Alf Clausen

Composer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Alf Clausen talks about his early interest in music, the instruments he played as a child, and watching his favorite show, American Bandstand. He describes moving to Los Angeles, where he started working as a copyist for various feature films and variety shows, including The Carol Burnett Show. He recounts his time as an arranger and later music director for Donny and Marie and The Mary Tyler Moore Comedy Hour. He recalls working as composer and music director for Moonlighting, where he worked closely with show creator Glenn Gordon Caron and supervised the music for such classic episodes as "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice" and "Atomic Shakespeare." Clausen briefly outlines his time on Alf, where he wrote the theme song and scored episodes. He speaks at length about his duties as music director and composer on The Simpsons, detailing his many contributions to the show, including writing several songs, scoring episodes, and producing several Simpsons albums. He concludes by discussing various aspects of the art of composing for television, and his 2007 Big Band album. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on November 25, 2014 in Canyon Country, CA and March 6, 2015 at FOX Studios in Los Angeles, CA.

"If you're looking for an easy 9 to 5 job, this is not for you. If you've got the burn for music composition, and when you get the burn there's hardly anything like it, it's the most fun you can have dressed. Go for it. Just go for it."

Highlights
Alf Clausen on Matt Groening's vision for the music for The Simpsons
01:30
Alf Clausen on composing music for Moonlighting
05:20
Alf Clausen on writing original songs for The Simpsons
03:30
Alf Clausen on working with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd on the Moonlighting  episode, "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
02:32
Alf Clausen on advice to an aspiring television composer
00:37
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on music he enjoyed in his youth and instruments he played; on enjoying watching American Bandstand as a kid; on his other hobbies; on deciding to study music
15:56
On moving to Los Angeles to find work as a musician; on finding work as a copyist for various variety shows; on the state of music on television when he started
05:21
On being a copyist for The Carol Burnett Show and various feature films; on working as an arranger on Donny & Marie
21:14
On being music director for The Mary Tyler Moore Comedy Hour; on working with Glenn Gordon Caron on Moonlighting; on composing the music for the Moonlighting  episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
15:33

Chapter 2

On composing and recording the music for the Moonlighting  episode, "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"; on composing and recording the music for the Moonlighting  episode, "Atomic Shakespeare"; on his duties as composer for Moonlighting
09:31
On the various styles of music he used while composing for Moonlighting; on composing "Maddie's Theme" for Moonlighting and for specific characters; on the amount of music he composed for each episode of Moonlighting and his duties as an orchestrator on the show; on the Moonlighting scoring reflecting the '80s and his favorite moments of working on the show 
10:45
On composing for ALF; on writing the theme song for ALF; on his approach to composing for ALF
10:51
On becoming involved with The Simpsons; on Matt Groening's vision for the music forThe Simpsons; on working with the different showrunners of The Simpsons; on Danny Elfman's theme song for The Simpsons and composing for the end credits
10:36
On his duties as composer for The Simpsons; o n scoring the parody episodes of The Simpsons; on the quick turnaround time for scoring The Simpsons
10:53
On keeping the music for The Simpsons  fresh and the challenges of scoring the show; on writing original songs for The Simpsons
06:42

Chapter 3

On his process for creating the songs for The Simpsons; on working with the musical guest stars on The Simpsons; on his favorite songs from The Simpsons; on working with his sons on The Simpsons
11:08
On the process of recording music for The Simpsons; on the use of a full orchestra, the instruments used, and conducting the music on The Simpsons
09:46
On composing various songs for The Simpsons; on his favorite episodes of The Simpsons and winning the Emmy for the show; on being involved with several record albums based on The Simpsons; on the notion of retiring from The Simpsons
10:51
On the challenges of underscoring a scene with dialogue; on doing research for a music composition; on where he composes and his process for composing; on how the advent of digital music affected his work
16:07
On the role of music in a television production; on the business aspect of composing for television; on his style; on career highlights, regrets, and advice to aspiring television composers
10:11

