No Time for Despair

If you get rejected, it doesn’t mean you suck

by Stephan Eicke

Since test screenings have become a much-loved tradition in Hollywood, the number of rejected film scores per year has sky-rocketed. More often than not, temp tracks are chosen to accompany the film for the test screenings since the composer is still working on the original score. Temp tracks, meaning “temporary tracks”, is a misleading term in a way. Musical pieces that are being put on a rough cut even during the editing process are “temporary“ in the sense only that they are not supposed to make their way into the final film. Read more

International Networking


This years’s Media Sound Hamburg ended with the last workshop day of the MasterClass Sound Design under the direction of the Mexican sound designer Martin Hernández, who was twice nominated for the Academy Award.

For ten days, film composers*, game musicians* and sound designers* from all over the world worked on concrete projects in various workshops, master classes and forums. International industry professionals and renowned experts*from 14 countries gave participants*from 14 countries valuable tips for their further professional careers. From 8 to 17 June 2018, around 500 visitors*attended lectures, public forums, awards ceremonies, film talks and the Farewell Party at the Elsa-Brändström-Haus in Hamburg-Blankenese, including scholarship holders including Yohanan Bekele from Ethiopia, Louis Edlinger from Switzerland, Dora Filipovic from Serbia, Mert Gencer and Hans Nieuwenhuijsen from the Netherlands and Rethabile Nyamate from South Africa.

“We are very happy about the great cooperation and the support of the online portal Music in Africa. Thanks to a scholarship we were able to invite the very talented sound designer Rethabile Nyamate to Hamburg. In general, the support of young composers is very important to us,” says Achim Esser-Mamat, director of MediasSoundHamburg.

Highlights of this year’s MediaSoundHamburg for the professional audience included the Masterclass SoundDesign with the Mexican sound editor and sound designer Martin Hernández (Oscar nominations for Birdman or The unexpected power of ignorance and The Revenant), the MasterClass GameMusic with the Finnish composer Ari Pulkkinen, who composed the music for the video game Angry Birds, the MasterClass FilmMusic with the Danish composer Frans Bak (Doctor Foster, Lilyhammer, Thirteen Steps Down) and the MasterClass Orchestration with the jazz pianist, composer and arranger Kuno Schmid. The lectures on natural sounds, urban sound design, artificial intelligence and sound branding were very well attended.

For the fifth time, the Young Talent Award Media Music was presented as part of Media Sound Hamburg. This year, the expert jury awarded two first prizes to Lev Tyrnov from Ukraine and Rune Eskildsen from Denmark. Her submitted works for string quartet were premiered by the renowned Kaiser Quartet on the evening of the award ceremony.

This year saw the first Nordic Media Sound Day with films and workshops by film composers and sound designers from neighbouring Scandinavian countries. Among others, the Finnish sound artist Kirsi Ihalainen presented her new sound art and design product KELOSOUND, Thomas Lund from Genelec spoke about Loudness Wars & Tipping Point. At the end of the day, jazz pianist Martin Tingvall played some pieces from his programme. The Nordic Media Sound Day was supported by the Danish composer network BFM (Brancheklubben for Film- og Mediekomponister).

Parallel to MediaSoundHamburg, the augenmusik series of events for pupils*, trainees, students, teachers*, lecturers* and media educators* took place at the same time. In various workshops, lectures and cinema screenings, the function of sound, noise and music in connection with moving images was examined. Highlights of the programme were the fully booked workshops “Wie entstehen Geräusche im Film” for school classes from grade 6 and the film screening of the international cinema film Astrid by Pernille Fischer Christensen in the presence of Danish film composer Nicklas Schmidt.

MSH Media Sound Hamburg is a project of the International Film, Television & Music Academy. In addition to the Department of Media and Culture of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, long-standing sponsors and partners include the Fondation SUISA, Buma Cultuur, Berufsvereinigung Filmton, DEFKOM, Composers Club e.V., Interessengemeinschaft Hamburger Musikwirtschaft, Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft, HAW and Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein.

The 9th International Summer Academy for Film Music, Gamemusic and Sounddesign will take place in Hamburg from August 9 to 18, 2019.


