ASCAP Celebrates 20 Years of Film Scoring Workshops; Founder Fred Karlin Ignored

By • July 8, 2008

ASCAP has announced the names of 12 composers that the organization has selected to participate in its film and television scoring workshop for 2008 in a historical retrospective press release that discussed many details of the 20 year history of the workshop but did not include any mention of the workshop’s founder, creator, and leader for many years, the late veteran composer and film music educator Fred Karlin.

The composers selected for this year include: Marc Baril (N. Vancouver, BC), Eric Hachikian (NY, NY), Jaebon Hwang (NY, NY), Jeff Kryka (Los Angeles, CA), Adam Langston (London, UK), Patrick Murray (Austin, TX), Sascha Peres (Vienna, Austria), Anna Rice (Dublin, Ireland), Luke Richards (London, UK), Tilman Ritter (Berlin, Germany), Austin Wintory (Los Angeles, CA), and Gerrit Wunder (Vienna, Austria). The workshop is hosted by composer Richard Bellis.

This year, guest speakers include Doug Frank, President of Music Operations for Warner Bros. Pictures, Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning composer John Debney, along with director Tom Shadyac and music editor Jeff Carson. Industry veterans who regularly contribute their time and talent to the program include: music editor Michael Ryan co-founder of Mad 4 Music, Jo Ann Kane Music Services, legendary recording engineer Armin Steiner, orchestrator David Slonaker and concert master Endre Granat.

The workshop was founded and developed by legendary film composer Fred Karlin, whose name was conspicuously absent from ASCAP’s historical press release which included a detailed retrospective on the workshop. In 1988 Karlin, a former columnist for Film Music Magazine, founded the workshop then called The ASCAP/Fred Karlin Film Scoring Workshop and led the workshop for many years after that. He passed away in 2004.

“The omission of any reference at all to Fred Karlin in ASCAP’s historical retrospective press release about the 20 years the workshop has been held, not to mention stripping his name off the workshop, is hardly an appropriate tribute to a truly legendary composer and educator who spent years of his life building this workshop from the ground up and leading it for many years. At the very least, ASCAP should restore the original name, “The ASCAP/Fred Karlin Film Scoring Workshop” as a way of respecting and paying appropriate honor and respect to Fred’s incredible contributions to film composers and to ASCAP’s film and television department with this workshop, just as Buddy Baker’s name was retained in the title to the NYU/ASCAP film scoring workshop after he passed away. This is a wonderful workshop, and Fred deserves appropriate credit and acknowledgment for creating it,” said Film Music Magazine publisher Mark Northam.

“This annual workshop is one of the key activities of ASCAP’s Film & Television Music Department,” said Nancy Knutsen, Senior Vice President of Film & Television Repertory. “The multifaceted curriculum offers a one-of-a-kind experience for aspiring composers to receive hands-on training, real-world knowledge and advice from professionals at the highest levels of the film and television music industry.”

“The ASCAP Television and Film Scoring Workshop with Richard Bellis is an invaluable experience for any aspiring composer lucky enough to attend,” said Mike Todd, Senior Director of Film & TV Music. “It presents real world information and experiences that can’t be learned any other way. ASCAP has always been a leader in providing opportunities and programs for new generations of composers and songwriters, and the Workshop is another outstanding example of this kind of career development.”

Read related editorial article about ASCAP’s omission of workshop founder and creator Fred Karlin here.


By Michael Stern on July 9th, 2008 at 8:14 am

I was Mr. Karlin’s Recording Engineer in the final years of his life. Together we remixed and / or remastered “The Stalking Moon”, “Futureworld”, Hostage Flight”, “Murder C.O.D.”, “Dadah Is Death”, and “Final Jeopardy”. An Oscar winner, Fred was a passionate & seminal figure in this industry in terms of his music and his educational outreach- his book, “On The Track” was considered to be the film scoring bible by many aspiring young composers. It is a sad and unfortunate omission that ASCAP has chosen to make no reference to the program that is synonymous with his name.

By George Whitty on July 9th, 2008 at 9:33 am

I love Fred Karlin and consider “On the Track” to be the huge masterpiece in the world of film scoring books. But as someone who did the workshop last year, I can absolutely assure you that there’s not a soul involved in it who would make a decision to slight Fred Karlin; Mike Todd, Richard Bellis and the rest of the people who run the workshop are among the sweetest, most respectful, and absolutely most skilled people I’ve ever met. This is an unfortunate oversight at worst. I also think that the language “stripped his name off the workshop” is unduly harsh; your approach, keeping the name, strikes me as a good one and I think it’s what I’d have done, but ASCAP decided to list the name of the person actually running the workshop, Richard Bellis, just as they had listed Fred Karlin’s name when he was actually running it, and I sincerely doubt any ill will toward Mr. Karlin was involved there. I have to say that the workshop smokes, it’s nothing but an incredible force for good in the film scoring universe, especially given that it’s provided free of charge by ASCAP…

By Mark Northam on July 9th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

I agree with you, George, that the workshop is a great thing, and I do know that Richard and the folks at ASCAP do their best to maintain and continue the workshop that Fred designed and built. But given Fred Karlin’s unique role in building this important workshop, I think it’s only fair that he be credited in the name, just as ASCAP did with the “NYU/ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in Memory of Buddy Baker”. It’s fitting tribute to the man who conceived, created and built what you, I and so many others have benefited from.

And also, naming it is one thing. But to publish to the entire industry a 20 year retrospective history of the workshop and not even mention Fred once, despite he was the founder, created it, and built it into much of what it is today? Not a coincidence. That was a choice, and a bad one by ASCAP. Everyone in the industry knows Fred built that workshop, and he worked closely with Nancy Knutsen and others at ASCAP on it even when I took the workshop 14 years ago. Thumbs up for the workshop, but thumbs down for ASCAP leaving founder Fred Karlin’s name completely off its history.

By Mark Northam on July 14th, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Well, a week later and no changes to the historical press release or the info page on the ASCAP site to add Fred Karlin’s name or give him an ounce of credit for the workshop he created.

I guess we can safely assume at this point that ASCAP’s “rewriting of history” to exclude workshop creator and founder Fred Karlin was no accident.


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