Chapter 4

On the process of tweaking a score for The Simpsons; on producing The Simpsons albums; on his 2007 Big Band album
10:01
Shows

ALF

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Alf Clausen on composing for ALF
03:25
Alf Clausen on writing the theme song for ALF
03:42
Alf Clausen on his approach to composing for ALF
03:44

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78)

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Alf Clausen on being a copyist for The Carol Burnett Show and various feature films
04:55

Critic, The

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Alf Clausen on composing music for The Critic
01:30

Donny & Marie

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Alf Clausen on working as an arranger on Donny & Marie
06:42
Alf Clausen on his responsibilities as music director on Donny & Marie
04:31
Alf Clausen on leaving Donny & Marie due to the relocation of the show to Utah
05:06

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Alf Clausen on winning Emmys for his involvement in The Simpsons
00:26

Mary Tyler Moore Comedy Hour

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Alf Clausen on being music director for The Mary Tyler Moore Comedy Hour
06:33

Moonlighting

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Alf Clausen on composing music for Moonlighting
05:20
Alf Clausen on working with show creator Glenn Gordon Caron on Moonlighting
01:44
Alf Clausen on composing the music for the Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
01:58
Alf Clausen on composing and recording the music for the Moonlighting episode, "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
02:47
Alf Clausen on working with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd on the Moonlighting  episode, "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
02:32
Alf Clausen on composing and recording the music for the Moonlighting  episode, "Atomic Shakespeare"
01:41
Alf Clausen on his duties as composer for Moonlighting
02:31
Alf Clausen on the various styles of music he used while composing for Moonlighting
01:44
Alf Clausen on composing "Maddie's Theme" for Moonlighting and composing for specific characters
02:41
Alf Clausen on the amount of music he composed for each episode of Moonlighting and his duties as an orchestrator on the show
01:41
Alf Clausen on the Moonlighting scoring reflecting the '80s and his favorite moments of working on the show including working with Ray Charles 
04:39

Moonlighting: "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"

View Show Page
Alf Clausen on composing the music for the Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
01:58
Alf Clausen on working with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd on the Moonlighting  episode, "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
02:32

Simpsons, The

View Show Page
Alf Clausen on becoming involved with The Simpsons
05:05
Alf Clausen on Matt Groening's vision for the music forThe Simpsons
01:30
Alf Clausen on working with the different showrunners of The Simpsons
01:23
Alf Clausen on Danny Elfman's theme song for The Simpsons and composing for the end credits
02:38
Alf Clausen on his duties as composer for The Simpsons
05:47
Alf Clausen on scoring the parody episodes of The Simpsons
02:28
Alf Clausen on the quick turnaround time for scoring The Simpsons
02:38
Alf Clausen on keeping the music for The Simpsons fresh and the challenges of scoring the show
03:11
Alf Clausen on writing original songs for The Simpsons
03:30
Alf Clausen on his process creating the songs for The Simpsons
04:30
Alf Clausen on working with the musical guest stars on The Simpsons
02:14
Alf Clausen on his favorite songs from The Simpsons
01:45
Alf Clausen on working with his sons on The Simpsons
02:39
Alf Clausen on the process of recording music for The Simpsons
06:12
Alf Clausen on the use of a full orchestra, the instruments used, and conducting the music on The Simpsons
03:34
Alf Clausen on the song "We Put the Spring in Springfield" from The Simpsons episode "Bart After Dark"
02:05
Alf Clausen on the song "You're Checking In" from The Simpsons episode "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson"
01:55
Alf Clausen on the 500th episode of The Simpsons and favorite episodes of the show
01:47
Alf Clausen on winning Emmys for his involvement in The Simpsons
00:26
Alf Clausen on being involved with several record albums based on The Simpsons
02:51
Alf Clausen on the notion of retiring from The Simpsons
01:20
Alf Clausen on attending the cast recordings for The Simpsons
01:02
Alf Clausen on how the advent of digital music affected his work on The Simpsons
04:05
Alf Clausen on his proudest career highlights including "The Simpsons Take the Bowl"
02:01
Alf Clausen on career regrets 
00:55
Alf Clausen on the process of tweaking a score for The Simpsons
04:23
Alf Clausen on producing The Simpsons albums 
03:37
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Alf Clausen on advice to an aspiring television composer
00:37