Of Vaders and Raiders

Interview with Ben Burtt on film music and sound design

by Stephan Eicke

Ben Burtt is responsible for the sound effects and -design on such classics as Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek and Super 8. We sat down with him for a chat about his sound design and how he worked with John Williams over the course of the years. Read more

Special Event: Young Talent Award Media Music

13/06/2018, 19:30
Award Ceremony with the Kaiser Quartett & Frans Bak

For this year’s Young Talent Award Media Music, young musicians, composers, game musicians and sound designer had to set short stories by renowned American authors such as Stephen King, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Joyce Carol Oate to music, who in turn were inspired by Edward Hopper’s pictures for their stories. The short stories are summarized in the anthology “In Sunlight or in Shadow”

A three-member jury picks the winner. The first three award-winning compositions will be performed live by the Kaiser Quartet at the award ceremony. This year’s director of MeisterClass Filmmusik, Frans Bak, will also perform live.

Admission: free
Location: Elsa Brändström Haus, Hamburg-Blankenese

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Programm MasterClass Film Music

Composing for TV Series

14/06/2018, 10:00 – 13:00
Frans Bak

Tuition Fee: 50 € (incl. 19 % VAT) or
Forum Flaterate: 150 € (incl. VAT) for any numbers of forums or
1800 € (incl. 19% VAT) for any of master classes, workshops, forums and special events
Student Discount:
20 %
Working Language:
Elsa Brändström Haus, Hamburg-Blankenese

Get Tickets

Frans Bak is a Danish composer, choral conductor, saxophonist, and pianist. He is a graduate of Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium, and is known for his work as a jazz performer and composer of film music. He creates the score for the Danish television series Forbrydelsen, the BBC series Doctor Foster as well as the American remake, The Killing, on Netflix. His latest projects include Lilyhammer on NRK1/Netflix, starring Steven Van Zandt and the British adaption of the Ruth Rendell novel Thirteen Steps Down. Frans Bak has also scored numerous commercials, short films and feature films including three Academy Award nominated shorts Ernst & The Light, Sweethearts? and Helmer & Son.

“One oft he great things about Frans Bak’s music is that he has myriad of different approaches to creating tension and suspense. Some of the magic of its ability to find lots of different ways to bring you to the edge of your seat while at the same time not wearing out its welcome … I think the sophistication and the beauty of Frans’ music really lets you feel the different nuances of fear and intrigue in compelling ways that are then personalized by the different characters which are introduced.”

Thomas Golubic, Music Supervisor at Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and The Killing.


Film: Becoming Astrid

14/06/2018, 14:00
Film screening with the Danish film composer Nicklas Schmidt

Even before the official cinema release on 06/12/2018 (distribution: DCM) we are showing the international co-production Astrid by Pernille Fischer Christensen. She has also written the screenplay together with children’s book author Kim Fupz Aakeson. The film tells about the early years of the famous Swedish book author Astrid Lindgren, whose children’s books have influenced millions of people to this day.

“My film about Astrid Lindgren’s youth is a personal homage to one of Scandinavia’s greatest artists. A declaration of love to a woman whose strong personality has gone beyond the prevailing norms of gender and religion in her society.”
Pernille Fischer Christensen

Astrid and her siblings are lucky to grow up on their parents’ parish farm in Vimmerby. Although strict religious values determine the daily routine, Mother Hanna and Father Samuel always give them a sense of security and a sense of freedom. They make it possible for Astrid to attend a secondary school, which is actually only reserved for rich middle-class children, and they do not stand in the way of the 18-year-old when the owner of the local newspaper offers her a job as a volunteer in the editorial office. Reinhold Blomberg not only teaches her how to proofread and write texts, he also falls in love with her. When she gets pregnant, Astrid makes a momentous decision: she refuses to marry him and wants to take care of herself and her son Lasse alone.

