Nathan Barr – Flatliners Composer | On The Fly Filmmaking

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Host & Producer Marielou Mandl (@MarielouMandl) interviews Composer, Nathan Barr!



Nathan Barr has scored all six seasons of HBO’s Emmy-winning and Fan-Favorite series, TRUE BLOOD, and is currently working on the final season.  Nate has also lent his musical talents to FX’s THE AMERICANS and Netflix’s HEMLOCK GROVE. The two hit series have garnered him Emmy nods for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Musicin 2013. That gives Barr the distinction of being the first composer to ever have a double nomination in the Main Title category in the same year.

Barr, who began his career with Hans Zimmer, has composed music for more than 30 feature films in addition to his television experience.  The Topanga Canyon-based composer has worked with Alan Ball, gore-horror master Eli Roth, and many other highly respected directors. Roth and Barr have collaborated on HEMLOCK GROVE and five films: Dimension Films and Vivendi Entertainment’s GRINDHOUSE, Screen Gems and Lionsgate’s HOSTEL,HOSTEL 2, CABIN FEVER, and Lionsgate’s THE LAST EXORCISM.

In 2012, Barr composed original music for Lionsgate’s comedy THE BIG WEDDING, which starred Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, and Topher Grace.

In 2011, Barr scored IFC Films’ THE LEDGE, a drama/thriller starring Liv Tyler and Terrance Howard, and directed by Matthew Chapman. It premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.  Also among Barr’s diverse credits:  20th Century Fox’s SHUTTER, Warner Bros.’ THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, and Film for Thought’s HOOD TO COAST, a documentary that follows four teams on their epic journey to conquer the world’s largest relay race.

Barr began studying music in Tokyo, Japan at four years old.  He grew up surrounded by eclectic music ranging from Kabuki Theater to the sounds of his mother performing on the koto and piano, and his father playing the banjo, guitar and shakuhachi.

His interest in music was further influenced by extensive travels around the world, where he experienced music ranging from Bali’s Kecak Orchestras to China’s Beijing Opera.  Barr went on to study at Skidmore College, and toured Italy and Switzerland with the Juilliard Cello Ensemble in the summer of 1993.  He also briefly played guitar and electric cello with the industrial rock group, V.A.S.T., before heading out to LA to begin his career in film music.

In addition to writing his scores, he performs many of the instruments heard in his compositions, and is skilled in many styles and genres ranging from orchestral to rock.  Barr is also known for his collection and inclusion of rare and unusual instruments from around the world such as:  a human bone trumpet from Tibet, dismantled pianos, a rare Glass Armonica, gourd cellos, and the gem of his collection, the 3 manual, 19 rank Wurlitzer Theater Organ that lived on the scoring stage at 20th Century Fox from 1928-1994, and can be heard in countless films from “The Sound Of Music” to “Patton” to “Star Trek.”

Barr was among a group of prolific composers who attended the renowned and respected 2011 Ubeda film Festival in Spain, where Nathan performed his music to True Blood with a small ensemble and film composer Randy Edelman conducting. He also joined 24 film, TV and video game composers in the Symphony of Hope to raise money for the victims of last year’s earthquake in Haiti. The CD was released in September 2011, and hit’s top-25 chart of new classical releases.