Composers roundtable panel: ‘Being the Ricardos,’ ‘Cyrano,’ ‘The French Dispatch,’ ‘The Lost Daughter,’ ‘Spirit Untamed’

When “Spirit Untamed” composer Amie Doherty was a kid, her mother used to write contemporary musicals for her local school, with lyrics that spoofs area politics or the news of the world. It’s where Doherty says she first got a taste for writing music that has carried her to a career as a composer and songwriter.

“She would come into my school, mortifyingly, and throw me in behind the piano and I’d have to play all the songs,” Doherty recalls in our “Meet the Experts” composers panel. “But more often than not everything went chaotically wrong on stage and the curtain would pull back and they’d be like play something, so I’d be live scoring this chaos on stage. I hated it back then but funnily, it taught me to think on my feet. So sometimes I think it all started there.”

Doherty is one of five top composers who appeared on our panel, including Oscar winner Alexandre Desplat (“The French Dispatch”), The National members and twin brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner (“Cyrano”), Dickon Hinchliffe (“The Lost Daughter”), and Oscar nominee Daniel Pemberton (“Being the Ricardos”).

SEE Gold Derby interviews with 2022 Oscar contenders

“I started making music in my bedroom. I got asked to do a TV show when I was still at school, a documentary, I didn’t know what I was doing,” Pemberton recalls of what got him into music. “I did a couple of those and then I took a year off from school because it felt like it was going okay. So I’m technically still on my year out. I was like, ‘Let’s see how this music career goes.’ The weirdest thing is occasionally I still have dreams where I’m suddenly told I have to go to university now and I’m like no, no, I’m doing music. It’s all great it’s all fine.” 

For Pemberton, and the panelists seemed to agree, being a composer is a joy — even including the days when it’s not. “Being a composer there are days when you’re like ah, this is a nightmare, it’s terrible, there are all these notes I don’t agree with,” Pemberton says. “But there are days when it’s so fantastic when I get to sit around and make music. Like I did something today and I’ve been grinning all day because making music is great. It’s great when it’s in the film and that’s the best film but even making it is one of those things I feel very lucky to be able to do.”

Watch the roundtable video above. Click on each person’s name above to watch an individual solo interview.

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