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Scorefront:  Karl Preusser


Composer Karl Preusser

Composer Karl Preusser moved from studying guitar to composition at Berklee College.  He has composed a wide range of music from television commercials to feature films, to concert works.  His latest projects include DRAGONLANCE: DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT and AUDIE AND THE WOLF.

Official Website

The Quick Eight:

1. What was your first memory of music?

It would be tough to pin down. When I think about this, I think more about the important turning points in my early musical development. To name a few... hearing a friend play the Star Wars theme on the piano at a very young age and marching over to the neighbor's on my own for piano lessons, when I won 'student of the month' in music in grade school without trying or even taking it seriously... it made me stop and think, and of course... hearing KISS for the first time in second grade!

2. Who has had the greatest impact on your music?

There have been so many, but if I really had to pick just one... it would be Vincent Van Gogh. Obviously, not in a purely musical sense, but Van Gogh's extensive writings helped me to understand the artistic process. For example, if someone asks you to write a piece of music about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, there is a certain 'internal translation' that has to happen within a composer to go from the image of the sandwich to a piece of music that invokes it for others. Van Gogh's writings in conjunction with his paintings really helped me to find that process.

3. How did you come to work in the film / video game music industry?

I attended Berklee College of music in Boston. I initially went to Berklee as a guitar player and a performance major. In my second year, I developed a career ending case of tendonitis. Playing the guitar was starting to come up short for me artistically anyway and I was already heading in a composing direction as it was, so I jumped in with both feet and switched my major to film composing. Immediately after graduation, I packed up a U-Haul and headed for L.A.. The rest is history!

4. What film or game scores have had the greatest impact on you?

To name a few... STAR WARS, GLORY, anything by Elliot Goldenthal, KUN DUN, BAND OF BROTHERS, and countless others.

5. What is your current hardware / software configuration for composing?

First, let me say that I am a big believer in a pencil, a piano, and live musicians. All of my scores are first sketched out with just a piano. Now... having said that, there is no doubt that a film composer working today must come with an arsenal of all the bells and whistles. I use Digital Performer, GigaStudio Samplers, Melodyne, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, and Sibelius.

6. What other musical genres influence you?

I listen to a lot concert music and it is a major influence... Stravinsky, Bartok, Berg, Glass, and Beethoven to name a few. Also, in addition to my orchestral work, I do a lot of jazz writing, which I know works its way into my scores. Lastly... and oddly enough, I think that the classical influences of heavy metal, had a big impact on my formative years.

7. What is your personal motto or favorite quotation?

"It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense." - Han Solo

8. What would be your dream project?

I am a huge history buff, so anything coming from a historical perspective always gets my motor going. In particular, I would look forward to tackling a WWII epic!

Used by Permission


Music Review

Dragonlance:  Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Review by Christopher Coleman

Dragonlance:  Dragons of Autumn Twilight (Soundtrack) by Karl PreusserThe animated feature, DRAGONLANCE: DRAGONS OF AUTUMN'S TWILIGHT was certainly shy of the sort of resources that many animated features get today, including those made for television or direct-to-video projects. Unfortunately, the producers were unable to hide this fact and as a result DRAGONLANCE is going to be, for most adults, a very difficult thing to watch. While children, who simply love anything animated, may find this presentation entertaining, most will find ample opportunity to cringe: whether it be from awkward 3D animated characters, stilted writing, uncomfortable, American accented-characters (forgive the stereotype, but British or some European accent is a must for these types of productions), or the painful combination of the lot. These were some of the most difficult 90 minutes of viewing I have had in years. If I were a drinking man, this would have been a much more enjoyable experience playing a Lord of the Rings Reference Drinking Game while watching. All of that negativity spouted, one thing the producers did do right - they hired composer KARL PREUSSER to lay down the musical score. It was Preusser's surprisingly robust score that convinced me to give them film itself a shot. Sadly, not even the composer's dynamic score could lift this feature off the ground, but as a stand-alone experience, DRAGONLANCE proves to be a surprisingly entertaining listen.

Read the full review here



Scorefront Composers:

Penka Kouneva
Assaf Rinde
Stephen Harwood Jr.
Colin O'Malley
Duane Decker
Karl Preusser



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