Tom Schneller  

Film music scholar and composer






Welcome to my website! I am a film music reseacher, writer, lecturer, and composer. My area of specialty is American film music, with a particular focus on the work of Bernard Herrmann and John Williams. Issues of style and form in film music have been of particular interest to me, and I have published articles on modular form, leitmotif technique, and teleological genesis in The Musical Quarterly, Popular Music History, and The Journal of Film Music. I wrote my dissertation on the music of Herrmann.

In addition to my research on film music, I have scored a number of films for student directors in Cincinnati, New York, Rochester, and Ithaca. I have also participated in several film scoring workshops, including the 2004 NYU-ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in New York with composer Mark Snow (The X-Files, Smallville); the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program with Hummie Mann; and Steven Scott Smalley’s workshop Contemporary Orchestration for Film and Television.The practical insights offered by these industry professionals on the art and craft of film scoring have been a formative influence on my own approach to writing about film music.

Although in recent years I have focused on musicological and music-theoretical writing, my educational background is in composition. I obtained my Doctor of Musical Arts from Cornell University, where I studied with Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra, and David Rosen, and a Masters degree in composition from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory. I also studied composition with Hugh Rice at Oxford University, England, and with George Tsontakis at Sarah Lawrence College. My concert music has been performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Holland Symphony Orchestra, the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, the CSULB Symphony Orchestra, the CCM Philharmonia, eighth blackbird, and others.

I am currently working as a lecturer in music history at Ithaca College, where I have taught survey courses in all periods of western music from antiquity to the present, as well as a seminar on the development of the Symphony between Sammartini and Sibelius. I have also taught as a lecturer in music history and music theory at Cornell University, where my courses have included a survey of Western music history (1700 to the present) and all units of a four-semester music theory sequence.

I live in Ithaca, in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, with my wife Lenora and my sons Theo and Julian.