Lee Holdridge

Composer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour-and-forty-minute interview, Lee Holdridge talks about his parents' influence on his career and moving to Boston at an early age to study music. He discusses his early paid composing jobs, doing arrangements for RCA records, being a dance arranger for Broadway shows, working with mentor Milt Okun and Placido Domingo, and his involvement with music education outreach at the LA Opera. He speaks in depth about his passion for opera and writing full-length operas, and on his writing process. He details his experience as a television composer at Universal Studios, where he scored episodes of McCloud, among other shows. Holdridge offers his thoughts on the craft of composing and talks about collaborations with directors and producers, working with temp tracks and orchestras, and how evolving technology has impacted his work. He describes making arrangements for John Denver and Neil Diamond, working on the films Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Tuskegee Airmen, and Splash, and on National Geographic specials, films for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Olympic films. He then discusses composing for the television shows Moonlighting, Beauty and the Beast, and One Life to Live. He shares his process for turning a music cue into a longer orchestral piece, "Elegy," his thoughts on his music being played at concerts, on conducting, on dream projects, and on how he'd like to be remembered. Richard Kaufman conducted the interview in a joint venture with the Film Music Foundation on June 6, 2019 in North Hollywood, CA.

"I care a lot about the players. I really do. I think they're incredible. I've worked in a lot of different countries and I'm flabbergasted by the professionalism and the ability by players around the world. It takes a lot to be a great player. It takes a lot of dedication. It's not always the most lucrative business to be in, but gosh, their hearts... They're in it. They're in it for life."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Lee Holdridge on creating the theme for Moonlighting
Lee Holdridge on writing music and winning two Emmys for his work on Beauty and the Beast
Lee Holdridge on composing for the soap opera One Life to Live
Lee Holdridge on how evolving technology has affected composing
Lee Holdridge on conducting
Lee Holdridge on working with studio musicians
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and influences; on being born in Haiti, then fleeing to the United States; on his early interest in music and wanting to study the violin; on music and films he enjoyed as a child; on his parents' support of his music; on his first experience with an orchestra; on studying music in Boston and early compositions; on his music teachers, including Henry Lasker; on learning about film music
On his first paid composing job; on doing arrangements at RCA records; on writing music for the group Seventh Century; on film composers he admired; on being a dance arranger for Broadway shows; on mentor Milt Okun and working with Placido Domingo; on his involvement with music education outreach at the LA Opera
On his passion for opera; on writing full-length operas; on differences between writing operas and writing for film; on his open-mindedness about types of music; on his process for writing music
On singers he listened to growing up; on learning about the rhythm section of an orchestra; on Stage 10 at Universal Studios; on his experience as a television composer at Universal Studios; on scoring episodes of McCloud and what he learned from his time at Universal

Chapter 2

On the role of an orchestrator and the role of a composer; on the most important skill a film composer must have; on working with producers and directors; on temp tracks; on differences between writing music for film and for television; on working on multiple projects at once
On the "Lee Holdridge sound"; on scoring episodes of Hec Ramsey; on classical composers who would have made good film scorers; on famous musicians he did arrangements for: John Denver and Neil Diamond
On how evolving technology has affected composing; on the 1970s being a pivotal decade in his career - scoring the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull and scoring television at Universal; on scoring the film The Tuskegee Airmen; on being very insecure; on performing his score for the film Splash
On scoring National Geographic specials and several other documentaries, including The Long Way Home and many other films for the Simon Wiesenthal Center; on scoring films about the Olympics; on working with Henry Mancini and Blake Edwards; on working with studio musicians; on the final cue of Jonathan Livingston Seagull; on a joke he once played on a viola player
On advice to aspiring film composers; on creating the theme for Moonlighting; on writing music and winning two Emmys for his work on Beauty and the Beast; on composing for the soap opera One Life to Live; on writing music for animated films
On turning a music cue into a longer orchestral piece, "Elegy," and his thoughts on his music being played at concerts; on conducting; on dream projects and what he'd still like to do; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Beauty and the Beast

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Lee Holdridge on writing music and winning two Emmys for his work on Beauty and the Beast

East of Eden

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Lee Holdridge on working on the TV miniseries East of Eden

Hec Ramsey

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Lee Holdridge on an experience on the music scoring stage for a Hec Ramsey TV movie
Lee Holdridge on scoring episodes of Hec Ramsey

