere at Carnegie Hall in March 2009, and its West Coast premiere at The Hollywood Bowl and was revived at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.  

Laura has scored projects for every major network, and has a new unannounced series forthcoming with the iconic R&B artist Raphael Saadiq. She created a unique soundscape for Showtime’s acclaimed science fiction series, ODYSSEY 5 starring Peter Weller. This Emmy-nominated highly unusual score, featuring 12 cellos, bassoons, basses, duduk and countertenor, caught the attention of Steven Spielberg, who invited her to create an epic orchestral score for his 20-hour miniseries, TAKEN. She seamlessly intertwined traditional Americana with evocative modernist strains in this sprawling, adventurous sci-fi score.

Austin Wintory

Austin Wintory is an American composer who has composed scores for films and video games. He is particularly known for composing the scores to the acclaimed video game titles flOw and Journey, the latter of which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (the first ever for a video game). His film efforts include the scores to the 2009 Sundance hit Grace, as well as the 2008 Sundance Audience Award winner Captain Abu Raed. Wintory has composed 300 scores since 2003.

Austin has also scored nearly 50 feature films, and his first major film score, for the Sundance Film Festival-winning film Captain Abu Raed, was shortlisted for the 2009 Academy Awards for Best Original Score by the LA Times. His next major film, Grace, was also a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Austin’s score (which featured a wild array of custom-recorded sounds such as babies crying and horse flies, in addition to a large ensemble of clarinets at London’s famed Abbey Road Studios), was also highly lauded, earning a notorious Fangoria Chainsaw Award nomination and being cited by “Visions in Sound” (a popular film scoring radio program) as among the Top 10 Scores for 2010. His most recent films are writer/director Adam Alleca’s Standoff, starring Thomas Jane and Laurence Fishburne, and Amin Matalqa’s The Rendezvous, starring Stana Katic.

Tim Davies

Tim Davies is one of the busiest conductors and orchestrators in Hollywood. His recent film and TV credits include Minions, Ant­ Man, Empire, The Peanuts Movie, Frozen, The Book of Life, and Edge of Tomorrow. He has conducted and orchestrated numerous video game scores, such as the God of War and Infamous series, The Last of Us, and both Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Knight. In 2015 he made his concert stage debut conducting Pokemon: Symphonic Evolutions with the Baltimore Symphony.

Davies is an active arranger as well. Recent highlights include arranging and playing drums for the twentieth anniversary concert of NAS’ Illmatic and being lead arranger for Kendrick Lamar’s recent performance of To Pimp a Butterfly, both featuring the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. He has arranged for albums by chart­-topping artists Amy Winehouse, Akon, Miguel, and Cee Lo Green. He plays drums and writes for his own group, the 18-­piece Tim Davies Big Band, and received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition in 2010.

Recently Davies has been in demand as a composer, working with two­-time Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla on the score to the Fox animated film The Book of Life. This was also the beginning of a partnership with producer/director Guillermo del Toro, which led to writing additional music for Crimson Peak and now scoring his new animated TV show, Trollhunters, produced by Dreamworks Animation for Netflix. The show will debut late 2016.

Leslie Ann Jones

Leslie Ann Jones has been a recording and mixing engineer for over 30 years. Starting her career at ABC Recording Studios in Los Angeles in 1975, she moved to Northern California in 1978 to accept a staff position with David Rubinson and Fred Catero at the legendary Automatt Recording Studios. There she worked with such artists as Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Holly Near, Angela Bofill, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Carlos Santana and Narada Michael Walden, and started her film score mixing career with "Apocalypse Now."

From 1987 to 1997 she was a staff engineer at Capitol Studios located in the historic Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood. She recorded projects with Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein, Michelle Shocked, BeBe & CeCe Winans, and Marcus Miller, as well as the scores for several feature films and television shows.

In February of 1997 she returned to Northern California to accept a position as Director of Music Recording and Scoring with Skywalker Sound, where she continues her engineering career recording and mixing music for records, films, video games, television, and commercials. And she now adds Record Producer to her list of credits.

In 2003, Jones was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording, Classical, and received a Grammy Award for The Kronos Quartet's recording of Berg: Lyric Suite, which won Best Chamber Music Album. In 2005 she received another Grammy Award for her work as engineer on Diane Reeves' "Good Night and Good Luck" CD and in 2011 she won a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Classical for Quincy Porter: Complete Viola Works by Eliesha Nelson & John McLaughlin Williams. In 2014 she was also nominated for Best Engineered Recording­ Non­-Classical for her work with Madeleine Peyroux as well as for Best Surround Sound Album.

Sarah Schachner

Sarah Schachner is a film and video game composer in Los Angeles, CA. Sarah has served as a composer for Assassin's Creed Unity and is now tackling the final frontier with the rest of Infinity Ward and composing the music for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

 

Wilbert Roget, II

Wilbert Roget, II is an award-winning composer for the film and videogame industries. In 2008 Wilbert joined the in-house music team at LucasArts, working as a composer for Star Wars: The Old Republic and music editor on the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed series, Monkey Island special edition remakes, and several other titles. In 2011 he had the honor of winning two Game Audio Network Guild awards for his contributions to the Star Wars: The Old Republic soundtrack. His final soundtrack as LucasArts' staff composer was the unreleased Star Wars: First Assault, a live orchestral score recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios.

