Drew Schnurr

Drew Schnurr is a composer, sound artist, and performer from Los Angeles whose work blurs traditional lines in music, media, and sound.

As a composer for media, Drew has produced music and sonic branding for numerous world brands and media conglomerates. He is also an active concert composer and sound artist with a diverse range of international commissions and exhibits.

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



for Piano with Four Hands  [cat. sc26]


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.


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


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 2
watch part 3
watch part 4


Peter Brown’s CONFESSIONS OF AN ECO-TERRORIST with music by Drew Schnurr received premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Feb 2 receiving a special honors from the festival.



Dodge was a sponsor for the LA half marathon in the Fall of 2010. This video features their campaign highlighting local bands “Rocking Out” for the marathon runners. The spot includes interviews by Roger Craig, Jennifer Love Hewiit, James Remar, and Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles. Music composed by Drew Schnurr.


My friend Phil O’Connor asked me some months ago to compose a clarinet piece for him. I’m very excited to be writing this piece for Phil. The work in progress is a trio for bass clarinet, cello, and electric guitar. It is called IN MEDIAS RES.

The composition is inspired by five sculptures by Rodin. I have really been getting into Rodin lately. I love the movement in his work. It may seem strange for me to use the word movement to describe statues, but it think it applies. His statues seem alive to me – reaching, breathing, groaning…suspended in life. This idea inspired the title for the piece, which is a Latin expression meaning “…into the middle of things.” The phrase in medius 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.

Two movements are finished: Burghers of Claias and Danaid (see images). I hope to have the piece finished soon. The composition will be premiered this Summer in Los Angeles at the International Clarinet Associaltion’s ClarinetFest.



Last night I had the opportunity to attended a press preview of the Iannis Xenakis exhibit at MOCA Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood (thanks to my good friend Michael Webb). Xenakis is considered to be an important composer and architect. One of Xenakis’ calling cards was his design of the Philips Pavillion for the Brussels World Fair in 1958.

The innovative pavilion was the exhibit/performance space for a large scale electro-acoustic/new media piece by composer Edgar Varese called Poem Electronique. The exhibit also featured a recorded work by Xenakis. The performances featured a light show and image projections on the ceiling of the pavilion to accompany the audio recordings played from an array of speakers mounted on the ceiling. Cutting edge stuff, especially for 1958. But back to the MOCA exhibit…



6PM-10PM: ENERGY, group exhibition reception at the Williamson Gallery in Pasadena. The show includes Fall 2 and Grass 2 from AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT by Rebeca Mendez with music and sound composed by Drew Schnurr. The show runs from October 9, 2010 to January 9, 2011.

1700 Lida Street
Pasadena, CA 91103
ph 626.396.2200



“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

Imagination is the means by which we create the horizon of possibilities. When hardship is experienced in life, one requires hope and will to carry on. Avoiding the surrender of despair requires the ability to envision a better life emancipated from hardship. Creative imagination is what allows the oppressed individual to reactivate lost possibilities; to see and move towards a better future.

I recently learned of 20th century writer Paul Ricoeur. He wrote extensively on imagination. He placed particular emphasis on creative imagination in the arts and it’s importance to society. It is the creative arts that inspires individuals to think anew, and to be open to the possibility of broader horizons and progress. The creative artist, in creating his or her work, is leading by example; not in terms of values or ideas, but rather in terms of mental process and discovering new possibilities.

There are many problems in society today that need solutions. We are in desperate need of creative thinking. We need the ability to see beyond our hardships and to create productive hopeful horizons. This occurs by activating imagination. Beethoven imagined the Ninth Symphony. Einstein imagined relativity. DaVinci imagined the Mona Lisa. These great works had to be conceived in the mind before being born to the world. And that conception required the courage to imagine. In creating, artists teach a valuable lesson, and not just about the aesthetic value of creative culture and beauty. We are inspired by bearing witness to creative thinking. Artists teach us how to manifest possibility and richness in our own lives, by imagining it.


It has been over 2 years since my last blog entry. I’ve spent most of my energy over this time learning more about music and nurturing a new relationship in my life. It’s a happy and exciting time. I’ll be married in October. By that time I will have also completed over half of the requirements for my PhD in composition at UCLA.

In recent months I have been working with designer Matt Manos on a new website to be launched in October. I am excited about the new design, and about re-engaging my online activities.


Tonight I had a religious experience. No, I was not at church, or in a yoga class. I was at a sushi restaurant. Oomasa, a Little Tokyo restaurant in downtown LA, has a sushi chef who is a true artist. I have had toro sushi in many places (including Japan), and I have never experienced toro the way I experienced it at Oomasa. Tonight I kissed the divine.

As I bit down I closed my eyes, and had no option but to be swept away by the sensation: the texture, the melting in my mouth, and the indescribable flavor….leaving my lips and tongue paralyzed in bliss. I’m not exaggerating, it was truly blissful. I wanted to cry, and I almost did.

I’m not easily moved in this way. I fact I can probably count on two hands the total number of times I have been veritably disarmed in my life time. Feeling this tonight, I am reflecting on those times when I have felt closest to God’s perfection: hearing the english horn solo in the second movement of the Symphony from the New World, performing the last movement of the Pines of Rome, finishing a Tolkien novel, feeling my first kiss, being laid waste by the beauty and torment of love.

There are no words to describe these kind of experiences. They transcend language. How can you describe an experience that literally re-calibrates one’s conception of the potential for beauty; an experience that literally makes you want to sing, dance, cry, or just do all of the above? This is music. I don’t mean notes and rhythms either. I mean the essence of what we all know is out there, and inside somewhere. We can feel it. We can taste it. It makes us vibrate. It makes us alive.

I confess, sometimes I forget why I’m an artist. Tonight, a piece of sushi helped me remember.


Am I more if less?

Is self sacrifice the virtue of saints or just baneful folly? If I am nothing, what do I have to offer? A shell, I can only be the sum of what you fill in me. A shadow, I wane from desire in flat darkness. I linger, a steadfast companion, faithful and lifeless.

Are you more if less?

Is numbness better than feeling in the fire? If no blood is drawn, how do we know we are? Emptiness is safe from trial and joy. But if not trial, what of strength? And if not joy, what of life?

Happiness knows not the kiss of shadows.

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Friday, August 4th, 2017

Ascent of Weavers, a film by Rebeca Méndez with music by Drew Schnurr, featured at the 2019 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival.

info @ latinofilm.org/ascent-of-weavers

trailer and credits @ rebecamendezstudio.com


Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Judging films submitted for the 48 Hour Film Project in Dallas. Screenings on July 31 and August 1.


DREW@SCHNURR.COM 323.243.7653