A note with composer, Lance Montgomery

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Photography courtesy Lance Montgomery

Over the course of four months, Lance Montgomery feverishly constructed musical notes to match the brilliant animation of BYU’s short animation film, “The Dream Giver.“


The efforts of the entire crew paid off as the dust settled and a polished product remained. On stage at the College Television awards, hosted by the Emmy Foundation, Elijah Wood announced to the audience that “the winner of the next award blew away the judges so much that he is the only composer here tonight,” followed by announcing Montgomery’s name. He’d won.


It all started from the bottom, in an electronic music class where the class final was presented in the de Jong Concert Hall on BYU campus. From there he was commissioned to do Hamlet, which snowballed into a multitude of student films of various genres. Montgomery is now working on the music for the first major motion film to be entirely 3D animated, for camera angles, props and extras, before production. He wrote demo tracks hailed by the producer, and is in the running to compose the full film with other very notable composers.


To learn about the essence of his craft, we asked him a few questions:


Q-What influenced you in Music?


A-Music was my childhood dream. I grew up with listening to John Williams and Hans Zimmer. Hans Zimmer’s versatility struck me as he took on films from many genres. My goal has remained to be like that. I’ve taken on comedy, horror, spiritual, and fantasy so far. I want to fit the mold of any genre I receive.


Q-What would you do if you had free reign?


A-Art music is still really important to me. I would love to do electronic music with films for the rest of my life. I’ve also really wanted to compose a non-film orchestra. As for films, I’d like to have full use of the orchestra. The Dream Giver gave me that, and for that reason it was my favorite movie so far.


Q-How would you characterize the differences between art music and film music?


A-Both are art, but very different types of art. I used to think art music was the ultimate form, but getting into films I’ve found it’s just as hard. Art music is art unto itself, but film adds the visual sense and has different stimulation. I wish more people knew about and could understand art music though. It’s a healthy, creative outlet for me, freedom.


Q-What would you tell a prospective music composer?


A-I would accept every film that came my way. Only at the end of my college career, as I’d received too many to handle did I stop taking jobs. Professors understood I was working on music outside of class, but my grades still took a hit.  I took on jobs regardless of their workload, spending light nights and many stressful months. I wanted to do as much as possible, and get the experience. I’ve had a lot of support from my family and wife, and though it’s been hard, I wanted to score films that make it to the top of charts.


By Sean Watson