As a freelance composer, Roget has scored Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris and Dead Island 2, with his music for these titles earning award nominations from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (D.I.C.E. Awards) as well as the Game Audio Network Guild. He is also a successful sample library developer, having founded Impact Soundworks and produced the Vocalisa: Slavic Women's Choir, Sitar Nation, and Impact: Steel sample libraries; now mainstays in the film and video game music composition world.

Jonathan Mayer

Jonathan Mayer (JD Mayer) is the Senior Music Manager at Sony Playstation Group and has been a visiting faculty member of the TAC program since 2015.  In addition to coaching students on various professional projects he also mixes and co-produces selected works of top achieving students. He has been producing, composing and performing music for the past 25 years.  For the past 11 years he has been a staff music producer and managed music production at Sony Playstation in the Bay Area.  During that time, he has produced over 50 hours of original music for more than 25 video games. 

In his role as Sr. Music Manager on one of the industry's most unique teams, Jonathan has had tremendous opportunity to provide music support and production to developers such as Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch, Sony Santa Monica, Insomniac Games, and many more. Jonathan's focus today is on leveraging his experience to refine the paradigm of music design and production for video games.

Matt Levine

Matt Levine is an accomplished composer and producer of music for games, film, television, and other pictured media. From the early days of multimedia, through the dot-com boom, and on to AAA video games, Levine has always advocated for scores that are rich in emotion, drama, and storytelling.  Levine has composed and produced music for a wide range of television, advertising, technology, and corporate clients, including MTV, Autodesk, Intel, Netscape, Sega, Nike, Namco, Hasbro, and Leap Frog. Levine produced and/or mastered over a dozen albums by recording artists such as Thomas Dolby, Liberty Ellman, Vijay Iyer, and E.W. Wainwright.

In 2005, Levine joined the Music Department at Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) and worked there for over a decade. During that time, he directly contributed to 37 titles published by SCEA. For a full list of credits, click here. As a senior member of an award-winning team, Levine defined aesthetic direction and technical requirements for the scores he produced. He has composed and remixed music for many games, including The Last of Us, Uncharted 3, and Infamous: First Light.

Jonathan Snipes

Jonathan Snipes is a composer and sound designer for Film and Theater living in Los Angeles. He is a member of the rap group clipping. on the Sub Pop Label.


 

Thomas Dolby

Thomas began his performing career beneath the streets of Paris, playing his synthesizer-based songs in the Metro subway. The advent of MTV brought him increased exposure: His well-produced and intelligent videos stood out from the pack, and his songs "She Blinded Me With Science" and "Hyperactive" became huge hits. Numerous awards and five Grammy nominations later, Thomas had achieved worldwide recognition as an artist. His two decades of innovations in the area of computer music and software have greatly impacted the sound of today's popular music.

While Thomas continued to pursue his own creative endeavors,he was also courted by the developers of synthesizers, audio software and computer games to help them improve the audio capabilities of their products. Noticing that existing audio software was linear, Thomas sought to create software that would make music and sound truly interactive. With the advent of the Web, he found the perfect media for interactive audio.

In the 1990s, Dolby re­created himself as a digital-­musical entrepreneur, founding Beatnik, which developed the polyphonic ringtone software used in more than half a billion cell phones. Today, the same passion and vision that first drew a teenage Thomas Robertson to music and technology is at the core of Beatnik.

Chance Thomas

Chance Thomas is a composer and producer of original music for video games, animation, films and television. Video game credits include Dota 2, Lord of the Rings Online, James Cameron's Avatar: The Game, Heroes of Might and Magic, King Kong, Dungeons and Dragons Online, X­-Men, Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire, and Cytus. Animated film projects include Columbia Picture's The ChubbChubbs!, which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, Lost Treasure Hunt which was nominated for two Emmy Awards, and InSpire: The Chicago Spire Art Film. Chance has also won 3 Aurora Awards for Best Original Music Score. Thomas' projects have won major awards, including the Oscar, Emmy, IGN, Telly, Aurora and several G.A.N.G. awards. He was honored in 2013 with the Game Audio Network Guild's Annual Recognition Award.

Gary Shyman

Gary Shyman is a composer whose work encompasses prime time television, mini-series and feature films, adding to a decades-long body of work that has seen him conduct orchestras at sound stages the world over from Hollywood to London’s Abbey Road as he has scored some of pop culture’s most iconic characters. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Garry Schyman began his scoring career in 1980’s as part of the composing team of renowned TV maestro Mike Post, contributing to such hit shows as “Magnum, P.I.” and “The A-Team” before becoming a prolific composer for such films as “Horseplayer,” “Spooky House” “Lost In Africa” and “Tornado!”. Schyman’s video game scores have brought him critical acclaim and industry recognition, including the Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, the Best Original Score from the Spike TV Games Awards for “BioShock” and Game Audio Network Guild awards for “BioShock,” as well as their nominations for “Destroy All Humans!”

David Earl

David is a composer, producer, author and educator. He has taught courses in Logic, Sound Design, Synthesis, and other music related subjects since 2000. From 2004 to 2007 he was Pyramind Studios’ lead composer and creative director but is perhaps best known for his online avatar, sflogicninja, with a following of over 28,000 subscribers and over 3 million views on YouTube. Since sflogicninja’s humble beginnings in 2006, he has become a globally recognized certified trainer and expert for all matters relating to Apple’s Logic Studio.

As a composer David’s compositions have been heard coming from televisions, computers, and other screens since 1996. He has written for advertising, television, independent movies, video games, and just about any other medium in need of music. He has contributed to a diverse range of projects by industry leading developers like Double Fine, Sega, LucasArts, Microsoft, THQ, Activision, and ImaginEngine, among others.