BIOGRAPHY

Luck 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," explained Giffin.

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 Giffin.

Giffin 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 "Boomtown."
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 Potatoes."