Bill Conti

Composer / Conductor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Bill Conti discusses his family's talent for music and his early start playing piano gigs. He talks of studying music at Louisiana State University on a bassoon scholarship, and then attending Juilliard to further his studies. He recalls his time in Rome, ghost-writing for composers and working in clubs, and then describes how he first got into composing for film. Conti details his work composing the score for the feature films "Bloom in Love" and "Rocky", and chronicles his long association as the conductor for The Academy Awards. He recounts the process of playing someone off when an acceptance speech goes long, and talks of playing off Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Julia Roberts. He then discusses his work composing for television, including creating the theme/main titles for Dynasty, Cagney & Lacey, and Falcon Crest. He explains the process of scoring the miniseries North and South, and offers advice to aspiring composers. Jon Burlingame conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on September 20, 2010.

"The secret is being effective... if you pick up your guitar and make me cry, I'm sorry; you're as good as it gets. If you can do that, if you know how to do that, if you can get better doing that, and if you can find someone that trusts you with his emotions in his movie - if it can make you cry, then you can work."

Highlights
Bill Conti on playing Julia Roberts off when her speech went long at The Academy Awards
02:52
Bill Conti on composing the theme for Earl Hamner, Jr.'s Falcon Crest 
06:59
Bill Conti on composing for the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" and creating the title song
03:44
Bill Conti on composing the main titles for Cagney & Lacey
02:28
Bill Conti on composing for "Rocky"
04:15
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his parents' talent for playing piano and his start playing piano; on attending Louisiana State University on a bassoon scholarship
10:54
On attending Juilliard; on wanting to write dramatic music; on moving to Rome; on becoming music supervisor on the film "Bloom in Love"
11:34
On returning to the U.S.; on ghost-writing for Italian composers; on recording sessions at Burbank Studios and scoring "Harry and Tonto" in 1974
08:40
On composing for "Rocky"; on being asked to conduct and be music director for The Academy Awards; on playing someone off when their acceptance speech goes long
26:32

Chapter 2

On being music director for The Academy Awards
07:19
On his work for television; on writing the theme/main title to an Esther and Richard Shapiro script called Oil, later known as Dynasty
10:24
On composing the theme for Earl Hamner, Jr.'s Falcon Crest; on differences between composing for film and television
06:59
On composing the main title theme to Cagney & Lacey; on the Dynasty spin-off, The Colbys
04:01
On writing music for news programs
05:35
On composing for sports programs and the New York City Marathon
05:54
On composing for producer David L. Wolper's miniseries North and South; on how composing for the second and third installments differed from the first
08:39
On themes he wrote for short-lived television shows and for television movies
05:58
On composing the title song for the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only"
03:57

Chapter 3

On winning an Oscar for scoring "The Right Stuff"; on scoring "The Karate Kid" movies
10:21
On his memories of television as a kid; on then-current projects (2010) and advice for composers
09:36
On his proudest career achievements, his biggest regret, and how he'd like to be remembered
04:36
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Bill Conti on being asked to conduct and be music director for The Academy Awards
07:33
Bill Conti on memorable collaborations during his time as music director for The Academy Awards
05:17
Bill Conti on the technical processes in place for conducting the orchestra at The Academy Awards
01:01
Bill Conti on his first time conducting the orchestra at The Academy Awards
01:34
Bill Conti on playing someone off when their acceptance speech goes long at The Academy Awards
02:48
Bill Conti on playing Cuba Gooding, Jr. off when his speech went long at The Academy Awards
00:51
Bill Conti on playing Julia Roberts off when her speech went long at The Academy Awards
02:52
Bill Conti on being music director for The Academy Awards
03:04
Bill Conti on the enormous viewership of The Academy Awards
01:23
Bill Conti on interacting with hosts of The Academy Awards
02:52

Cagney & Lacey

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Bill Conti on composing the main titles for Cagney & Lacey
00:43
Bill Conti on composing the main title theme to Cagney & Lacey
02:28

Dynasty

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Bill Conti on writing the theme/main title to an Esther and Richard Shapiro script called Oil, later known as Dynasty
07:51

Emerald Point, N.A.S.

