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 Posted:   Feb 10, 2011 - 4:52 PM   
 By:   The REAL BJBien   (Member)

I was fortunate enough to be able to have a brief chat with James Peterson with regards to THE RED CANVAS.


1. How did you get into film scoring or music in general?

JP - Like most kids I started music in elementary school. My first instrument was the piano, then the clarinet, and then the trumpet which was the instrument that I stayed with and became serious about. I studied trumpet all the way through music school at UCLA.

My interest in film music started very early. My brother and I would watch re-runs of Planet of the Apes on TV and Goldsmith's music blew my mind. Star Wars, Close Encounters and Jaws played a big part in turning me on to film music too. I think it was my junior year in high school that I started thinking about composing and the possibility of scoring music for movies but didn't actually get serious about film composing until about age 25.

2. Growing up, what music in particular had an influence on you? What film scores?

JP - Contemporary Music: Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, The Police, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Nik Kershaw

Art Music: Bartok, Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, Hindemith, Harris, Copland, Barber, Britten and many others mostly from the 20th century.

Film Scores: Star Wars, Empire, Close Encounters, Jaws, Patton, Poltergeist, Basic Instinct, The Omen. My favorite period of film music is 1975 to 1990. But I also love Rozsa, Herrmann, Raksin, and North. I guess my film music bias is toward music and less toward sound design scores. An ideal score for me is one that serves the film at its deepest levels but also works as great music- something great to listen to away from the film.

3. A - How did THE RED CANVAS project come to you?

JP - Ken Chamitoff, the director, was a friend of my mine from college.

3. B - What were the first themes that you created?

JP - Johnny likes Extortion, (a theme that plays out in many different cues and settings throughout the film)-- Next was "A Great Fighter," "Death and Resurrection," (the slow theme) and then lastly "Ballet for Brawlers." (the last cue I wrote for the film incorporating many of its themes).

4. Your work on CANVAS is return to "Orchestral Score" and really came out of no where. It draws to mind the works of Rosza, Williams, and Barry. Was there a motivation to turn away from current "Media Ventures / Remote Control" sound of modern action cinema?

JP - I think the direction of the score reflects my bias toward the orchestra and away from sound design. This score was the "right" thing to do for this movie. Not every movie needs this type of score but Canvas did. Every film is different and needs its own unique approach.

5. What are currently working on?

I just finished the follow up to The Red Canvas, a film called Submission, starring Ving Rhames. I also just completed two short films and am about to start work on a feature length documentary.

You can learn about Mr. Peterson and his work at his official site -

If you haven't already bought it, THE RED CANVAS is available from SAE-


Thanks again to Andy my editor and to Mr. Peterson for being able to give some time. Enjoy and share your thoughts on the score to THE RED CANVAS!

 Posted:   Feb 11, 2011 - 2:48 AM   
 By:   The REAL BJBien   (Member)

I also recommend Stuart Hancock - UNDERGROUND (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) for another great orchestral plus electronic score for any one who wants more adrenaline-pumping heroic music.

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