Research Seminar: Professor Kenneth Lampl

Film Music: The Basics

How we understand ourselves, our culture and the world we live in is through our stories. Our collective stories are both an expression of and an inquiry into the meaning and purpose of our lives as individuals and as a collective. What tribal storytelling, classic mythology, plays and narrative literature were to cultures for thousands of years up until the present day, movies are to us in the current age. Think of how much of our experience in the world is shaped and influenced through watching video content of film (theatrical or streaming), video games, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or even advertisement which are short narrative films.  

At the heart of this dynamic, multisensory experience is music. Music and storytelling have always gone hand and hand since the dawn of civilization. Music is the magic that has us believe that bikes and brooms fly, that giant space craft can actually cross the galaxy, that honor and love conquer all in the end. Music holds the power that propels a narrative storyline forward and has us believe and invest ourselves in what we are seeing.  

This lecture is the opportunity to take the reader by hand and explore both the creative process of film scoring and its rich history. The lecture will not only cover the evolution of film music, but the theory and creative process of scoring. 


Kenneth Lampl received his D.M.A. in composition from the Juilliard School of Music, studying with Milton Babbitt and John Corigliano. His first international recognition came with the winning of the Prix Ravel in composition at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France. Many awards soon followed including the Joseph H. Bearns Prize from Columbia University, nine ASCAP Concert Music Awards, three New Jersey State Council for the Arts Fellowships, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Awards to Young Composers, three ASCAP Awards to Young Composers, the ASCAP Raymond Hubble Fellowship, the Gretchanov Memorial Prize in Composition from the Juilliard School and fellowships from the foundations of Henry Mancini, George Gershwin, and Richard Rogers. With over twenty symphonic compositions to date, his music has been performed by such musical organizations as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony, the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, the Delaware Symphony, the Greenville Symphony, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Jupiter Symphony and the Absolute Ensemble.

His introduction to the world of film scoring came in 1997 with a fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Festival where he had the opportunity to study composition and conducting with John Williams. As a composer of film music Kenneth Lampl has scored over 80 films including: Frontera (starring Ed Harris and Eva Longoria), 35 & Ticking (starring Kevin Hart and Nicole Ari-Parker), Ninja’s Creed (starring Pat Morita and Eric Roberts), Kandisha (starring David Carradine and Hiam Abbas) and Winter of Frozen Dreams (starring Thora Birch and Keith Carradine). Lampl also composed music for Pokemon: The First Movie: Mew vs Mew Two, Pokemon Mewtwo Returns as well as music for the television series “Born Again Virgin” and “Saints and Sinners”.

Lampl is also known as an orchestral composer, arranger and conductor having both written orchestral arrangements and conducted the Australian tour of the American rock band Foreigner including performances at the Sydney Opera House and Hamer Hall in Melbourne.  Earlier this year he composed orchestral music for the band Evanescence performing with the Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland Symphonies. 

As a composer of choral music his music has been featured at the 2015 American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Eastern Division and Central Division Conferences, the 2015 ACDA Connecticut All State Choir, the 2015 Arizona ACDA Summer Music Conference, the 2013 Colorado ACDA Choral Festival, the University of Miami Frost Chorale European Tour as well as performances by the Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir, the Riverside Choral Society, the Zamir Chorale of Boston, the Cantilena Chamber Choir, the Northeastern University Chorale, the University of Denver Chorale, the Illinois Wesleyan Collegiate Chorale, the University of Colorado Bolder University Choir, the Hofstra University Chorale, the University of Colorado Pueblo Chamber Singers, the Harmonium Choral Society, California State University Fresno University Choir, the Naama Women’s Choir (Israel), the University of Southern Main Chamber Singers and the Magee Chamber Choir.

Lampl is a former faculty member of the Juilliard School of Music and has been a guest lecturer in multimedia composition at: the Shanghai Conservatory, the Danish National Conservatory, Bath Spa University, Shanghai University, the University of Southern California, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), the Frost School of Music (University of Miami), the New School of Social Research, the Vancouver Film School, Northeastern University, the Animation Workshop, VIA University (Denmark), Illinois Wesleyan University, Kolding Musikskole, the College of New Jersey, