Finally available on all download and streaming platform: my score to Aqsa Altaf’s beautifully reflective film The Long Farewell.
With no dialog and minimal sound effects, the film relies on music to create a profoundly poetic atmosphere. Written primarily for synthesizers with piano solos, the score sometimes blends with the director’s bigger-than-life shots of the luxurious surrounding landscape (thick forests, tall trees, wide rivers, big gray skies…). At other times, it reaches for the ethereal by opening up the emotional range to depict what is not directly seen on screen—the deep, everlasting bond between the two main characters.
The music was written freely, without a constant tempo or a bar structure to box the music in. Harmonies start softly and grow slowly, and eventually disappear back in the ether. Various textures and instruments are layered in over time to lead the story to its climatic point, and ultimately pull back to leave the audience reflecting about childhood, friendship, and the loss of innocence.
My score to Matt Cerini’s animated short film Dear Alice won Best Music at the Jelly FEST Film Festival as part of their FALL/WINTER 2019 selection. Thanks to Matt for having me on board and to musicians Patti Rudisill, Michelle Packman and Lara Somogyi for their beautiful performances.
My score to Matt Cerini’s animated short ‘Dear Alice’ is now available on all download and streaming platforms.
Directed by Matt Cerini at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Dear Alice is an animated short film that tells the story of Anthony, an unconfident artist, who must inspire a wide-eyed young girl, Alice, to see the beauty in her sketch before the bus they’re in reaches his stop.
The film, which was completed in 10 months time and included a team of 15 artists in production, deals with artistic growth through self-doubt and reassurance, thanks to a chance meeting with someone dealing with the same issue as yours. The director’s ultimate goal was to pull at the heartstrings of anyone watching, to make them shed a tear when the little girl felt completely abandoned, or crack a smile when she lit up as Anthony nodded for her to give it another try.
The score, written as a duet between solo violin (performed by Patti Rudisill) and solo cello (performed by Michelle Packman), plays on this newfound relationship where each character inspires the other. Both instruments are featured first by themselves, then start answering and supporting each other, to finally join together in a warm and uplifting ending. Harp (performed by Lara Somogyi), piano and strings provide the emotional backing.
My score to Amanda Sparso’s animated short ‘Yuanfen’ is now available on all download and streaming platforms.
Yuanfen, produced at the School of Visual Arts in New York, is a heartwarming tale of adoption as seen through a child’s eyes. Inspired by Amanda’s personal story, Yuanfen takes us through the beautiful and emotional journey of a young infant who will travel thousands of miles from her birthplace in China to her adoptive parents in the United States.
The film metaphorically depicts the caregiver who accompanies the baby girl along her journey as a comforting panda bear, musically represented by a solo cello performed by Michelle Packman. The baby girl’s journey is at first underscored by a dizi (traditional Chinese flute), which, as she eventually makes her way to the United States, turns into a concert flute; both instruments were performed by Gina Luciani. To provide additional warmth and musical support, the score also features harp solos performed by Lara Somogyi, along with piano solos and other various synthetic elements.
I'm very, very proud to have scored Aqsa Altaf’s beautiful, serene, magical short film The Long Farewell, which she shot in Peru under the mentorship of Werner Herzog. It's a really special story of childhood, innocence, and growing up, told in a very unique way. The film is now available on Vimeo, and you can watch it below.
I’m very excited to report that my soundtrack to Qi - The Documentary is now available on all major digital stores and streaming services!
From the liner notes:
“Dennis Ho’s 2018 documentary Qi demystifies the Chinese concept of energy known as qi (chi) by identifying its various properties and their empowering effects on human physiology. … As he was developing this film, Ho reconnected with composer Jerome Leroy, who had previously composed the music for the director’s debut, the award-winning fantasy/drama, A Better Place. “I think composers and I bond very well, maybe more so compared to other filmmakers because I have a degree in music composition and theory; so communicating musical ideas is certainly less challenging,” Ho explained. “On Qi, as with all collaborations, we had a number of back-and-forth discussions and, in the end, Jerome’s brilliance pulled together the perfect blend of eastern and western modalities to appeal to a global audience.”
To accommodate this musical balance, it was decided that the score should feature an instrumentation that was reminiscent of Asian cultures, yet could stand on its own as an accompaniment to a universal spiritual journey. … To that effect, Leroy chose to substitute traditional Chinese instruments with Western ones: instead of an erhu, he used a solo cello (performed by Tina Guo), and instead of bamboo and wood flutes, he used a set of concert flutes (bass, alto, and regular flutes, all performed by Gina Luciani). The mixture of Chinese musical flavors speaking through orchestral instruments familiar to western audiences supports Ho’s concept of portraying qi’s Chinese origins through a universal lens.
“An important element in the philosophy surrounding the concept of qi is the idea of a constant energy loop,” said Leroy. “I decided to represent this with various orchestral motors on three acoustic and processed pianos (which I performed myself), on harp (performed by Lara Somogyi), and other various percussive instruments.” Another element the composer wanted to underscore was qi’s raw potential for power, strength, and depth — when it is properly harnessed. For that, he used thunderous world percussions such as frame drums, dolhs, toms, taikos, and various bass drums. “Obviously,” Leroy explained, “the goal was for all these separate concepts (energy, power, healing, strength, etc.) to blend so they would sound and feel musically balanced and interconnected.”
Both Ho and Leroy wanted the score to offer a kind of spiritual journey in tune with the film’s portrayal of qi’s life-changing potential. “To musically connote this impression,” said Leroy, “the score ranges in style from simple, repetitive, quasi-minimalistic pieces to epic moments featuring solos, percussion, and synth beds, and various metallic percussive touches.” In so doing, the score tracks the varied benefits and real-life implications of learning to harness qi."
My score to Qi - The Documentary will be released on September 14th, 2018 on all digital stores and streaming services.
As a window into an intriguing world, and through in-depth interviews with well-known Qi masters such as Dr. Kam Yuen, Dr. Tatsuo Hirano, and Master Jonathan Tani, the film identifies the various properties of Qi and its effects on human physiology. Most importantly, “Qi” reveals the untapped power within our life force.
Featuring solos by world-class musicians Tina Guo (cello) and Gina Luciani (flute), the score relies on orchestral motors based on three acoustic and processed pianos, harp (performed by Lara Somogyi), and various percussive instruments. Power and depth are underscored by the use of thunderous world percussions such as frame drums, dolhs, toms, taikos, and other bass drums. Listen to the album now exclusively on my website.
The first few excerpts from the score are now available on my YouTube channel. I will be posting many more in the next few weeks—remember to subscribe to the channel to be reminded when the new excerpts are up!