The SCL Announces Mentees for the 2020-2021 LA Mentor Program
The SCL Mentor Program serves as an introduction to the screen music industry for selected SCL Associate members. The SCL LA Mentor Committee has made its final selections from a large number of applicants, and welcomes the following Associate Members into the LA Mentor Program for 2020-2021. The committee would also like to thank the many applicants who took the time to submit and encourages them to do so again in the future, should they remain eligible.
The program runs from October 2020 through March 2021, with a break for the holidays.
The mentors are thoroughly looking forward to sharing their experience and expertise with the SCL LA Mentee Class of 2020-2021.
Michelle Gauthier Birsky is a composer, artist, and music producer who specializes in non-traditional, electro-acoustic film scores. A recent LA transplant, Michelle has spent the past seven years in New York, recording and performing synth-pop music and scoring indie films under the moniker Birch. Her recent work includes the original score for Asking For It, a feature film starring Stephanie Hsu and Janeane Garofalo which premiered at Cinequest 2020 and Fuse TV, and Girl Talk, a short film that premiered at Outfest 2018. She has also licensed her original music to various films including The Trouble With Wolves (documentary, winner at DocFest), TWIST (short film, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival), Van Cortlandt (short), and The Babysitter’s Pub (web series). In 2019, Michelle released her debut LP ‘femme.one’, a feminist concept album, under her moniker Birch. Now, with her recent move to LA, Michelle is interested in helping to raise the female voice in film and is thrilled to be part of the SCL Composer Mentor Program.
Known for his deep sense of lyricism and understanding of storytelling, Silvio Buchmeier is a Swiss composer based in Los Angeles. His award-winning compositions span works for documentaries, short films, and narrative features. He enjoys combining the expressiveness of jazz with contemporary electronics and classical instrumentation to create intriguing and nuanced soundscapes. Inspired by his background in jazz and improvisation Silvio composes intuitively and driven by how he connects to the story emotionally.
Maxwell Karmazyn is an ASCAP Award-winning composer, violinist, producer, and songwriter. He’s recorded for and shared the stage with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Hans Zimmer, Andrea Bocelli, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Steely Dan, John Legend, and Lauryn Hill. As an assistant to Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL, Maxwell wrote music for Sonic the Hedgehog, Terminator Dark Fate, Alita Battle Angel, and Mortal Engines. His music can also be heard on Dreamworks animated film Trolls, and Guillermo Del Toro’s Netflix Original Series Trollhunters. He has written music for composers Christophe Beck, Heitor Pereira, and Tim Davies, as well as Hans Zimmer’s music production company Bleeding Fingers. An accomplished violin soloist, Maxwell enjoyed his Los Angeles Disney Hall solo debut at the age of 20. He also arranged the Theme from Schindler’s List for violin and cello, which he premiered with the California Philharmonic. His playing can be heard on TV and Film projects such as Disney’s The Lion King, Frozen 1 & 2, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, Star Wars: The Mandalorian, DC Films’ Birds of Prey, and Fox’s Empire, among countless others.
A music composer and film co-director, Austin Ray grew up on an aquaculture farm on the Californian/Mexican border. As an ambidextrous writer and switchfoot surfer, both sides of Austin Ray’s brain are always firing. Musically, her natural style is cinematic and atmospheric, yet melody-driven. It evokes images of hidden pathways, wide-open spaces, and forgotten history using a blend of acoustic instruments and electronics. Her film music can be heard in films that have won a Student Academy Award and BAFTA Student Film Award, premiered at Telluride Film Festival and Palm Springs Int’l Short Festival, and in commercials for BMW and United Nations. In 2019, she received the advertising Kinsale Shark Award for Best New Music Composer and is a member of AWFC and Free the Work. As a film director, she forms ½ of co-directing duo RAY SISTERS with her collaborator/sister Westin Ray and additionally scores the music for their films. Their shorts have won awards at the Directors Guild of America, Austin Film Festival, Savannah Film Festival, and HBO.
Kt Sharp is a Los Angeles-based, New Zealand-born composer, songwriter, and recording engineer. A multi-instrumentalist, Kt is technically trained and has advanced certificates from Trinity and Royal Schools for piano, oboe, double bass, and voice, with a certificate in Performing Arts. During her rock-chick days, Kt fronted a rock band in New Zealand and released two albums, performed on live radio, and received some notable media coverage. While residing in Hollywood, Kt plays drums and audio engineers for a cover band. She also directs and arranges songs for Voices of Reason, a secular choir that has been nationally recognized by the media. Recently graduating from UCLA’s film scoring certificate, Kt made her compositional debut in 2020 with the Amazon Prime docuseries Off the Cuf. As a passionate gamer herself, and as a fangirl of Garry Schyman and the Bioshock series, it is Kt’s ambition to create epic scores for games and VR titles.
