The Death of Stalin with Christopher Willis


Moscow, 1953. After being in power for nearly 30 years, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin takes ill and quickly dies. Now the members of the Council of Ministers scramble for power. Starring Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs, Simon Russell Beale, and more.

The Society of Composers and Lyricists Seminar: The Death Of Stalin - Christopher WillisChristopher Willis is a composer working in film and television. His score for Armando Iannucci’s second feature film, political satire The Death of Stalin, has garnered much praise. He won the International Film Music Critics Association’s award for Best Original Score for a Comedy Film, took top honors at the International Sound and Film Music Festival, and was nominated at the British Independent Film Awards and Hollywood Music in Media Awards. He is currently scoring Iannucci’s next film, The Personal History of David Copperfield.

In television, Willis is known for his work on HBO’s hit comedy series, Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. A favorite of Disney creatives, he currently scores Disney Junior’s The Lion Guard and the multiple Emmy Award®-winning Disney Mickey Mouse shorts. For the latter, he has been nominated the last five consecutive years for the Annie Award for Music in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production, and has been awarded the honor four of those times. His work on Duck The Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special earned him a 2017 Primetime Emmy® nomination in the Outstanding Original Music & Lyrics category for the song “Jing-A-Ling-A-Ling.” He recently completed the music for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a major new attraction for Disney World due to open in the fall of 2019.

Willis was born in Australia and grew up in the UK. He trained principally as a classical concert pianist and musicologist, attending the Royal Academy of Music in London and completing a PhD in Musicology at the University of Cambridge, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the music of Domenico Scarlatti. In 2007 he relocated to California to pursue a film music career and assisted on many Hollywood feature film scores, working with renowned composers including Carter Burwell, Harry Gregson-Williams, Rupert Gregson-Williams, and Henry Jackman. He also arranged the score for the Oscar®-winning animated short, Feast.

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