Back when composer Alf Clausen studied music theory at North Dakota State University, he hid away during many frigid winter nights in the school's basement practice space, studying Henry Mancini's book, Sounds and Scores. As he read Mancini declare himself the luckiest guy in Hollywood because his music was recorded by a fabulous orchestra, including the legendary Vincent DeRosa on French horn, Clausen himself dreamt of becoming a film composer in Los Angeles one day. "So now we [fast forward] a few years - not only am I doing what he's doing, but Vince DeRosa plays in my orchestra for The Simpsons, and is one of my best friends," Clausen says. "And I'm living a dream, and it doesn't get any better than that."
Of course, Clausen put in a great deal of hard work along the way. After graduating from North Dakota State University, he studied arranging and composition at Berklee College of Music. He has also worked as a French hornist and bassist and been an instructor at Berklee.
"Clausen has been the composer for several television series, including Moonlighting, for which he received six Emmy nominations; The Simpsons , for which he received two Emmy awards, three Annie awards, and three International Monitor Awards, as well as 16 additional Emmy nominations; ALF (no relation); and The Critic . His feature film credits include Half-Baked and Number One With A Bullet, and he contributed additional music and orchestrations to films including Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Splash , and Weird Science.
His CD credits (as songwriter, conductor and producer) include the hit Rhino Records releases "The Simpsons: Songs In The Key Of Springfield: Original Music From The Television Series" and "Go Simpsonic With The Simpsons: More Original Music From The Television Series." His music is featured on the Universal Studios Tram Tour 2000, and he has also composed music for his own big band, The Alf Clausen Jazz Orchestra, and for the bands of Buddy Rich, Thad Jones & Mel Lewis, Ray Charles, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton & Denny Christianson."
And best of all, Clausen has found the entire process just as rewarding as he imagined it would be. "I've been very fortunate," he says. "I have never worked a day out of the music business in my entire life. It's phenomenal. I've done things I haven't wanted to do occasionally, but it's all been a means to an end." Berklee College of Music presented Clausen with an Honorary Doctor of Music Degree in 1996.
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