Scoring for Lizzie Blog #3

This month has been incredible! Had a great experience with the Screen Composers Guild of Canada’s ‘Orchestral Reading Sessions’ where my score was recorded by an orchestra and had its premier in a masterclass. The Screen Composers Guild has been an invaluable resource for me starting out in this field, and I have met so many fellow creative minds through their events and connectivity! Check out the SCGC’s latest newletter for more on the ORS and upcoming events. So looking forward to being in TO for the ‘Hollywood Orchestration and Composition Masterclass’ with Norman Ludwin in April too!

Back in my studio after a nice break with my family and kids! Great to be back in the studio teaching and producing music. I feel so lucky to be creating and sharing a part of me, through my teaching and my music.

This track took 2 days to write and produce and I love it. Actually, I fall in love with every track that I write! My fingers were a bit rusty from not touching my cello for 3 weeks!!! But hey, nothing gets you in shape better than having to play clean and focusing intensely on the task! Had sketched a few notes that would go well with an opening sequence for ‘Lizzie’, with building intensity and driving suspense. My mind is channeling Phillip Glass, and all things magically rhythmic! Hope you enjoy this piece of music as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Scoring for Lizzie Blog #2

Just shared the Lizzie Kicksass track that I just finished with the director! He is very, very pleased!! I quote, “ The new track is awesome, exceeded my expectation of what it would sound like, love every second of it.” This past week, the weather in Ottawa had been pretty darn dismal, and some of my students were not able to make it, so I found myself finishing a track that just needed to get done! This is a strong example of the music taking over my life and demanding to be completed and makes me question; who or what is really in charge of my life??? The scary but wonderful thing is that I absolutely adore this creative process, the doing, the immersion into another dimension that I create. I always love listening to my tracks but nothing beats birthing them!

The producer and director of Lizzie first heard my music on Soundcloud and they really liked ‘Grave Tremors’ (it is one of my wicked cool tracks that is now in the LA publishing library called I knew they wanted something like it for Lizzie and this was my answer to it. Sketched a few things in my teaching studio (I tend to find the coolest driving passages by just picking up my axe and finding a cool groove that excites me with its energy and chordal colours) and went up to my recording studio to lay down some tracks.
Two days later, ba boom!! This is Lizzie’s Kickass theme music. Hope you find it equally exciting and engaging.

Scoring for Lizzie Blog #1

I am scoring my first short film EVER and I want to share this incredible time in my life to inspire others and to document this new phase in my life. Two years ago, if you told me I was going to be a film composer, I would never have believed you! But today, it is my passion- to create great music and to elicit deep emotions and connections to visual images through film scoring. What do I know about film scoring? Not much yet, but I do know the language of emotion and the power of music to take us to new and visceral places. It is this direct hit to our feelings that leads me every step of the way. So what a fine place to start this new chapter in my life. Scoring for Lizzie is my dream coming true and the start of a new journey that will lead to places I have not yet imagined or heard before…with new musical creations awaiting at every stop. I am so totally ready!

My learning curve is vertical right now and my mind is exploding with possibilities. Today, I received an email from the director of the short revenge themed film called ‘Lizzie’, with the opening script and his notes. Since our timeline is tight, I will have 1-2 weeks to fully compose and produce a score for this 15-20 minute short film. The film crew, cinematographer and director are all in the UK (shooting is set for April) and I will be composing and producing from my home studio (with picture locked and sent to me in early May). To get a head start on the project, as it will be an intense 2 weeks to finish the score, I have composed some music that resonates with the plot. Lizzie has suffered a great loss in her adult life, and is caught between forgiveness and revenge. My mind immediately jumps to darkness, to confusion but also sympathy. What percentage of sympathy, anger and despair is needed to make us feel who Lizzie is, and to make us feel the conflict that she must be going through?

This track that is the result of this first exchange between the director and myself!  I already feel great about this film and the music I provide now will be the temp track that the director will edit the film with.  It just seems so right.  Here is: Lizzie_Darkness_Prayer

My Hans Zimmer/Margaret Maria co-creation!

After stumbling across this contest called ‘Bleeding Fingers Contest’, through my Soundcloud, I took a quick look at the rules, and then a listen to Hans Zimmer’s piece called ‘Destiny’s Door’. It is a spectacular piece!

Curiosity and of course, a new challenge, found me uploading this track and the stems into my system (I use Cubase)! Is it possible to create something new and unique after you hear something so complete in itself and it also has great emotional impact with full orchestra, choir and solo voice. Also, this was such a great chance to hear the orchestration divided up into stems and the quality of the sounds Zimmer uses. My whole composing career has been a non-stop vertical learning curve, so this was fascinating for me.

I took the synth stem (yes there is a synth texture behind the full orchestra) and made that the back drop, or the pulsating of time, under the choral stem and harp. Giving me a chance to let the cello sing a simple melody. Drawing from Zimmer’s melody, but not repeating it, the middle section gives the cellos a chance to soar with the synth and percussion stems of Zimmer below. I stepped into the recording booth and just played! It was a beautiful few days of creativity and immersion into the sounds and possibilities of a new piece being born. So here is my co-creation:

‘Stepping Through- Destiny’s Door’ – Bleeding Fingers Contest.

‘A great challenge and privilege to work with such a beautiful track composed by Hans Zimmer. Destiny’s Door inspired me to step through it and create a piece that used the following stems: synth, perc, choir, solo vocal and piano bells harp. Destiny is inevitable and waiting for each of us to have faith and move towards it. The synth in the opening and closing represents time and its relentlessness while the choir and bells symbolize something spiritual that is present. The cello sits above this bed of vocals and synth contemplating destiny, and then soars through Destiny’s Door with courage and hope; my music and my hope is intertwined. Hope you enjoy it!’- Margaret Maria ( on the Bleeding Fingers Competition website).

Feel free to login and vote if you like it or just leave your like and comment on Soundcloud.

Composing for film!

I am working up a storm with the Orchestral Reading Sessions in Toronto a month away! The University of Toronto Symphony (I used to be in it when I was 16!!) will be rehearsing and recording my composition that I am scoring for a film clip. This is an incredible opportunity to learn the craft of film scoring- from the composing to the final recording session and the viewing of the clip in a masterclass session. Very excited to hear my music played by the full orchestra and scored to picture for the first time in my life.

Here is a cinematic track of mine, ‘Furor’, scored for many cellos and it is fun! Enjoy!