L.A. composer returns to Butler

==THIS STORY UPDATED OCT 24, 2012. The Wednesday BSO/Chorale rehearsal is now closed, due to miscommunication between JCA faculty and Clowes Memorial Hall==

When one thinks of the life of a Hollywood film composer—a life full of long hours, cut-throat competition and almost constant rejection—it is hard to imagine a composer who is not jaded or stingy.

Christopher Young, contrary to this image, is one of the most sincere people I have had the privilege of meeting.

This should in no way speak negatively of his presence or impact on the industry, however.

He has worked on a number of high-publicity films, recently scoring “The Rum Diary,” starring Johnny Depp, and “Priest.” He also composed music for “Spider Man 3.”

His film “Sinister” is currently playing in theaters. His hits through the years were the first two “Hellraiser” films and “Species,” which Young said changed his career overnight.

Michael Schelle, professor of music and composer-in-residence, calls Young one of the most original composers in the industry today. Schelle uses scenes from Young’s movies in his film music survey class.

Young is making his third visit to Butler University this week and his second visit in three years.

He will be working with music students—especially composers and members of the orchestra—as well as giving public presentations about his life and career.

If the presentations from his visit in 2010 are a basis for judgment, these are not to be missed. Young has a great sense of humor, and his candid anecdotes covering his studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, his work with the unique visions of directors and his method of producing a lot of music on a tight schedule give the audience valuable insight into this little-understood and vastly unappreciated art form.

Young is a great resource for any student interested in going into the film or television industry or even students looking to move to Los Angeles after graduation.

When I mentioned that I was considering film composition as a career path, his genuine willingness to help was heartwarming. He gave me his cell phone number and an invitation to call anytime with questions.

Schelle said this is one of the reasons he and Young became close friends. When Schelle met Young to interview him for his book “The Score,” Young shook Schelle’s hand and rattled off a long list of Schelle’s compositions.

Recognition is surely the fastest way to a composer’s heart.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” Schelle said.

Schelle then invited Young to work with students at Butler in 1999 and again two years ago.

Four of Schelle’s previous students have gone on to study film composition at the University of Southern California, and all four have apprenticed for Young in his studio.

The presentations are not the only events students and faculty can take advantage of this week.

There is a Butler Symphony Orchestra rehearsal Saturday, where Young will be working with members of the orchestra and chorale in preparing cues from his films.

Young’s five-day-long residency culminates in a BSO concert on Sunday, in which the orchestra and chorale will perform Young’s music, pieces by John Corigliano and George Crumb and premieres by Schelle and graduate student Kyle Wernke.

Students interested in music and life behind the silver screen or those who want to immerse themselves in spooky music before Halloween should take advantage of Young’s visit to Butler this week.


Lilly Hall 177 (tentative), 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Young discusses his career, life, experiences and compositional philosophies, and answers questions from the public.


Lilly Hall 120, 10 a.m. to noon


Lilly Hall 112, 10 a.m. to noon


Clowes Memorial Hall, 3 p.m.

Butler Symphony Orchestra and Butler Chorale present a number of pieces of Young’s film music from “Hellraiser,” “Priest,” “Creation” and others.


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