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Bill Conti on composing for Emerald Point, NAS
00:18

Falcon Crest

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Bill Conti on composing the theme for Earl Hamner, Jr.'s Falcon Crest 
06:59

Merv Griffin Show, The

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Bill Conti on playing his themes on The Merv Griffin Show
01:07

Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story

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Bill Conti on composing for the TV movie Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story
02:03

North and South

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Bill Conti on composing for producer David L. Wolper's miniseries North and South; on how composing for the second and third installments differed from the first
08:39
Topics

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Bill Conti on playing Julia Roberts off when her speech went long at The Academy Awards
02:52

Pop Culture

View Topic
Bill Conti on writing the theme/main title to an Esther and Richard Shapiro script called Oil, later known as Dynasty
05:58
Bill Conti on the main title theme for Dynasty
01:53
Bill Conti on composing the theme for Earl Hamner, Jr.'s Falcon Crest 
05:07
Bill Conti on composing the main title theme to Cagney & Lacey
02:28
Bill Conti on composing for the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" and creating the title song
03:44

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
Bill Conti on writing the theme/main title to an Esther and Richard Shapiro script called Oil, later known as Dynasty
05:58
Bill Conti on the main title theme for Dynasty
01:53
Bill Conti on composing the theme for Earl Hamner, Jr.'s Falcon Crest 
05:07
Bill Conti on composing the main title theme to Cagney & Lacey
02:28
Bill Conti on composing for the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" and creating the title song
03:44

Technological Innovation

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Bill Conti on the technical processes in place for conducting the orchestra at The Academy Awards
01:01
Professions

Composer

View Profession
Bill Conti on wanting to write dramatic music
02:04
Bill Conti on differences between composing for film and television
01:02
Bill Conti on how composing for second and third installments of miniseries, (or for sequels) differs from composing for the first
01:33
Bill Conti on the best advice he ever received about composing
02:15
Bill Conti on advice to aspiring composers
01:31

Music Director

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Bill Conti on being asked to conduct and be music director for The Academy Awards
07:33

Music Professionals

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Bill Conti on wanting to write dramatic music
02:04
Bill Conti on being asked to conduct and be music director for The Academy Awards
07:33
Bill Conti on differences between composing for film and television
01:02
Bill Conti on how composing for second and third installments of miniseries, (or for sequels) differs from composing for the first
01:33
Bill Conti on the best advice he ever received about composing
02:15
Bill Conti on advice to aspiring composers
01:31
Genres

Awards Shows

View Genre
Bill Conti on the technical processes in place for conducting the orchestra at The Academy Awards
01:01
Bill Conti on being asked to conduct and be music director for The Academy Awards
07:33
Bill Conti on playing someone off when their acceptance speech goes long at The Academy Awards
02:48
Bill Conti on playing Julia Roberts off when her speech went long at The Academy Awards
02:52
Bill Conti on being music director for The Academy Awards
07:19

Drama Series

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Bill Conti on composing the theme and pilot music for Earl Hamner, Jr.'s Falcon Crest 
05:14

News and Documentary

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Bill Conti on writing music for ABC News and expected music cues
02:39
Bill Conti on what news programs should sound like
01:49
Bill Conti on contributing music to Nightline, Our World, and World News Tonight
01:07

Sports

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Bill Conti on composing for sports programs and the New York City Marathon
05:54
People

Gilbert Cates

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Bill Conti on working with producer Gil Cates on The Academy Awards
01:34

Billy Crystal

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Bill Conti on interacting with hosts of The Academy Awards
00:54

William Friedkin

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Bill Conti on meeting with producer William Friedkin about conducting The Academy Awards
01:27

Merv Griffin

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Bill Conti on playing his themes on The Merv Griffin Show
01:25

Earl Hamner, Jr.

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Bill Conti on composing the theme and pilot music for Earl Hamner, Jr.'s Falcon Crest   
05:14

Steve Martin

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Bill Conti on interacting with hosts of The Academy Awards
01:58

Pat Morita

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Bill Conti on composing the theme for Pat Morita's Ohara  
00:42

George Peppard

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Bill Conti on writing the theme to an Esther and Richard Shapiro script called Oil, later known as Dynasty
04:07

Julia Roberts

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Bill Conti on playing Julia Roberts off when her speech went long at The Academy Awards
02:52

Barney Rosenzweig

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Bill Conti on composing main titles for Cagney & Lacey
00:43
Bill Conti on composing the main title theme to Cagney & Lacey
02:28

Esther Shapiro

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Bill Conti on writing the theme to an Esther and Richard Shapiro script called Oil, later known as Dynasty
05:33

Richard Shapiro

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Bill Conti on writing the theme to an Esther and Richard Shapiro script called Oil, later known as Dynasty
05:33

Aaron Spelling

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Bill Conti on interacting with producer Aaron Spelling on Dynasty
00:25

Patrick Stewart

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Bill Conti on interacting with hosts of The Academy Awards
01:58

David L. Wolper

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Bill Conti on composing for producer David L. Wolper's miniseries North and South
08:39

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