is said to be the convergence of opportunity and preparedness.
If that is the case, then versatile composer Philip Giffin has
proven to be a very lucky guy. The talented composer has benefited
by being in the right place at the right time. It also does
not hurt that his first student film-scoring gig received an
Academy Award nomination. Giffin’s talent has earned him
respect through musical assignments from Alex North, Mike Post,
Danny Elfman, Michael Kamen, Richard Gibbs and Graham Yost.
From comedy to drama, Giffin has proven to be adept in all realms
of musical composition. The composer of NBC’s "Boomtown"
is also an accomplished record producer.
A graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Philip
Giffin has scored and contributed music to numerous features
and television programs including "Like Mike," "Fatal
Instinct," "Beethoven’s 3rd (and 4th)",
"Muppet’s Tonight" and more. As an orchestrator,
his many credits include "Sommersby," "Die Hard"
(I and II) and "Lethal Weapon" (I and II).
Giffin grew up in Wooster, Ohio in a house filled with jazz;
"I grew up with Big Band and Frank Sinatra. My father has
a musician’s ear." At age nine, Giffin got his first
real guitar. Soon thereafter he formed a band and has been in
some form of ensemble ever since. It wasn’t until his
senior year of high school that Giffin began formally studying
music. He studied piano, music theory and music composition.
While a senior, his father showed him an ad in the jazz magazine
Down Beat for Berklee School of Music in Boston. Giffin applied
and was accepted. While at Berklee, Giffin scored a documentary
titled "Kudzu" for a Boston University student. The
film went on to receive numerous awards including an Academy
Award nomination. After four years at Berklee, Giffin graduated
with honors and stayed in Boston for three more years touring
with nightclub bands. Although he had never been to California,
he decided that Los Angeles was the place to live if he were
to pursue TV and film composing. He left Boston, stopped at
his home in Ohio, bought an old car and drove to Los Angeles.
While many first experiences to L.A. are sharing cheap apartments
with strangers, Giffin arrived and stayed in a Brentwood mansion
for six weeks. "I had a good friend in college, Catherine
Goldwyn [of the MGM Goldwyn], whose mother, Jennifer Coleman,
I met at Catherine’s birthday party. Her mother was incredibly
nice and generous and offered me their home if I ever came to
Los Angeles," said Giffin. He stayed with Jennifer and
John Coleman in their home, "It couldn’t be a better
introduction to Southern California and I’ll be forever
grateful to the Colemans" explained Giffin.
Almost immediately, Giffin received work with music publishing
companies transcribing music for the purpose of making lead
sheets [Sheet Music]. Of the hundreds of songs he was transcribing,
Giffin was absolutely floored by the incredible ability of one
singer in Particular, and that was vocalist Karen Blake. Giffin
immersed himself in Karen’s beautiful performances for
over a year before having the opportunity to finally meet the
singer in person. Soon after the introduction, Giffin not only
became Blake’s producer, but her husband as well. It was
during this time when Giffin was performing his original music
in a band as well as producing and arranging music for various
artists, that Jennifer Coleman introduced him to the legendary
composer Alex North. North hired Giffin to write source music
for him. He then was given the opportunity to become the musical
director for Connie Stevens. He toured with her for over two
years where he conducted full orchestras throughout the U.S.
as well as Japan.
After returning to Los Angeles, a college friend, Richard Gibbs,
composer and Oingo Boingo member, introduced Giffin to fellow
band mate and composer Danny Elfman. Elfman asked Giffin to
write a mini film score to include in "Pee Wee’s
Big Adventure." "Danny wanted an over-the-top corny
score for the movie-within-the movie of Pee Wee’s Life,"
He continued arranging and making contacts. Through another
Berklee alum, music editor Christopher Brooks, Giffin met film
composer Michael Kamen. Giffin became his orchestrator, "I
feel like Kamen was my mentor. He taught me a lot about film
composing while working in the trenches with him," said
continued to orchestrate and write cues for Michael Kamen on
such film as "Die Hard" (I and II) and "Lethal
Weapon" (I and II). Richard Gibbs also hired Giffin as
an orchestrator and music producer on film projects. He worked
with him on the first season of the Fox hit TV series "The
Simpsons." Through another Gibbs recommendation, Giffin
achieved his first solo composing assignment, scoring the animated
Disney series "Dark Wing Duck." "Dark Wing Duck"
incorporated a full orchestra into the weekly series. The assignment
opened other doors for Giffin in television and feature scoring
from comedies such as "Muppets Tonight" and "Beethoven’s
4th" to dramas such as "Deadly Relations" and
Philip Giffin and his wife Karen live in Southern California
with their two children. When Giffin is not in the studio scoring
TV and movies, he continues to produce records. He recently
produced his wife, Karen Blake’s album titled, "Small