- by Kevin Leysath II -

Kevin Leysath II

Hello, my name is Kevin Leysath II, a rising junior at Nazareth College and a music composition major. What brought me to Nazareth was how nice and welcoming the campus was as soon as you entered. Since the community is small, I have become more close to my peers and professors. Also, the connections through the School of Music have helped me collaborate with students from other colleges such as Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Every semester, music composition majors have the choice of participating in the RIT film making artist call meeting. This artist call meeting is an opportunity to connect with other creatives to engage in a collaboration on visual media projects. We present our music and the filmmakers present their film ideas. At the end of the meeting, if we get contacted by a filmmaker and we both like each other’s works and ideas, we start working together. I have written music for two films so far, my latest one was personally my best music I have written in my opinion so far. This helps me with being better at communicating with others on a semi-professional level and gaining more connections with filmmakers.

I want to pursue a career in film scoring after college and with the help of my SPARK grant, I will be participating in the screen music program this summer which will be helping me learn and grow as a composer for film, television and video games. This program consists of talented visiting artists and special guests from around the world such as Inon Zur and Alison Plante. The program explores the fundamentals of film and video game scoring in masterclasses, lectures, colloquiums, and workshops focused on composition.

August 2021 update of the screen music program:

Who offered the “screen music program”?

Paolo Fosso, the program director and the CEO of Merry-Go-Sound. Paolo was also the president of the Conservatory of Pavia from 2010 to 2013. Selected by the European Commission in Brussels as Expert both in the MEDIA and in the Culture programs. The company produces the highSCORE Festival and the Screen Music Program. Merry-Go-Sound also provides music for films, video games, trailers, TV shows, and commercials. Located in Milan, they compose, record live, and mix in-house to deliver the highest quality possible.

What have you gained from this experience?

I could write an essay on how much I have gained but the Screen Music Program was very beneficial, was filled with excellent feedback and given knowledge that was beyond what I expected. Two significant things I will keep in mind mostly is when Inon Zur, the composer for the Fallout video game series and many more said, “always keep the rejections, other companies will like it” and “never say no to a gig or collaboration opportunity, unless you can’t possibly do it because you never know where it can take you.” Also, when you’re working in a live recording, you need to do things such as having a positive attitude, smile, tell them the background behind your music they are playing, and to overall make a connection with your players. Preparation is also vital, being the first one in the building shows that you are ready to work. Another key moment was Norihiko Hibino’s masterclass. He gave me an endless list of things that I should get to such as great sound libraries and equipment. I have also learned more about mixing and mastering to make sure the SFX, dialogue and the music are balanced in a film or video game. Alison Plante has also given us lessons on the Enterprise of Film Scoring. I also had a workshop that was taught by Deigo Ricchiuti about scoring for video game development and I ended up working with other program participants to write music for a clip of video gameplay. Overall, this experience has given me great things to enhance my craft in film and video game scoring in all aspects.

Virtual or in person? (Where?)

It was virtual this year because of COVID, but I hope to participate again where it usually will take place in Italy.

What difference does the SPARK grant make for you?

The SPARK grant helped me so I didn’t have to pay out of my own pocket for this experience.