Tag: Garth Neustadter

Lawrence grad discusses film score at Wisconsin premiere of “Pilot Error”

Emmy Award-winning composer and 2010 Lawrence University graduate Garth Neustadter discusses his work on the feature film “Pilot Error” when it makes its Wisconsin premiere Monday, March 2 at Marcus’ Appleton East Cinema.

Pilot-Error-Photo_newsblogThe movie also will be shown Wednesday, March 4 at the Green Bay East Cinema and Thursday, March 5 at the Oshkosh Cinema. The film will be shown at all three theaters at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Neustadter, a Manitowoc native now living in Pasadena, Calif., wrote the film’s score. Prior to all six screenings, he will lead an audience talkback related to the music in the film, including how composers collaborate with directors and how composers can enhance a film.

Following each screening, talkbacks also will be held with the film’s producer/screenwriter Roger Rapoport and veteran airline training pilot and accident investigator Robert Hesselbein of Madison.

Set in Wisconsin and filmed in part in Milwaukee and Appleton, the film was inspired by true events, most notably the 2009 Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris that mysteriously disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean, killing more than 200 passengers and crew onboard.

The film explores many of the same questions raised following two other more recent air disasters:  the loss of Malaysia Air 370 in March 2014 and the Air Asia crash in the Java Sea last December.

Tom Boldt, is CEO of The Boldt Company based in Appleton, served as the film’s executive producer and recommended Neustadter to Rapoport.

“He’s off the charts as far as we’re concerned,” Rapoport said of Neustadter. “He’s a special composer.”

“Pilot Error” is the 10th film Neustadter has scored. He began working on it last August, and unlike some film projects that have deadlines as tight as two weeks, he had the luxury of a little more than two months to write approximately 60 minutes of music for this film. His score was performed and recorded live by Los Angeles studio musicians.

“I was extremely pleased with how the score turned out,” said Neustadter, who won a 2011 Emmy Award at the age of 25 for his film score for “John Muir in the New World,” a PBS American Masters documentary. “Having live musicians for the recording process was really important to the producer and the director. They (live musicians) definitely breathed a certain life into the score that you need for a film like this that you can’t get with synthesized instruments.”

Neustadter said one of the things that made his job on “Pilot Error” easier was that from the start, everyone involved with the project, from the director to the editor, was on the same page regarding the score.

“That’s not always the case,” said Neustadter, whose credits include scores for 2013 documentary “The Thingmaker” and the 2012 James Franco-Mila Kunis-Jessica Chastain feature “Tar,” as well as films from China and India, Progressive Insurance ads and an American Express commercial that debuted during Sunday’s (2/22) Academy Awards telecast. “As a composer, my goal is to realize what the director wants the music to be and can that align with what I envision the music to be. That was definitely the case with this film. We knew we wanted a larger orchestra score that could bring out the drama in the film but in a way that never became melodramatic or overplayed things too much.”

Garth-Neustadter_newsblog2015
Garth Neustadter ’10

While a student at Lawrence, Neustadter earned first-prize honors (second place behind the grand prize winner) in the 2007 Young Film Composers Competition sponsored by Turner Classic Movies. A year later, TCM commissioned him to write an original score for a restored version of the 1923 silent film “The White Sister.

The film’s other Wisconsin connection includes well-known Milwaukee Repertory Theater actress Deborah Staples.

Award-winning stage actress Kate Thomsen makes her screen debut as Nicola Wilson, an investigative reporter trying to find out why a jet headed from South America to Paris disappeared in the Atlantic, taking her close friend and 211 other passengers with it.

As she searches for answers as to how a plane can just disappear, Wilson puts her job, friends and career on the line. Even though she knows nothing about aviation, refuses to fly and doesn’t speak French, Wilson uncovers astonishing details about the missing flight. Was it preventable? Has it happened before? Could it happen again? Was it pilot error?

According to Rapoport, the goal of the movie is to “encourage more hands-on flying and simulator training for airline pilots at a time when the industry is increasingly focused on automation. At the screening we’ll be announcing some very good news about a major advance in weather forecasting technology that will benefit pilots everywhere.”

“Pilot Error” is based on five years of research and interviews with more than 200 pilots, airline executives, plane manufacturers, regulatory agencies and the team that found the missing Air France 447 in the Atlantic. The film provides an inside look at the fate of pilots unfortunately kept in the dark about failed automation.

“Top airline training pilots speaking at our preview events have been warmly received by audiences trying to understand how, in the most interconnected moment in human history, it’s never been easier to hide the truth,” said Rapoport, whose first film, “Waterwalk,” also was shot in Wisconsin.

