Interview: James Levine (The Last Ship, Glee, American Horror Story) [VIDEO]

We recently had the wonderful opportunity of chatting with composer James Levine, and discussing his recent work on The Last Ship and Glee, as well as the variety of other TV shows he works or has worked on in his rich career. He speaks with us about scoring different genres while maintaining the same character focus, his relationships with directors and showrunners, and the kinds of things you learn working at Remote Control Studios, where he has his own studio space to work in every day. Check out his biography below (courtesy of CW3PR), and have a look/listen to the full interview below.

“EMMY nominated composer James Levine has established himself as a pre-eminent talent in television scoring. His diverse projects span across all genres, and have bolstered the success of many hit shows. At TNTLevine is a household name, currently scoring Rizzoli & Isles, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, Major Crimes, starring Mary McDonnell, and the highly acclaimed The Last Ship, starring Eric Dane. In The Last Ship, Levine brings together dark tones and intense percussion to invigorate this hit post-apocalyptic military drama. 

James has also composed the music for many other hit series including the first three seasons of FX‘s American Horror Story franchise, for which he received an Emmy nomination in 2014 for AHS: Coven, Nip/Tuck, starring Julian McMahon and Dylan Walsh, and Damages, starring Glen Close and Rose Byrne, Fox‘s Glee, starring Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison, TNT’s The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick, and USA Network‘s Royal Pains, starring Mark Feuerstein and Paulo Costanzo.  

James‘s education and career began in Boston where he attended Tufts University, while also studying with renowned instructor Craig Najjar. It was there that he gained recognition as a pianist, musical director and advertising composer. His passion for scoring film and television brought James to Los Angeles where he began work with Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer. This mentorship and collaboration led to James composing additional music for films such as Pearl Harbor, Something’s Gotta Give, Madagascar, and a co-scoring credit for Gore Verbinski‘s The Weatherman. Since 2001, James has been honored by ASCAP and BMI with over 20 film and television music awards, including those for most performed underscore. In 2011, James founded the Law and Audio production music brand with Extreme Music and Sony.

Levine‘s music can also be heard in NBC‘s The Blacklist, Ironside, Do No Harm, The New Normal, CBS‘s NCIS: Los Angeles, TNT‘s Raising the Bar, Sony/TriStar‘s Running with Scissors, and Warner Bros.The In-Laws.”


Interview with James Levine – Video Version


Interview with James Levine – Audio Version


Our thanks to James Levine and CW3PR for making this interview happen.

Written by: Meena Shamaly

Meena Shamaly is a composer, artist, multi-instrumentalist and performance poet based in Melbourne, Australia. His music covers a wide range of styles and sensibilities and often intersects with his poetry. He is part of international production house EON Sounds, working on various film, TV, video game, and production library projects.

Film and Game Composers offers a wide range of interviews, reviews, guides and tutorials for composers and musicians who are interested in writing music for film, TV and video games.

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