Today, we’re excited to spotlight David Schwartz, whose recent projects include ‘Lady Dynamite.’
Composer David Schwartz attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Early on in his career, he mastered a wide range of musical genres by performing with such diverse acts as John Hall, Manhattan Transfer, the Boston Civic Symphony, the Glenn Miller Band, Howard Johnson, and John Sebastian.
In 1990, David began composing music for film and television. His first network television series, the multi Emmy award winning hit, Northern Exposure, earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition for its memorable theme song. The composer scored every episode of the show for its entire seven seasons.
Over the last two decades, he has scored numerous television themes and series, including Arrested Development, Chaos, Benched, The Inbetweeners, Sit Down Shut Up, Worst Week, Carpoolers, The Playboy Club, Outlaw Country, Deadwood (Emmy Nominated for Main Title Theme), Rules of Engagement, Runaway, Sex, Love & Secrets, Maximum Bob, Leap of Faith, Beggars & Choosers, Wolf Lake, The Ellen Show, Brimstone, Cold Feet, The Oblongs, Everything’s Relative, The John Larroquette Show, Beverly Hills 90210 and Murder in Small Town X, among others. His film and telefilm credits include Gonzo, Write & Wrong, Underfunded, You Stupid Man (Denise Richards, David Krumholtz, Milla Jovovich, William Baldwin), Magic in the Water, My Little Assassin, Deadman’s Revenge, and the VH-1 hit, Two Of Us, based on a fictional post-Beatles reunion of Lennon and McCartney.
David has the well-earned reputation for being able to deliver his unique brand of quirky, original music, while remaining true to the needs and demands of the projects he scores.
Biggest non-musical influences
Art, Film, Books, Tennis. My parents and sister were/are all visual artists and highly creative people. Growing up in a family of artists let me believe that I could pursue my musical dreams.
What do you do with your limited free time?
What is free time?
If you could travel to any period based on the music, when would you go?
Too hard to choose just one. To be in the middle of the riots when Stravinsky premiered the Right Of Spring. Bob Marley’s Jamaica. To be a fly on the wall at Abbey Road in the 60’s when the Beatles were turning out one masterpiece after another. Would have been awesome to play in Ellington’s band or take a bass lesson from Miles Davis bassist Paul Chambers/
Current Influences– Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstien, Ennio Morricone Thomas Newman, Nino Rota, Jon Brion.
Past Influences– Beatles, Aaron Copland, Beethoven, Aretha Franklin, Stravinsky, Marvin gay, The Band, David Berne
Outside influences– My Parents, My Wife Jody, My Kids, Rodger Federer, Kobe Bryant
Best scored movie you’ve ever seen?
Too many, here’s one- Shawshank Redemption
What is your least favorite instrument?
What’s your composing method? (a) sitting at a piano (b) computer (c) pencil on manuscript paper (d) improvisation with musicians (e) other
All of the above!
When did you discover that you wanted to pursue film music?
After scoring my first film “Skeeter’s Wings” (still unreleased!)
What makes your sound unique?
My sense of humor and my extreme fear of failure
How did you first get involved writing music? What challenged you most, and what rewarded you most, as your résumé evolved over the years?
I was asked to spec-compose a theme for Northern Exposure. My theme was chosen over many and the creators asked me to score the series. I had to learn on the job. I still love what happens when you put music to picture.
What do you do to get away from it all? What do you like doing outside of the studio?
Go to films with my family, Play bass, Bike, Tennis Run
Who is your favorite fictional character and how did they influence your music?
Horse Badorties , from the novel “The Fan Man”- He hated trumpets as the felt they were hideously out of tune. I got over it by hiring better trumpeters.
Best concert or musical appearance you’ve ever seen?
The LA Phil performing Slominsky’s Earbox by John Adams, Bill Evans at the Village Gate. Talking Heads at the Pantages. Blake Mills at the El Ray. Danny Elfman’s Nightnare Before Christmas at the Hollywood Bowl. Too many more!
Where is your favorite place to travel? Have these places ever influenced your work?
Paris and Kauai- The incredible and radically different beauty of each place restores my soul, resets my brain and inspires my creativity- also Corsica & Peru
What written work would you most like to compose music for?
Anything that is good!
What is your favorite song that you don’t want to admit to?
I’m not going to tell you.