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Composer Alex Wurman Revisits And Re-Marches With The Penguins Ten Years Later

Updated on June 30, 2015

Meet Alex Wurman

March Of The Penguins is now celebrating its' 10th Anniversary. The Oscar Winning Documentary that has charmed audiences around the world in the last decade since its' acclaimed box office and Oscar run. A film featuring the soothing voice of Oscar Winner Morgan Freeman and aided by the wonderful score by composer Alex Wurman that added both depth and drama to stark and striking visuals.

Wurman is a Hollywood veteran whose music has graced the films of acclaimed directors such as Ron Shelton, Steven Conrad, Gregory Jacobs, Adam McKay and Oscar Winner George Clooney. A talented composer who's at the top of craft and his music for this lovely documentary really made a major impression on many in the industry. Now honoring both Alex and the film, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under the spirited baton of Jeffery Schindler who also conducted the original soundtrack recording for the film have teamed up to do a live performance of the score while screening the film for a live audience in Benaroya Hall.

For this brief and very special interview with Alex during his busy schedule, we revisit the film, the music and talk about this wonderful experience of a live score to film which will no doubt thrill fans of the film. So please sit back and enjoy our brief but informative Q & A session together.

Brief Q & A Session

Please tell the readers about what made you become interested in music and films.

AW: Star Wars came out in 1977 and I was 11 when it came into theaters. In the opening sequence where the story was scrolling into outer space, the music of John Williams was otherworldly and exhilarating. The year after that, Breaking Away came out. Patrick Williams did such a wonderful job adapting the music of Mendelssohn and Rossini and the characters in the film were so relatable. I was almost completely hooked on the idea of film scoring, but to absolutely seal the deal, the spaceship fugue near the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind was the killer. Growing up in a musical family I always knew I would be a musician, but after several years of creating music, my ever growing love for the medium of film ended up being the most powerful factor.

Let’s talk about your latest project based on the Oscar Winning film, March of the Penguins, March of the Penguins Live to Picture. What made you interested you to revisit both the film and your score ten years after the films' release and that made you want to do it?

AW: March of the Penguins connected very deeply with a diverse audience. I know this because of the impassioned emails I received. The music in the film plays a huge role and has a lot of space to stretch out. For this reason I think it makes a good concert live to picture. There are many colors and recurring themes. I think it's going to make a great concert.

Is it hard to perform a score to live picture? Is it similar to that of a regular recording session in a studio?

AW: Our conductor Jeff Schindler has quite a task ahead of him. In the recording studio, I have several chances to each difficult passage performed just the way I like it. Onstage, it must be immediate. However, now I have the benefit of having perfected the music and have adapted all of the parts to reflect this. The Seattle Symphony is a stellar group of musicians. They are going to do a great job.

What are your feelings leading up to your score being performed live by the Seattle Symphony?

AW: I'm excited. I look forward to being in a beautiful hall seeing beautiful images and hearing a great performance. Of course, I'm a little nervous… This is a special performance, it's the premiere!

You've had a stellar career working with many different directors including Oscar Winner George Clooney, Ron Shelton and Adam McKay. What is it like working with such caliber?

AW: Thank you for the compliment. The experience of working with a high caliber filmmaker is extremely gratifying. There are so many wonderful forms of expression in this medium, and to communicate with intelligent people about these things is very rewarding. It's also a little bit challenging when we are all searching for something that begins in an extremely subjective state. It's the most fun when we team up and throw caution to the wind.

Very special thanks to Alex for being so gracious with his time in doing this brief interview despite his busy schedule. Special thanks also go to Ashley Moore. Keep up the great work.

March Of The Penguins is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment



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