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Crossing: Crew Spotlight on Nicholas Pitcher


From the continuing series on the people who made Crossing... this week’s focus is Nicholas Pitcher.

One thing Nick and I have in common is our high regard for the score of a film. It adds a new character to the story, one that guides the audience through the emotional beats of the film. Nick is an incredibly talented bassoonist, but his skillset doesn’t stop there: I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with him where he doesn’t play something on whatever instrument happens to be nearby. He was my one and only choice to compose music for Crossing… he probably read some of the earliest versions of the story and has been helping to tell that story since long before anyone else even knew Crossing existed.

Nick and I have a great relationship, despite this entire process being remote. Nick began writing the score in Arizona and completed his work after moving 3 times and finally landing in Colorado. In the same timespan, I never traveled more than 300 miles from home. Thankfully, we know each other’s styles quite well! On our collaboration, Nick says, “There aren't many opportunities to write music with this much freedom and trust. Rob and I met in New Hampshire and have worked together on a few projects in the past, but he had not yet approached me about composing a completely fresh score for one of his films. Knowing Rob's style and approach, I knew that it would be a great experience that would allow me to write with my own style, intention, and tastes… His help throughout this process was invaluable as a springboard for information. He was always willing to spend time on the phone with me to nail down the character of a scene, or the specifics of how the music was meant to interact with a particular moment.”

Nick says he is particularly drawn to the first track of his score for Crossing, entitled Borders. Ironically, though, he says his favorite moments from the film feature no music at all: a series of scenes in which the lack of score creates a strong tension. Nick and I share a love of the Harry Potter series, due in no small part to the beautiful scores of the eight-film saga: “The music, written first by John Williams but then picked up by Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper, and Alexandre Desplat over the years, is a whimsically transformative masterpiece of intent and wonder. When composing my own music, I am constantly reminded of the intensely thorough design of William's music, which seems to dig even deeper than the pictures on the screen to add to each scene. His use of motif, leitmotif, returning melodies, and shift in tone throughout the film were handled with such care and practice that the following composers had no choice but to follow in his footsteps as they set out to score the films which came after. What a magical masterpiece!”

In his free time, Nick enjoys watching movies and tv shows, playing games, solving puzzles, and embarking on what he described as a “tricky” job-hunt. Luckily, if Nick’s musical ability is to be taken into account during that job-hunt, I doubt it will last very long.

Nick and I are co-writing a short piece for an upcoming week about the score itself and the process by which it was created. Be sure to check it out! And hear Nick’s score in Crossing on December 11.

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