Anthony Plog on Music

Conversations with performers, composers, and entrepreneurs

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David Newman, Hollywood Film Composer and Conductor

Anthony Plog, host
Eddie Ludema, producer

Date posted: Dec 18, 2020

Hollywood film composer David Newman has written music for over 100 feature films, including movies as wide-ranging as Throw Momma from the Train, War of the Roses, American Beauty, Hoffa, and Ice Age. In addition, he has conducted major orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic in concerts featuring a presentation of films such as Star Wars and West Side Story. He began his career as a violinist, and later switched to composing and conducting. His father was the legendary Hollywood composer Alfred Newman.

Part 1

In Part 1 of our conversation, David tells how he went from being a violinist to a film composer and how that transition took place. He also describes his father, Alfred Newman, and how music was originally introduced into films. And finally, at the end of our conversation, we discuss recording sessions for three films: Throw Momma from the Train, Breaking Away, and Star Trek I.

Part 2

David speaks in detail about the process of writing music for film from the first contact with the director to the final recording session. He explains why he can't afford to be "mentally blocked" and why he has had to push himself mentally and physically to the limit to finish a score before the first recording session.

Bonus Room

In the Bonus Room, we discuss major orchestras that David has conducted featuring film music. David also talks about his father Alfred Newman’s legacy at Fox Studios. To close up the session, we discuss his most recent project, a weekly Zoom seminar which takes a deep dive into Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes and Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.

The podcast theme music, Four Sierra Scenes, written by Anthony Plog, is taken from Crystal Records S205, copyright ©1980 Crystal Records Inc., and is used by permission. Unauthorized duplication is not permitted.