Watch a trailer for the film.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

“And the Emmy Award goes to…Garth Neustadter ’10!”

UPDATE: Garth Neustadter ’10 talked to Lawrence this afternoon about what it was like to hear his name called at the Emmy Awards, and also how Lawrence prepared him for a career in scoring films.

*****     *****     *****

Garth Neustadter’s young career has already earned its share of accolades, but none bigger than the 2010-11 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award he received Saturday (9/10) at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

Garth Neustadter ’10

The 2010 Lawrence graduate was honored in the Outstanding Music Composition for a Series category for his original score used in the American Masters documentary “John Muir in the New World,” which was written, directed and produced by Catherine Tatge, a 1972 Lawrence graduate.  The film, which chronicles the life and legacy of naturalist, author and scientist John Muir, was broadcast last spring by PBS on Earth Day.

Neustadter, 25, who earned a degree with majors in violin and voice performance, wrote the score while still a student. The music was performed by students in the Lawrence Conservatory of Music.

“Of  course I was shocked when I heard my name called and it took a few seconds for it to sink in,” Neustadter said from Los Angeles. “Then I realized I only had a limited amount of time to go up to the stage, accept the award and make a short speech. They only give you 45 seconds from the time they announced the award, so you have to think fast and hurry up to the stage. Everything was kind of a blur, I couldn’t think very clearly.”

In addition to thanking the Lawrence musicians who performed the score, Neustadter said he thanked people he worked with at PBS and Global Media Village, which is Tatge’s production company.

“I also mentioned John Muir because I thought it was important to recognize the legacy that he has left,” he said.

Neustadter’s parents joined him for the ceremony. He was seated at a table that included Rickey Minor, musical director of   the band for “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Minor also was an Emmy nominee (he didn’t win).

“I had a great time talking to him,” Neustadter said of Minor. “He was very nice and offered his congratulations.”

Garth Neustadter at the 2010-11 Emmy Awards ceremony

He said he was surprised by how heavy the Emmy Award actually is. He’s planning on taking it back to Yale University with him, where he is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in music composition.  Assuming he can get it by TSA officials.

“I have to make sure I can bring it back on the airplane,” he explained. “It comes with two very sharp and pointy wings and I guess it could be perceived as a weapon by the security folks. I have to figure that out yet.”

In addition to his course work at Yale, Neustadter is currently working on a score for a silent film for Turner Classic Movies and Warner Brothers, 1925’s “The Circle,” which featured legendary actress Joan Crawford’s film debut. He plans to have the score completed by next January.

“It’s just been a really amazing experience. It was such an honor to be included among the other composers who were nominated. They’ve all been in the business so long. The win is definitely the icing on the cake for me.”

The Emmy Award is just the latest accolade in a growing list of accomplishments for the Manitowoc native. He earned first-prize honors (second place behind the grand prize winner) in the 2007 Young Film Composers Competition sponsored by Turner Classic Movies. A year later he was commissioned by TCM to write an original score for a restored version of the 1923 silent film “The White Sister.” In April 2010, he was named one of 37 national winners of the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards for his 15-minute composition written for full orchestra and choir based on a Spanish text entitled “Oh llama de amor viva.”

Earlier this year, Neustadter was recognized with his fifth Downbeat award in the magazine’s annual student music competition for a five-minute arrangement of the 1946 Walter Gross jazz classic “Tenderly” he wrote for studio orchestra and vocalist in 2010.

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,520 students from 44 states and 56 countries.

Read more about Garth’s award in his hometown paper.

Emmy Award Nomination Latest Triumph for Lawrence University Grad Garth Neustadter

The budding film composing career of Lawrence University graduate Garth Neustadter received a major boost Thursday (7/14) when the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced its 63rd annual Primetime Emmy nominations.

Neustadter was among five nominees for original dramatic score in the Outstanding Music Composition category for his work on the American Masters documentary “John Muir in The New World,” which aired on PBS in April. Neustadter’s score was performed by Lawrence Conservatory of Music students.

Brian Pertl ’86, dean of the conservatory, said this is a proud moment.   (Click on the arrow to listen.)

Unlike all of the other Emmy Award categories, in which the production company submits materials for the Academy’s consideration, the composition category requires the composer to submit the proper materials.

“I felt that it would be good experience to go through process of submitting, but I never expected these results,” said Neustadter, who earned a bachelor of music degree summa cum laude in violin and voice performance from Lawrence in 2010. He currently is pursuing graduate studies in music composition at Yale University.

The Emmy nominations are typically revealed in a live television broadcast at 5:30 a.m. Pacific time and also posted on the official Emmy Awards website. Neustadter was attending a film scoring session in Aspen, Colo., at the time and had to improvise.

