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Hollywood composer says Fanshawe College program gives a 'solid base'
From assignments at Fanshawe College to the soundtrack of a current box office hit, film score composer Trevor Morris has come a long way.
The London native and Music Industry Arts (MIA) grad has spent years in Hollywood composing for ads, movies, television, and video games. His most recent credit is with the film Immortals, which spent over a week in the top spot at the box office in North America last November.
"MIA really started me on my path," says Morris, adding he still keeps his Fanshawe diploma on the wall at his Los Angeles studio. "It gave me the background to get accepted at a major Toronto studio, and that world led directly to where I am today."
Morris wrote his first composition for piano and four-part choir at age 13, when his elementary school commissioned a piece to perform for the Pope. His fee: $50.
Morris went on to study Music Industry Arts at Fanshawe College, which he calls "Canada’s most prestigious school for recording and production" in his online biography. He finished the program at the top of his class. After graduating in 1989, Morris immediately moved to Toronto, where he spent all of his 20s working in the music industry as an engineer, producer, and composer for television commercials.
In 1999, he moved to Los Angeles to begin scoring television series and feature films. Morris started his early years in L.A. working with well-known composers like James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer, with whom he amassed over 25 major screen credits on some of Hollywood’s top blockbusters. As his career developed, he began to collaborate with some of the industry’s top names, such as Jerry Bruckheimer and Ridley Scott.
Morris currently lives and works in Los Angeles with his family, while maintaining a production company and second studio in Toronto. He has won six awards for his work on the hit TV show The Tudors, including an Emmy (Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music) and two Geminis (Outstanding score for TV Series, 2010 and 2011). He has also won an Emmy for his main title music for The Borgias. He credits his success to hard work and good training.
"Nothing, and I mean nothing, takes the place of hard work... not talent or ambition or anything. You have to get a solid base, which MIA will give you, then go get a real job in the field," he says. "If you are serious about success, out work the guy beside you. Just beat on your craft constantly: eat, live, and drink what it is you are trying to."
Morris' blend of talent and passion with determination and drive has characterized his musical efforts for most of his life.
"He worked hard for this," said his step-mother, Mary Wallace Morris, in 2007 after his first Emmy win. "We have always believed in Trevor and his natural-born talents."
Since that time, Morris has worked on the score for recent feature films Scorpion King: Book of the Dead, Beautiful Boy, Stolen, and The Hills Have Eyes 2 among others. His work is also featured in video games like Need for Speed: Carbon and Sim City 5, as well as the TV series Chase, Pillars of the Earth, and Moonlight.
"We are incredibly pleased for Trevor and his accomplishments in the very competitive music world," said his stepmother. "In one way we're not surprised, but in another way we're very excited for him and his future."
Morris' current scores for the soundtrack of Immortals have drawn critical acclaim for their blend of his Zimmer inspiration with a unique and dramatic flair, using both choral and orchestral elements to create dark, epic melodies. Film Music Magazine calls it "his most rousingly impressive work yet, a soundtrack filled with the blood and thunder or strings, brass, voice and above all furious emotion, blasting out mythical scoring at its most operatic."
Loosely based on the Greek myths of Theseus and the Minotaur, Immortals follows the life of a young mortal chosen by the gods to prevent the ruthless King Hyperion from obtaining a mystical weapon that could destroy the world.
Immortals was released on November 11, 2011, topping the daily box office with a total of $14.8 million on its opening day. During its first weekend, the film took the top spot domestically with $32.2 million in sales at U.S. and Canadian cinemas, plus an estimated $36 million from international markets. At the time of writing, the film had grossed nearly $76 million at the North American box office.
"We all hoped [the film] would be #1, but no one has a crystal ball," Morris remakrs, adding that ratings and awards aren't his motivation. "It's not the reason you start down the path and do the hard work and put in the hours you do. But it's a nice cherry on top, to be sure."
For more information on Trevor Morris check out his website at http://www.trevormorris.com
To read the complete Film Music Magazine review, visit http://www.filmmusicmag.com/?p=8731