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June 20, 2020   |   4:30pm PDT   |   Seminar







With the ongoing uncertainty and restrictive logistics surrounding COVID-19, creatives in the entertainment industry have had to find innovative ways of keeping their art alive, by way of virtual connection and collaboration. This online seminar will focus on the challenges and solutions for writing, recording, and working remotely during the era of social distancing.

Benj Pasek is an Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriter and New York Times Best-Selling Author. Along with frequent collaborator Justin Paul, he is best known for his work on Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land, and The Greatest Showman. The accompanying albums for each project have appeared in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, the latter of which is certified Platinum in over a dozen countries. Other credits include: A Christmas Story, The Musical on Broadway; DogfightJames and the Giant Peach, Edges, Aladdin, TrollsSmashThe Flash, A Christmas Story, Live!, and Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel. Upcoming projects include the live-action movie musical Snow White at Disney, an untitled musical drama series at Fox 21/Showtime, an original animated musical at Blue Sky Studios, and the illustrated gift book You Will Be Found. He is on the board of the Dramatist Guild Foundation and the American LGBTQ+ Museum.

Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated composer Jeff Russo, is creating some of the most varied and compelling music for television, film, and video games. Russo earned an Emmy Award, and two additional nominations, for his score on FX’s Fargo and received a World Soundtrack Award nomination for TV Composer of the Year. His music plays a major role in fan-favorite shows such as CBS’s Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery; Netflix’s Altered Carbon; Apple TV+’s For All Mankind; Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy; FX’s Snowfall; Starz’s Power; and more. Past credits include Hulu’s The Act; FX’s Legion; Starz’s Counterpart; Noah Hawley’s film Lucy in the Sky; Mark Wahlberg’s action-thriller film Mile 22; Craig Macneill’s Lizzie; and more. Russo also received a BAFTA nomination for Best Music for Annapurna Interactive’s video game, What Remains of Edith Finch. Upcoming for Russo is season 4 of FX’s Fargo as well as Starz’s Power Book II: Ghost, a sequel to Power, produced by Curtis Jackson “50 Cent.”

Shaina Taub is an Emmy-nominated songwriter and performer. She is a winner of the Kleban Prize, the Fred Ebb Award, and the Jonathan Larson Grant. She is an artist-in-residence at the Public Theater where she has a regular concert residency at Joe’s Pub. She is currently writing lyrics for the upcoming Broadway musical The Devil Wears Prada, with music by Sir Elton John, as well as a new musical about the American women’s suffrage movement. She created and starred in musical adaptations of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and As You Like It  that was commissioned and produced by the Public Theater at the Delacorte in Central Park as part of their groundbreaking community-based program, Public Works. Those adaptations have now been produced in London, Seattle, Dallas, and beyond.

Michael Abels is a composer/producer best known for his scores for writer/director Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning film Get Out and highly anticipated follow-up Us, for which Abels was awarded “Discovery of the Year” at the 2019 World Soundtrack Awards. Abels’ score for Us was also shortlisted for the 2020 Oscars, received a Critics’ Choice nomination, an NAACP Image Award nomination, multiple critics’ awards, and was named “Score of the Decade” by online publication The Wrap.  Abels’ score for Us has most recently received a Composers’ Choice Award nomination for 2019 ASCAP Film Score of the Year.

As a concert composer, Abels has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet The Composer, and the Sphinx Organization, among others.  His orchestral works have been performed by the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and many more.  As guest conductor of Get Out In Concert, Abels has led orchestras including National Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony.  Several of his orchestral works have been recorded by the Chicago Sinfonietta on the Cedille label, including Delights & Dances and Global Warming.  Abels is co-founder of the Composers Diversity Collective, an advocacy group to increase the visibility of composers of color in film, game, and streaming media.

Abels’ first ballet, Falling Sky, commissioned by Butler University, premiered in February 2020. Following its Toronto International Film Festival 2019 premiere, the Hugh Jackman film Bad Education is currently on HBO, with the soundtrack of his score available through WaterTower Music.  The film All Day and a Night, written and directed by Black Panther scribe Joe Robert Cole, starring Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) and Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) is currently streaming on Netflix. Upcoming projects include a diverse mix of concert work, film, and an opera.