Brian Tyler´s career is impressive both in terms of his success and because of the sheer scope and range of  of films he has worked on.

In 2018 alone we have been fortunate to get his edgy, and at the same time also celebratory and catchy F1-theme, a stunning score for the TV-series Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner, and finally the gem Crazy Rich Asians which both deliver sweeping, romantic themes and captivating jazz pieces that will have you humming the score for hours after the film has ended.

He is also known for films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, The Mummy, Fast and Furious films 5-8, Now You See Me 1 & 2, and even video games like Far Cry 3, Call of Duty and Assassins Creed: Black Flag. To mention but a few.

Thursday October 25th music lovers in London will be treated to a spectacular show, when the composer returns to the Royal Festival Hall, two years after his last concert in the city. Conducted by the composer himself, the Philharmonia Orchestra and a full choir will perform highlights from Tyler´s illustrious career.

The composer is no stranger to London, having recorded a number of his projects in the city, with the same orchestra that he is leading on stage for this concert.

«London is like a second home to me. I record so many of my scores here and I know these musicians so well. It´s kind of like what you would find in a band, where there´s a lot of great interplay that comes from being able to read each other well. That´s why I love working with them, we all know each other and they are amazing to work with», Tyler tells Allegretto over the phone, just after his arrival in London.

Through his career, Brian Tyler has established himself as an incredibly diverse composer. Comfortable in virtually any musical style, he has a knack for identifying both stylistic and thematic traits which perfectly suit the accompanying story and imagery. Tyler also does not shy away from thematic writing, something which over the last 10-15 seems to have fallen out of favor in Hollywood, with modern scores some times being likened to more sound design than musical compositions. Thematic writing has, on the other hand, in some circles been labeled as «dated». Still, some composers, like Brian Tyler, succeed at both writing memorable themes which the audience can recognize and follow along with the story and characters, but he also manages to do this without writing anything that sounds like the music of yesteryear.

«The old-school way of writing leitmotifs and themes that are memorable adds emotional resonance and a historical nostalgia. When you meet a new character and hear a new theme in the beginning of the film, it helps make you feel like you know them by the middle part of the film. You recognize the theme, which almost creates history with the story that you wouldn´t otherwise have. 

I learned a lot from the past while at the same time I´m not afraid of the present or the future either. I studied modern classical music, hip-hop, indie-rock, and so on. All of these are things I embrace, and it´s not necessary for a score to be purely one or the other. I feel it´s sad when people end up choosing a side, where it´s either «thematic» or «modern». I think you will find my music reflect all my influences, from modernity to classicism», says the composer.


Brian Tyler while conducting. Image Credit: Stefania Rosini 

Like the structuring of a film score, the concert program also follows a consciously designed arch, created to take the audience on a journey through these highly diverse subject matters and different musical approaches.

«There´s a carefully planned throughline that is designed to take the audience through anything from superheros to action music and Formula 1 to smaller and very emotional pieces like Crazy Rich Asians and Far Cry. It´s a big range and working out the program ends up being almost like working on an album. You want to have a feeling of an inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale musical narrative, so I´ve worked very hard on making everything work as one cohesive whole.»

Tyler´s  diversity is not limited to the genres of films he can tackle and the musical styles he employs, but also is shown in his skills as a performing musician. He regularly will record himself doing solos on e.g. piano and guitar, additional percussion and he also conducts at the scoring sessions. Not all composers choose to conduct their own music, but Brian Tyler sees this as the final piece of crafting the performance of the piece

«The best way for me to get across just what I had in mind when I composed something is by also doing the conducting. I also think I do better at conducting than I do at communicating with other conductors. It´s kind of like how I will do a lot of soloistic instrument playing myself, as opposed to talking to another musician recording it. Again it´s about communication and I often find it easiest to get what I have in mind by just doing it mysellf.» Tyler explains.

Having been inspired by Star Wars in his youth to start looking into classical composers and orchestral music, Tyler is excited by the idea that film music concerts may open the doors into that same realm for a number of audience members who may never have seen a live orchestra before.

«I love when they do film music concerts, because I know how it can also serve as a gateway into orchestral music for a number of people that aren´t familiar with it. For me, Star Wars was at the core of what got me looking into classical composers, and in turn set me on a path to become a pianist and a composer. And it´s always a treat on occasions where people have come up to me and told me they had never seen an orchestra before and were thrilled by the experience».

Brian Tyler conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra on October 25th at 19.30. Tickets are available here.


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