Drew Schnurr

Drew Schnurr is a composer, sound artist, and performer blurring traditional lines in media and musical genre. His unique approach is informed by extensive and diverse experience as both composer and performer, as well as his modern expertise in sound design, music production, and audio technology.

An artist on the international stage, Drew explores and illuminates human experience through music and sound. Revered by his peers, industry professionals, and critics, his work has been called both “rare” and “remarkable.”

“This composer bends and stretches rules within his own aesthetic, weaving his musical ideas in harmonious waves that threaten to drown, yet gently tumble the listener forward with intrigue and anticipation.” -Adam Rosenthal review for Persee: Orchestrated Perception

BIO

Hyperventilations (2015)

for Piano with Four Hands

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Hyperventilations of a Fire Dragon harnesses music from my early career as a performer in latin bands, jazz ensembles, funk bands, and rock and metal bands. The underlying fervency of these influences is felt throughout the work, leveraged by the power and agility of the piano, driving the performance often to the edge of playability. This piece initiates a compositional renaissance, a drilling down into the musical cores of “fire” that constitute the music of my youth. It comes from the gut—quite literally, was breathed into life. The melodic and rhythmic motives are all derived from vocal inflections (and hyperventilations) improvised, recorded, transcribed and re-composed by the composer.

DREW SCHNURR (2015)

Premiered by Vicki Ray and Aaron Kallay — Hear Now Festival, Los Angeles, May 2015.
Video performance by pianists Kookhee Hong and Minji Noh.

Of Mother and Daughter Recording Session

OMAD_recordingsession

Of Mother and Daughter for soprano, violin, and harp recording session at Robert Irving’s studio in Los Angeles, August 13, 2013.

Guillaume Sutre (and his daughter), Drew Schnurr, Kyunghee Kim-Sutre, Jamie Chamberlin, and Richard Sparks.

7 AGES PREMIERE

providence7 AGES: Of Mother and Daughter premieres at Providence New Music Premieres in Providence, RI.

Performers:
Soprano – Blithe Walker
Violin – Alexey Shabalin
Harp – Hyunjung Choi

Program notes:

This collaboration with Richard Sparks comes to fruition just weeks before another life begins, that is the life of my first born child. I cannot help but wonder how this pending event worked in my subconscious while setting Richard’s text to music. However it may be, the music came, and in the best way for a composer where it feels like the ideas and words speak the music unto themselves. I’m so grateful to Richard for his artistry in creating such a beautiful text.

The important women in my life: my wife, my mother, step-mother, mothers-in law, and grandmothers all speak through this music which is dedicated them in honor of who they are as mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and all women of heart and substance. My love and gratitude goes to them as their influence undeniably resonates in this work.

DREW SCHNURR (2013)

PAUL CHIHARA INERVIEW: PART 4

Paul Chihara has had a long and distinguished career as a composer for film and concert stage. He is currently a Professor of Composition in the UCLA School of Music and Chair of the Visual Media Program. In this video interview I sit down with him to learn more about his life, garnish some advice, and to get his ideas about music in the 21st century. Recorded at UCLA on November 11, 2010.

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REVIEW: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) written and directed by Steven Spielberg is a classic film about first contact with a visiting alien race. The main character in the film, Roy Neary (played by Richard Dreyfuss), is an electrical line worker who after an alien encounter becomes obsessed with a series of mentally imprinted images and sounds. These images and sounds help guide him and other individuals to a secret location where a large delegation extraterrestrials will dramatically encounter the human race for the first time. First contact!

Music and sound play a very important role in the film. The music score is by the great John Williams. Close Encounters of the Third Kind was Williams’ second film with Spielberg (the first being Jaws in 1975), and became among the first of many collaborations between the composer and director. After their very successful creative collaboration on Jaws, Spielberg and Williams worked closely on the early creative development of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, during it’s conception. Elements of the music score were developed at the same time as the script and specifically integrated into the film’s structure, making them active story levers in the plot line.

