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Profile

John Young (born 1995) is a London-based composer who specialises in music for film. He read music at the University of Oxford, having to turn down a Foundation Scholarship to study Composition at the Royal College of Music.

 

He has composed for Channel 4's Escape to the Chateau, and for several trailers, short films and theatrical productions and dozens of independent compositions, mostly programmatic. Stylistically he draws from film and TV composers such as Ennio Morricone, Franco Piersanti, Michael Giacchino, John Barry and John Williams; classical composers such as Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Mahler; and jazz artists such as Kenny Wheeler, Pat Metheny and Bill Evans. Often he infuses his scores with electronic elements inspired by the likes of Jon Hopkins, Anomalie and Floating Points.

 

Working for London-based company A-Mnemonic Music Productions in 2018, John learned the art of “music that sells things”. It furthered his expertise in creating concise musical and sonic material, in particular for commercial branding and advertisements. This included designing audio logos of around three seconds, matching them scrupulously to the nuances of video content. This led onto work for other production companies, notably Phase Music and Finger Music.  

He is also a pianist and teacher (99% LTCL diploma distinction, National Youth Jazz Collective, Pianoman scholarship), violinist (Junior Royal Academy of Music, Oxford University Orchestra, National Children's Orchestra), keyboard-synth player, and founding member of five-piece jazz-electronic band Wandering Wires

In first person

"The first bit of music I worked out on the piano was the theme from Samuel Whiskers. Growing up I had a penchant for working out themes and improvising, experimenting with combinations of chords and notes, and thereby nurturing my aural skills. Discovering notation software at age nine, I was initiated into an exciting world of possibilities: I could cement improvisations in notation or write out transcriptions for a myriad of instruments, and instantly hear them come to life in virtual performances by the software. This soon became my main past time, and remained so until it was my work.

 

I remember as a young boy hearing the evocative sound of John Barry's "Dances With Wolves" filling the car during a striking sunset. It was on a compilation CD of some of Barry's best film themes. His music, along with James Horner's score for The Mask of Zorro (my childhood favourite), was a foundation for my desire to become a film composer.  

There is nothing as fulfilling as creating — as transforming a blank canvas into a work of art, imparting a piece of yourself into a sensory and intellectually- stimulating object of beauty — and then experiencing what you have made, and sharing it with others. I find that music is the best form of creating; it reaches right into our emotional core.

 

Early on in my life, I came to the conclusion that film, when done well, is the most powerful medium for music, and that films can be totally transformed by an effective score. Something special happens when visuals, sound and music are combined to tell a story. There’s a heightened meaning behind a piece of music when it is composed to a narrative. It has the potential to be all the more moving, intriguing, atmospheric, exciting or visceral than the same music on its own because it becomes a part of the film’s world. That world then becomes imprinted on the soundtrack, such that it is lived again in varying degrees upon each listen, even when out of context."

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