“I didn’t have regular internet access, so I drove 10 miles to find WiFi access to read about the results,” he said. “It was a surreal experience to see my name. I am incredibly honored and humbled to be in the company of the veteran and talented composers in this category. I’m excited to meet the other nominees, including composer Alf Clausen of ‘The Simpsons,’ who has earned 30 nominations in his career.”

The 2011 documentary on the life and legacy of naturalist, author and scientist John Muir was written, produced and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Catherine Tatge, a 1972 Lawrence graduate. During the filmmaking process, Tatge turned to her alma mater, reaching out to Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory, for a student to possibly write the film’s score. Pertl recommended Neustadter.

“Writing the score for the John Muir documentary has been an incredible opportunity and learning experience,” said Neustadter, a native of Manitowoc. “I am grateful to everyone involved in the project.”

Kimberly Clark Professor of Music Fred Sturm, who served as Neustadter’s faculty composition mentor as a Lawrence student, said he was elated but not surprised at his protege’s latest triumph.

“I’ve admired Garth’s music for several years now and I know the effort and artistry he dedicates to his work. I’m also familiar with the composing of each of his fellow nominees and though it may seem a stretch for a college graduate student to be included in that elite group, Garth absolutely deserves to be there. I won’t be surprised if he takes home the gold on this one.”

The Emmy nomination is the latest in an ever-growing list of accomplishments for Neustadter. He earned first-prize honors (second place behind the grand prize winner) in the 2007 Young Film Composers Competition sponsored by Turner Classic Movies. A year later he was commissioned by TCM to write an original score for a restored version of the 1923 silent film “The White Sister.” In April 2010, he was named one of 37 national winners of the 2010 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award for his 15-minute composition written for full orchestra and choir based on a Spanish text entitled “Oh llama de amor viva.”

This past April, Neustadter earned his fifth Downbeat award in the magazine’s annual student music competition for a five-minute arrangement of the 1946 Walter Gross jazz classic “Tenderly” he wrote for studio orchestra and vocalist in 2010.

The Emmy awards will be broadcast live on Fox Sunday, Sept. 18 from Los Angeles with actress Jane Lynch of “Glee” as host.

The soundtrack can be bought at KKs Store.

Garth Neustadter Shares National Young Composer Award

For someone who is not a composition major, Lawrence University senior Garth Neustadter keeps drawing attention for his scoring talents.

Neustadter added to a growing list of honors by being named one of 37 national winners of the 2010 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.

Established in 1979, the program grants cash prizes to young concert music composers up to 30 years of age whose works are selected through a juried national competition.   This year’s competition attracted 730 submissions.

Neustadter submitted a 15-minute composition written for full orchestra and choir based on a Spanish text entitled “Oh llama de amor viva.”

“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized with this award,” said Neustadter, a violin and voice performance major from Manitowoc.  “In addition to the score, the judges were particularly impressed with the recording, which featured members of the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra and Concert Choir.  That serves as a testament to the high level of music-making going on in the Lawrence community.”

Neustadter and the other winning composers will be recognized at the annual ASCAP Concert Music Awards at The Times Center in New York on May 27.

The award is named in honor of Morton Gould, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who served as president of ASCAP and the ASCAP Foundation from 1986-1994.  An eminent and versatile American composer, Gould was a child prodigy whose first composition was published when he was only six years old.  To honor Gould’s lifelong commitment to encouraging young creators, the annual ASCAP Foundation Young Composer program was dedicated to his memory following his death in 1996.

This is just the latest triumph for Neustadter.  In 2007, he earned first-prize honors (second place behind the grand prize winner) in the Young Film Composers Competition sponsored by Turner Classic Movies.  In 2008, he was commissioned by TCM to write an original score for a restored version of the 1923 silent film “The White Sister.”  He also earned four Downbeat Awards, including two for composition, while in high school.

He is currently writing a score for a documentary on the life of John Muir for Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and 1972 Lawrence graduate Catherine Tatge.  The film is scheduled to air on the National Public Television series “American Masters” in April 2011.

“Garth never ceases to amaze us with his stunning array of accomplishments,” said Fred Sturm, Neustadter’s faculty composition mentor and honors project advisor.  “The national recognition he’s garnered with the awards he has won as a composer sometimes veils the fact that Garth is an equally talented violinist, saxophonist and singer. And despite all of the accolades he has earned, he remains a respectful, humble and solidly grounded individual. We’re enormously proud of him.”

Neustadter will share in a $45,000 prize fund with the other Gould winners and receive music notation and production software from Sibelius Music, the competition’s sponsor.