6th International Hamburg Summerschool for Filmmusic, Gamemusic and Sounddesign

July 8th - July 17th 2016, Hamburg, Germany

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Of Homecomers, Revenants and Newcomers

by Stephan Eicke
pictures by Dave Schnell

The more often MediaSoundHamburg takes place, the more it makes the impression of a family gathering. This doesn't mean at all that it has nothing to offer except coffee and gossip – quite on the contrary. MediaSoundHamburg has evolved. The concept is the same though: The participants of the various seminars, workshops and master classes spend their time together in the Elsa- Braendstroem-Haus in Hamburg-Blankenese and are offered the possibility to make contacts and deepen friendships. This is a unique concept among the German speaking events on film music. It is also one with clear advantages: Several workshops take place over the course of several days, you only need to walk a few steps to the

class rooms, you can debate with fellow participants afterwards, eat and drink together without having to worry about catching the last bus to the next hotel.

The concept has proven to be successful and only intensified the impression of a family gathering because in its sixth year, the core of the participants has strengthened and got bigger. This is a proof for the success of MediaSoundHamburg because many visitors travelled to the event for the third or even fourth time to be enamoured by the atmosphere near the Elbe river. All these guests had enough reasons to return to the festival: Randy Thom, winner of two Academy Awards and responsible for the sound design of the modern classic The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio, gave a three day-master class along with Christopher Young, well-known for his work on movies such as Hellraiser and The Rum Diary, while Youki Yamamoto talked about his orchestration work for composers like Rachel Portman. All three lecturers had chosen their concepts carefully because all three addressed beginners in the fields of film music, sound design and orchestration, yet quickly delved deep into

the subjects to guarantee the participants their money's worth.

Thom had already been guest at MediaSoundHamburg before and taught his class within three days about recording, generating and manipulating sounds for film scenes in a practical master class. Furthermore, he managed to talk intensively about his approach to the movie The Revenant by presenting various scenes and analysing his concepts for making them audible.

Christopher Young did it similarly: The 59 year-old explained his approach for the horror satire Drag Me to Hell, directed by Sam Raimi. With that, he allowed the participants a look behind the scenes because he made materials public which no one else would ever hope to examine: Young presented memos, voice recordings, film scenes, own sketches and the written scores to illustrate the way of working on a score – from the very first to the very last step. More than that, he even gave an introduction on the topic of film music based on the most important aspects, gave useful advice and recommendations by judging the homework to have the students write an alternative main title to Drag Me to Hell individually.
The participants were more than delighted when Young made himself available to them in private sessions during which he examined their previous works. Indeed, they couldn't have been happier with their teacher this year: He inspired them in a thoughtful

and yet lively way.
Youki Yamamoto chose a similar approach in giving an introduction on the topic of orchestration before studying various scores and encouraging his students to do exercises under his guidance.

All this was useful for the students. The best example for this is Egyptian composer Hayat Selim who had received a scholarship for MediaSoundHamburg the previous year and had been able to attend various classes. She had been over the moon about her experience and the possibility to grab this chance in 2015, saying that she has evolved as a composer a lot due to MSH. She was proven right this year when she won the renowned Young Talent Award for her video game composition, an award given by MSH to aspiring and promising musicians. Congratulations!

But even outside the extensive master classes Achim Esser-Mamat proved to have a lucky hand in selecting his teachers this year by not only keeping the spectrum of the topics of the last years but also extending it. Oliver Koelling, a former scholar of György Ligeti, explained the approach when composing for film, TV, library and artists, Panos Kolias and Martin Häne went even further in giving an impression for composers when writing for libraries, Henning Fuchs gave practical advice for artists to survive financially in his seminar “The film and media composer as a businessman“, and film music agent George Christopoulos repeated his workshop as a variation about how to become a working film composer.

It is important to mention that the participants, guests and students were able to spend time with artists like Randy Thom and Christopher Young privately as the concept of MediaSoundHamburg even encourages this. This was especially welcomed by the artists themselves who were largely responsible for making the sixth edition of the MSH a huge success with their positive attitude. MSH deserves this because it has been able to keep its standard high even after six years. We can look forward to the seventh edition.

Randy Thom‘s students at an exercise

Randy Thom

Stephan Eicke and Christopher Young

Youki Yamamoto

Retrospect 2016

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