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For Immediate Release
December 24, 2013

Music Instructor Performs on Sound Track for The Book Thief


Donald Foster is secure enough in his art as a clarinet player that he can be selective on projects.

Music Instructor

Except when composer John Williams calls.

Williams, one of America's great film composers, has built a career spanning five decades. He has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, seven British Academy Film Awards, and 21 Grammy Awards. He ranks second all-time with 48 Academy Award nominations, 11 behind Walt Disney.

An associate professor of music for Moreno Valley College, Foster performed on Williams' latest project, the soundtrack for the movie The Book Thief, which is in theatres. Penned by Australian author Markus Zusak, the book describes a girl's relationship with her foster parents during World War II. Published in 2005, The Book Thief was on The New York Times Best Seller list for over 230 weeks.

Foster said it was the chance to work with Williams that brought him to the project. "There is nothing more exciting for a freelance musician in Los Angeles who wants to do film and television work than working with Williams," Foster said. "He comes from a school of film composing that is nearly extinct. Make no mistake, I am sincerely in admiration of many other composers in the business-Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, Blake Neely, Alexandre Desplat, James Horner, James Newton Howard, and Hans Zimmer-all geniuses in their own right-but there is something instantly remarkable about being under Williams' baton. His music is intensely thematic."

Foster, who has worked on numerous movies, is becoming a regular musician on Williams' projects. The two first worked together on the Indiana Jones movie Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Since then Foster has worked on The Adventures of Tin Tin The Secret of the Unicorn, War Horse, and the re-recording of the NBC Sports theme. Foster recently completed work at FOX Studios on the upcoming movie The Maze Runner. He's also working regularly on the ABC show Revenge and the upcoming TV show Resurrection.

Music Instructor

But he's always willing to take a call from Williams.

"I once saw an interview where Williams mentioned that he spends quite a lot of time on what we consider the simplest of melodies. Think of the famous Jaws music. Has there ever been a time in your life that you can't remember recognizing the famous low-note motif as the universal signal to get the hell out of the water? It is not easy to come up with a melody that is so instantly memorable and iconic."

In addition to teaching and doing scoring work for film and television, Foster performs regularly with the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, the Pasadena and the Santa Barbara symphonies. Over the course of his career he's received standing ovations, however, he received something for his work on the The Book Thief he never imagined-an on-screen credit.

"Soloists with features are often singled out for screen credit, and it usually involves nudging on the part of the composer, the music contractor, and sometimes, the music engineer," Foster said. "I had no idea that I was even being considered."