#ComposersWhoScore Profiles: CSA 2017 SOCAN member nominees for Best Original Score in a Film

March 7, 2017

The work of screen composers is very important to SOCAN, so we're launching a #ComposersWhoScore campaign to raise awareness about it, and offer some examples of successful SOCAN members working in the genre. We hope to educate and inform audiences, to foster a greater respect for, and understanding of, the huge artistic and economic value of the work that screen composers do.

The following SOCAN #ComposersWhoScore are nominated for Achievement in Music – Original Score for Film as part of the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards (CSAs).

Taymaz Saba is nominated for his work on Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming. Saba is also a conductor and sound designer, who's inspired by the sounds of nature; by classical composers Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Bach; and by film composers like Nino Rota, Henry Mancini, Bernard Hermann and Ennio Morricone. Saba was born in Tehran and raised in an artistic family. He studied composition, conducting, and classical singing in France, England and Canada; finished his classical music diploma and earned his conducting certificate at Capilano University; and studied digital audio production and sound engineering at Langara College in British Columbia. Saba has travelled to India and elsewhere to explore sound and music, and experience Eastern music pronunciation and texture first-hand. He's also studied and worked in Iranian, Indian, African and Brazilian music traditions. While composing for film and television, he's written many choral pieces for church choirs and independent ensembles. Meanwhile, he's also continued working in sound design, foley, and location sound, as well as voice acting.

Jesse Zubot is nominated for his work on Academy Award-nominated Director Kim Nguyen's current feature film Two Lovers and a Bear, starring Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan. Zubot is a three-time JUNO Award-winning musician, singer-songwriter, violinist, performer and producer, who manned the boards for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize-winning album Animism by Tanya Tagaq, as well as her current album Retribution. He composed and arranged music (working with fellow SOCAN member Dan Mangan) for the 2014 film Hector and the Search for Happiness, starring Simon Pegg, Christopher Plummer and Rosamund Pike – which was also nominated for a CSA in 2015.

Alain Mayrand is nominated for his work on Numb, a feature film about a couple in financial distress who discover GPS coordinates that promise to lead to stolen gold, and enter the remote winter wilderness to recover it. Mayrand is also a conductor and orchestrator, who's worked on films such as Elysium, Ender’s Game and the Jackie Chan animated feature film The Legend of Silkboy. His score for the New York film No Letting Go has garnered several award nominations on the festival circuit. A highly-trained musician and composer, Mayrand has also spent four years as composer-in-residence with the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, and his music has been performed and recorded in Taiwan, and throughout Europe and North America.

Michael White is nominated for his work on the Norwegian-filmed movie HEVN (Revenge), about a woman seeking retribution on her deceased sister's violator. White has composed the music for the TV series Aftermath, and the documentaries Giants of Africa, Manufacturing Dissent, and Invisible City. He's also done the synthesizer programming (and occasionally played the trumpet) for such feature films as San Andreas, Edge of Tomorrow, Allegiant and Insurgent, and such TV series as Quantico and Frontier.

Todor Kobakov is nominated for his work (with fellow SOCAN member co-composers David Braid and Steve London), on a docudrama about the life of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, Born to Be Blue, starring Ethan Hawke. In 2014, the Canadian screen trade publication Playback placed Kobakov on their New Establishment Top Five in Canadian film. The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) premiered no less than four films scored by the prolific Kobakov: The Steps and Bruce McDonald’s Hellions (both co-composed with fellow SOCAN member Ian LeFeuvre), Closet Monster (with Maya Postepski), and Born to Be Blue. Prominent earlier films Kobakov has scored include the infamous Young People F___ing and McDonald’s The Husband, and he’s been the only composer used on the hit Space TV series Bitten. Kobakov has also long worked as a keyboardist, string arranger and producer for such major Canadian artists as Metric, Stars, Dan Mangan, Emily Haines, k-os, and Luke Doucet.

Steve London is also nominated for his work (with fellow SOCAN member co-composers David Braid and Todor Kobakov), on Born to Be Blue. London was originally an orchestral musician, and studied composition and conducting with Canada¹s music elite: John Burge, Marjan Mozetich and Kristi Allik. In 1995, he received a certificate of specialization from the world renowned Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program at the University of Southern California. The opportunity to study in L.A. with such composers as Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith and Christopher Young, was invaluable and integral to his development as a serious composer for film and television. He also gained a great deal of experience working as a score co-ordinator with Christopher Young on such films as Unforgettable, Head Above Water and Copycat. London has written music for many feature films, including Bank$tas, That Beautiful Somewhere, Shallow Ground, and Seduced by a Thief, starring Sean Young and Ron Perlman.

David Braid is nominated for his work (with fellow SOCAN member co-composers Todor Kobakov and Steve London), on Born to Be Blue. He’s also nominated for Best Original Song, for “Could Have Been” from the same feature film. Braid has been hailed as "one of his country’s true renaissance men when it comes to music" (The Ottawa Citizen), and "a jazz genius to call our own" (Maclean’s Magazine). He's a seven-time JUNO nominee, and a winner of two, for his solo piano recording Verge, and ensemble recording The David Braid Sextet Live. Combining the discipline of European classical music with the spontaneity of American jazz, Braid’s music is described as "refreshingly uncategorizable" (Paris Transatlantic), "brilliant" (Montreal Gazette), and "hauntingly beautiful" (The Globe & Mail). Braid is an official Steinway Artist, a Special Associate Artist of Sinfonia U.K., and has been an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Toronto. His co-composed jazz score for Born to be Blue received praise for its "contemporary patina without sacrificing period authenticity" (The Times, U.K.).

SOCAN congratulates all of its member CSA nominees!