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Philip Klein

Soundtrack of Life

The School of Music has many students in performance, theory and music education — but only one in film music composition. 

Philip Klein is the only film scoring major at Northwestern, and he has worked on everything from major motion pictures, including Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, to student films on campus. He also writes music for a Chicago television station’s children’s program.

Klein came to Northwestern to study trumpet performance but decided his sophomore year that he needed a change. “My entire life up until that point had prepared me to be a performer, but I wasn’t happy,” says the senior from Batavia, N.Y. “One of my most important accomplishments was deciding to switch majors into something I loved more than trumpet.”

Klein’s ear for film music might be equated to an art connoisseur’s well-trained eye. “My life is music and film. I love to watch films and study their scores,” he says. “The power and magic that music can instill in a moment fascinates me.”

He is currently co-composing a score to be recorded by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for the feature film Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas, and after graduation he hopes to move to Los Angeles to gain more film scoring experience.

“Hearing a live orchestra breathe life into original music is amazing,” says Klein. “I hope that someday my music will emotionally connect with and move people as the music of composers I look up to does with me.”

— Elizabeth Henley (WCAS09)

Photo by Andrew Campbell