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Alf Clausen on winning Emmys for his involvement in The Simpsons
00:26

First Big Break

View Topic
Alf Clausen on being a copyist for The Carol Burnett Show  and various feature films
04:55

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Alf Clausen on being a copyist for The Carol Burnett Show  and various feature films
04:55

Pop Culture

View Topic
Alf Clausen on Danny Elfman's theme song for The Simpsons and composing for the end credits
02:38
Alf Clausen on writing the theme song for ALF
03:42

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
Alf Clausen on Danny Elfman's theme song for The Simpsons and composing for the end credits
02:38
Alf Clausen on writing the theme song for ALF
03:42

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Alf Clausen on how the advent of digital music affected his work on The Simpsons
04:05

Television Industry

View Topic
Alf Clausen on advice to an aspiring television composer
00:37
Professions

Composer

View Profession
Alf Clausen on the challenges of underscoring a scene with dialogue 
03:32
Alf Clausen on doing research for a music composition 
00:55
Alf Clausen on where he composes and his process for composing
05:05
Alf Clausen on the role of music in a television production and the most important thing to remember when composing a theme song for a television show
03:01
Alf Clausen on the business aspect of composing for television 
01:47
Alf Clausen on his favorite types of music and composers and his own style
01:27
Alf Clausen on advice to an aspiring television composer
00:37

Music Professionals

View Profession
Alf Clausen on the challenges of underscoring a scene with dialogue 
03:32
Alf Clausen on doing research for a music composition 
00:55
Alf Clausen on where he composes and his process for composing
05:05
Alf Clausen on the role of music in a television production and the most important thing to remember when composing a theme song for a television show
03:01
Alf Clausen on the business aspect of composing for television 
01:47
Alf Clausen on his favorite types of music and composers and his own style
01:27
Alf Clausen on advice to an aspiring television composer
00:37
Genres

Animation

View Genre
Alf Clausen on composing music and recording for The Simpsons (Part 1)
28:11
Alf Clausen on composing and recording for The Simpsons (Part 2)
31:45
Alf Clausen on composing and recording music for The Simpsons (Part 3)
08:00

Comedy Series

View Genre
Alf Clausen on composing for ALF
10:51
Alf Clausen on composing music and recording for The Simpsons (Part 1)
28:11
Alf Clausen on composing and recording for The Simpsons  (Part 2)
31:45
Alf Clausen on composing and recording music for The Simpsons (Part 3)
08:00

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Alf Clausen on scoring Moonlighting  (Part 1)
03:42
Alf Clausen on composing the score and recording the music for Moonlighting (Part 2)
20:16

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Alf Clausen on being a copyist for The Carol Burnett Show  and various feature films
04:55
Alf Clausen on working as an arranger and music director on Donny & Marie
16:19
Alf Clausen on being music director for The Mary Tyler Moore Comedy Hour
06:33
People

Glenn Gordon Caron

View Interview Page
Alf Clausen on working with show creator Glenn Gordon Caron on Moonlighting
01:44

Ray Charles

View Person Page
Alf Clausen on the Moonlighting scoring reflecting the '80s and his favorite moments of working on the show including working with Ray Charles 
04:39

Matt Groening

View Person Page
Alf Clausen on Matt Groening's vision for the music for The Simpsons
01:30

Mary Tyler Moore

View Interview Page
Alf Clausen on being music director for The Mary Tyler Moore Comedy Hour
06:33

Cybill Shepherd

View Person Page
Alf Clausen on working with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd on the Moonlighting  episode, "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
02:32

Bruce Willis

View Person Page
Alf Clausen on working with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd on the Moonlighting  episode, "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
02:32

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