The only way to really learn a craft is to do it, and that’s been true for Frederik Wiedmann since he got the bug to score films in Germany. After a long apprenticeship with John Frizzell, Wiedmann has been active in several aspects of film scoring: composing, mixing, and learning to integrate new technology into a medium with sophistication and precision.

It’s that latter part that’s perhaps his most interesting skill, because he still works and thinks within an orchestral mindset. It may have become harder to discern what sounds in his work are purely digital, but perhaps that’s the point: he uses technology to enhance a personal sound that embraces classical, experimental, and contemporary.

It’s also a signal of another musical evolution within film music, wherein there’s less divisions between classical and modernism, since the two camps have entered into a kind of marriage through digital interfaces.

In our lengthy conversation, Wiedmann describes his formative years, working in horror, and some of the subtleties in scaring moviegoers.



Frederik Wiedmann



Mark R. Hasan: How did you get involved in film scoring?


Frederik Wiedmann: I think my love of film music started when I was about twelve years old and I saw Dances with Wolves (1990), back then in the theatre with John Barry’s wonderful score.  I realized that was the first time that I was really aware of film music itself; I realized that ‘Oh God, there’s music behind this picture and it’s beautiful.’

I bought the CD, which was also the first soundtrack that I ever owned, and played it a thousand times, and then gradually realized that there was more music out there, and got to know all the great composers and really started to love that genre.

And then back in my home town Auchsburg in Germany, through a friend I met a composer who was actually living there and working quite a bit in the German TV world, and he was kind enough to let me hang out in his studio for quite some time, for me to just see how it’s done, and how he works. That completely blew my mind and opened up this whole world. ‘This is a profession, this is something I would love to do,’ and from that point on I started to pursue that career on a full scale.



MRH: Had you done any formal training, or was it something that began as an apprenticeship, because I think you also did a lot of work later on with John Frizzell?


FW: Absolutely. Once I had set my mind on doing that, I left Germany to go to Boston and study at the Berklee College of Music, where they have a great film music program.

I basically went there in 2002 and I made my Bachelor of Music with the major Film Scoring, and straight afterwards moved to Los Angeles, where within a couple of months I got this gig to work as John Frizzell’s assistant, which really entails everything from just being his technical help to coordinating sessions – you’re basically around all the time on every score that he’s writing and sort of help produce the whole thing.

I was working for him for about three years, which gradually had me doing a lot of mixing, and even some writing. Towards the end of those three years I did a little music on a couple of projects, and after that I technically graduated from that position and managed to be on my own with my own studio.



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