ASTRID (Unga Astrid / Becoming Astrid)
Sweden/Germany/Denmark 2018, 123 min.
Swedish original version with English subtitles
Director: Pernille Fischer Christensen
Actors/Actresses: Alba August (Astrid), Maria Bonnevie (Hanna), Trine Dyrholm (Marie), Henrik Rafaelsen (Blomberg), Magnus Krepper (Samuel), Björn Gustafsson (Sture Lindgren)
Admission: 5 €
Group tickets for school classes: 2 € per person
Venue: Blankeneser Kino, Blankeneser Bahnhofstr. 4, 22587 Hamburg, Germany


Learn from the Experts

For the eighth time, Hamburg is a meeting place for film composers, musicians and sound designers from all over the world: With the MediaSoundHamburg the participants work from 8. to 17 June 2018 on concrete projects and receive from considerable and price-crowned experts ins new suggestions for their artistic work. Read more

Forum: Psychoacoustics

13/06/2018, 17:00
John Groves

Psychoacoustics: The Power of Sound and Music to control our minds


The use of sound and music in an applied sense, such in films or brand communications, has traditionally been steered by intuition, often relying on one persons auditory memory-bank to supply the triggers for creating the desired specific and universal emotions, associations, and perceptions.

The past years have witnessed an increased development of structured systems which have enabled a more efficient and effective application of sound and music. They are currently being used in areas such as Sound Branding, advertising, Receptive Sound Therapy in the healthcare sector, and others. Located at the cross-roads of science and art, this approach has removed a lot of the guesswork involved with music and sound choices and has enabled the creation and validation of more effective and accurate perceptions, improving the chances of sound achieving the intended outcome. The discipline that observes the way sound is perceived and how it effects us is called Psychoacoustics. By better understanding the influence of sound and music on our minds, we will be able to apply it more effectively.

In this forum we examine the phenomena sound and music from a perceptual perspective and observes its effect on our emotions, our memory, and on our health. It demonstrates how sound is capable of exerting psychological power over our thoughts and on our biochemistry, having a profound neurological effects on the nervous system. We will also observe how sonic impulses and vibrations can synchronize brainwaves for effectively relieving stress, promoting sleep and boosting concentration.

Tuition Fee: 50 € (incl. 19 % VAT) or
Forum Flaterate: 150 € (incl. VAT) for any numbers of forums or
1800 € (incl. 19% VAT) for any of master classes, workshops, forums and special events
Student Discount:
20 %
Working Language:
Elsa Brändström Haus, Hamburg-Blankenese

Get Tickets

John Groves is a composer, music producer and consultant and is considered the pioneer of sound branding. He developed a structured system for creating and implementing brand and corporate sound identities, which forms the basis for today’s market standard. Groves created unforgettable melodies for brands like Olympus, Mentos, Bacardi, Mars and Visa.


Workshop: Machine Intelligence for Music & Sound

16/06/2018, 10:00 –16:00
Than van Nispen tot Pannerden

In an age of rapidly evolving artificial intelligence our domain of (media) music, sound and sonic creativity get more and more in the news. With Sony releasing ‘World’s 1st AI music album, called Hello World and with music written by an AI. Universal Music announcing it will use AI for soundtrack generation and AIVA being the first virtual artist recognised by SACEM (an author’s rights society). There is a lot to discuss in the field of music and sound in the (near) future. In this all-day workshop we’ll cover some state-of-the-art Machine intelligence in the context of music, sound, media and performances, will have some hands-on experience with readily available AI-tools and will learn about historical and recent AI-activities and -developments for music, sound and media.

In this workshop you will have a little bit of time to start working on a short project with AI.

The participants will be asked to bring their own laptop and to have certain application pre-installed like Wekinator by Rebecca Fiebrink. Participants are invited to bring a webcam and/or other device to use as an input, this can also be a midi-controller, microphone, or any of the items on this list for the AI
No coding skills are required to follow this workshop

Tuition Fee: 150 € (incl. 19 % VAT) or
Flaterate: 1800 € (incl.19 % VAT)
for any of master classes, workshops, forums and special events
Student Discount
: 20%
Language: englisch
Location: Elsa Brändström Haus, Hamburg-Blankenese

Get Tickets

Than van Nispen tot Pannerden is a Dutch composer for media music and describes himself as an interactive music strategist. He is member of the board of the Music Institute for MultiMedia MiMM and co-founder of the platform DutchGameMusic. Than van Nispen tot Pannerden is also President of our this year composition competition YOUNG TALENT AWARD MEDIA MUSIC.

No Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial Intelligence as a chance and threat to music in the media
Stephan Eicke