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PAUL CHIHARA INERVIEW: PART 3

Paul Chihara has had a long and distinguished career as a composer for film and concert stage. He is currently a Professor of Composition in the UCLA School of Music and Chair of the Visual Media Program. In this video interview I sit down with him to learn more about his life, garnish some advice, and to get his ideas about music in the 21st century. Recorded at UCLA on November 11, 2010.

watch part 1
watch part 2
watch part 4

IN MEDAIS RES AT SCHOENBERG

IN MEDIAS RES for Clarinet, Cello, and Amplified Guitar was premiered at UCLA Schoenberg Auditorium on May 9, 2012.

Performers:
Bass Clarinet – Phil O’Connor
Cello – Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick
Amplified Guitar – Justin Smith

Program notes:
The composition in five movements, each one is inspired by a sculpture by the great artist Rodin. I love the movement in Rodin’s work. It may seem strange to describe statues as having “movement,” but I think it applies. Rodin’s works seem alive to me – reaching, breathing, groaning, and also in a state of suspended life. It is this feeling that inspires the music. It also inspires the title for the piece, which is a Latin expression meaning “…into the middle of things.” The phrase IN MEDIAS RES denotes a Greek literary technique where a dramatic tale is told starting not from the beginning, but rather from the middle or end of a story. This is just as Rodin’s statues seem to me. They are frozen in time, but alive in the midst of their own narratives.

This piece was a commission by clarinetist Phil O’Connor, and is dedicated to him with sincere gratitude for his friendship and inspiring musical collaboration.

May, 2012 by Drew Schnurr

REVIEW: APOCALYPSE NOW

Apocalypse Now (1979) directed by Francis Ford Coppola is considered by many one of the greatest films in history. It’s a story about a Vietnam War Captain (played by a young Martin Sheen) who is sent deep into Cambodia to assassinate an out of control renegade American Green Beret Colonel (played by Marlon Brando) who has taken over an indigenous native tribe and is reigning as a kind of cruel and murderous deity.

This film has a powerful and surrealistic feeling to it. And that is due in no small part to it’s sound and music score. It was revolutionary on a number of levels. It utilized the largest team of expert electronic synthesist-composers ever assembled for a film at that time. And the overall relationship between sound and music is something that is artfully blurred throughout the film. This is somewhat more common today, but was pretty revolutionary in 1979. The film pushed industry technical sound standards as well, being the first film commercially released and advertised with stereophonic rear sound channels. Most importantly, the unique conceptual intention by Coppola and his team to use music and sound to create obscured juxtapositions of powerful moods and places helps to make this film one of the best in history.

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CONFESSIONS U.S. PREMIERE

CONFESSIONS OF AN ECO-TERRORIST, an environmental documentary produced and directed by Peter Brown with music by Drew Schnurr, premiered in the U.S. on Hulu, iTunes, Amazon VOD, and Cable Video-On-Demand on Earth Day, April 22.

http://confessionsfilm.com/

PAUL CHIHARA INTERVIEW: PART 2

Paul Chihara has had a long and distinguished career as a composer for film and concert stage. He is currently a Professor of Composition in the UCLA School of Music and Chair of the Visual Media Program. In this video interview I sit down with him to learn more about his life, garnish some advice, and to get his ideas about music in the 21st century. Recorded at UCLA on November 11, 2010.

watch part 1
watch part 3
watch part 4

HYUNDAI INTERACTIVE

Hyundai premiered their new Sonata Hybrid at auto shows in Los Angeles and Detroit in November 2011 and January 2012. Drew Schnurr collaborated with visual design firm WILDLIFE to create the interactive “UI” presentation for Hyundai.

Music and sound design elements for interactive interface composed and produced by Drew Schnurr.

http://wildlife.la | http://www.hyundaiusa.com

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DALAI LAMA AWAKENING FILM RELEASE
Friday, February 17th, 2017

Documentary by award winning director Khashyar Darvich narrated by Harrison Ford with score by Drew Schnurr. DVD release July 2016. Digital iTunes release in February 2017.

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AFRICAN QUEENS
Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Opera project in development with African American soprano Karen Slack and Affrilachian poet Bianca Spriggs. Operatic aria Prayer to Oya premiere in Fall 2017.

sopranokarenslack.com
biancaspriggs.com

CHINA EXHIBITION PERFORMANCE
Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Planning underway for 2017 exhibition of Circumsolar, Migration 3, a collaboration by Drew Schnurr and visual artist Rebeca Mendez.

video @ rebecamendez.com

DREW@SCHNURR.COM 323.243.7653