McCloud

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Lee Holdridge on the first TV score he did at Universal Studios, for McCloud
Lee Holdridge on an experience scoring an episode of McCloud
Lee Holdridge on the tracking on an episode of McCloud

Moonlighting

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Lee Holdridge on creating the theme for Moonlighting

National Geographic Specials

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Lee Holdridge on scoring National Geographic specials

Olympics

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Lee Holdridge on scoring films about the Olympics

One Life to Live

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Lee Holdridge on composing for the soap opera One Life to Live
Topics

Advice

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Lee Holdridge on advice to aspiring film composers

First Big Break

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Lee Holdridge on a seminal career moment: his involvement in scoring the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Pivotal Career Moments

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Lee Holdridge on studying music in Boston and how it changed his life
Lee Holdridge on what he learned from his time at Universal
Lee Holdridge on a seminal career moment: his involvement in scoring the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Technological Innovation

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Lee Holdridge on how evolving technology has affected composing
Lee Holdridge on how technology has impacted his own music writing

Television Industry

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Lee Holdridge on advice to aspiring film composers
Professions

Composer

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Lee Holdridge on his process for writing music and who he writes for
Lee Holdridge on the role of an orchestrator vs. the role of a composer
Lee Holdridge on the most important skill a film composer must have
Lee Holdridge on working with temp tracks
Lee Holdridge on differences between writing music for film and for television
Lee Holdridge on working on multiple projects as once
Lee Holdridge on working with studio musicians
Lee Holdridge on believing creativity can not be taught

Music Professionals

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Lee Holdridge on his process for writing music and who he writes for
Lee Holdridge on the role of an orchestrator vs. the role of a composer
Lee Holdridge on the most important skill a film composer must have
Lee Holdridge on working with temp tracks
Lee Holdridge on differences between writing music for film and for television
Lee Holdridge on working on multiple projects as once
Lee Holdridge on working with studio musicians
Lee Holdridge on believing creativity can not be taught
Lee Holdridge on conducting
Genres

Daytime/Primetime Serials

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Lee Holdridge on composing for the soap opera One Life to Live

Drama Series

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Lee Holdridge on an experience scoring an episode of McCloud
Lee Holdridge on creating the theme for Moonlighting

News and Documentary

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Lee Holdridge on scoring National Geographic specials

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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Lee Holdridge on writing music and winning two Emmys for his work on Beauty and the Beast

Sports

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Lee Holdridge on scoring films about the Olympics

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Lee Holdridge on working on the TV miniseries East of Eden

Western Series

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Lee Holdridge on an experience on the music scoring stage for a Hec Ramsey TV movie
Lee Holdridge on scoring episodes of Hec Ramsey
People

Glenn Gordon Caron

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Lee Holdridge on creating the theme for Moonlighting

John Denver

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Lee Holdridge on doing arrangements for John Denver

Neil Diamond

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Lee Holdridge on doing arrangements for Neil Diamond
Lee Holdridge on listening to arrangements that he or others have done -- and loving a Randy Newman arrangement for Neil Diamond

Placido Domingo

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Lee Holdridge on working with Placido Domingo
Lee Holdridge on Placido Doming conducting one of his operas

Blake Edwards

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Lee Holdridge on being the only composer other than Henry Mancini to work with Blake Edwards (scoring the film Micki + Maude)

Jerry Goldsmith

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Lee Holdridge on admiring composer Jerry Goldsmith

Bud Greenspan

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Lee Holdridge on working with Bud Greenspan to score films about the Olympics

Al Jarreau

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Lee Holdridge on creating the theme for Moonlighting

Ron Koslow

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Lee Holdridge on working with Ron Koslow and George R.R. Martin on Beauty and the Beast

Glen A. Larson

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Lee Holdridge on an experience working with Glen Larson while scoring an episode of McCloud

Henry Lasker

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Lee Holdridge on his music teachers and mentors, including Henry Lasker

Henry Mancini

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Lee Holdridge on being the only composer other than Henry Mancini to work with Blake Edwards (scoring the film Micki + Maude)

George R.R. Martin

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Lee Holdridge on working with Ron Koslow and George R.R. Martin on Beauty and the Beast

Randy Newman

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Lee Holdridge on listening to arrangements that he or others have done -- and loving a Randy Newman arrangement for Neil Diamond

Milt Okun

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Lee Holdridge on mentor Milt Okun and Okun's accomplishments

John Williams

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Lee Holdridge on admiring composer John Williams

Bruce Willis

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Lee Holdridge on Bruce Willis getting hired on Moonlighting

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