Miranda Su is a composer and vocalist born in Los Angeles and raised in Taiwan. She earned a Bachelor’s degree at the National Taiwan University of Arts where she studied Radio and Television. Subsequently, she received her Master’s degree in Music Composition for the Screen at Columbia College Chicago. She was the co-composer and production designer for her graduation project, Alone in Blue (2017), which was nominated for best student drama at the Golden Harvest Award. In 2020, she won first place in the Pioneer Music Competition (Scoring Team). Her recent orchestral piece was performed and recorded on the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox Studio in 2020. Outside of composing, she also has experience as a director, production designer, editor, photographer, graphic designer, and sound recordist.
Introduced to music in Detroit as a classical trumpet player, Michael Van Bodegom-Smith utilizes the foundations of 21st-century music alongside the expressionistic qualities of jazz and blues to traverse through a variety of collaborations in film and other media. Michael believes that diversity matters, and uses his collective experiences throughout different genres to compose a score with the appropriate style and cultural characteristics. Through his relationships with fellow creatives, Michael strives to immerse himself within the foundation of each and every project, from conception to the final cut.
Kaori Åström is a composer and songwriter originally from Japan, currently based in California, US. She started playing piano at the age of four and composing at the age of nine. Her first written music called ‘Three Small Archaic Pieces’ in Baroque style caught the attention and she performed it for a national broadcast TV show in Japan. She came to the US to attend Berklee College of Music as a World Scholarship recipient. After learning Classical, Jazz, Contemporary, Minimal, Ambient, and Rock, she is now focused on writing music for motion pictures. Her music has been performed on Discovery Channel, X-factor, and most recently The American Runestone on Viaplay.
Melissa Axel has written custom end credits songs for short films and produced live-to-film celebrations at the Hollywood Bowl such as The Little Mermaid, La La Land, and Beauty and the Beast, as well as the concert A Whole New World of Alan Menken and online variety specials such as Soundtrack of our Lives to raise money for the MusiCares® COVID-19 Relief Fund (a charity affiliate of The Recording Academy / GRAMMYS®). For the latter, Axel wrote new lyrics for the La La Land parody ‘Another Day Inside’ and went on to co-write new lyrics for The Greatest Showman’s ‘This Is Me’ for the grand finale of HFPA Philanthropy: Empowering the Next Generation, a virtual grants celebration of which Axel was also a creative producer. Axel loves to collaborate with composers and write custom lyrics for narrative projects of all kinds, as well as develop film projects, especially animation and shows with modern twists on the early Hollywood musical style.
Amy (Aizhou) Liu is a bilingual LA-based multi-genre composer and singer-songwriter. A Beijing native and classically trained pianist, Amy found her love in composing contemporary genres while studying at the Berklee College of Music. She is the winner of PBS/WGBH’s 2019 Sting Competition. Amy believes music is a vehicle of social change and aims to empower the Asian and female communities through entertainment.
A professional keyboardist/pianist/producer/composer and arranger, Adam Peri is experienced in different genres including Rock, Pop, Indie, Soul, Electronic, and Country. Adam played a crucial role in some of the top radio and television projects in Israel and received golden albums and had numbers of hit songs in the Israeli music charts. Since moving to the US Adam had the pleasure of working with artists and producers such as Daniel Powter as his keyboard player and co-producer, Alien Ant Farm, Scott Underwood (Train), Michel Wagner, Warren Huart & Eric Johnson, and others.
Jordan Reynolds is a songwriter, artist, and vocalist. In 2020, he released a collection of songs called ‘Anywhere in the World’ under the artist name Jordan Pratt. Jordan grew up in California, but only recently returned to LA after receiving music degrees from Brigham Young University and New England Conservatory. Along with actively performing his own material as a songwriter, Jordan has performed lead roles in musical theater and opera, worked as a session vocalist, and has sung with many choral ensembles, most recently as a cantor for the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Jordan is an avid songwriter with a love for collaboration and an eclectic taste in music. He continues to share his love for music education through his podcast ‘The Holistic Voice’, which is a proud member of the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) podcast network.