King Loaf Interview: Composer, arranger & producer Joseph Trapanese

Joseph Trapanese Biography

Joseph Trapanese is a Los Angeles-based composer, arranger, orchestrator, and producer of music for film, television, multimedia, theater, and concerts.

Original composition projects for film and television include Sony Pictures Television’s original web series The Bannen Way and numerious scores for live action and animated films from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.  Further contributions as arranger and orchestrator include Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, What Happens in Vegas and Traitor.  Alongside composer Daniel Licht, Joseph produced and orchestrated the scores for seasons 3 and 4 of Showtime’s original series Dexter.

Joseph collaborated with Daft Punk (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo) on the score for Walt Disney Picture’s Tron: Legacy for two years, from pre-production through completion.  His arrangements and orchestrations for the soundtrack are described as “resolutely grand” (SPIN Magazine) and “stiring… ominous, hypnotic” (The Hollywood Reporter).  The BBC described the work as “a sophisticated integration of acoustic and electronic instrumentation… majestic… rich, solemn tones… saturnine orchestration and a muscular rhythm,” while Billboard Magazine called it a “seamless fusion of organic and electronic elements.”

Joseph’s music for theater is performed primarily in New York City, most notably in productions by The Actors Company Theatre (TACT). Recent productions include T.S. Eliot’s The Cocktail Party, Arthur Miller’s Incident at Vichy, Vaclav Havel’s The Memorandum, and Edward Bond’s The Sea.  His music for their production of Milan Stitt’s The Runner Stumbles was described by the New York Times as “Precise and evocative… wistful, ringing melodies.”

In 2009 Joseph won ASCAP’s Harold Arlen Film and Television Award and in 2007 won the first annual Jerry Goldsmith Award from UCLA. His concert music has been performed by Eighth Blackbird, The United States Air Force Band, and conductors Alexander Mickelthwate and Vince Mendoza.  He is a lecturer in Electronic Music and Composition at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music. He completed his B.M. in Composition at the Manhattan School of Music and M.A. in Music for Visual Media at UCLA with support from the Henry Mancini fund. Teachers include Giampaolo Bracali, Bruce Broughton, Paul Chihara, Roger Bourland, Jack Smalley, and Martin Bresnick, and brief studies with Louis Andriessen, Aaron Jay Kernis, Julia Wolfe, Mark Snow, and Ira Newborn.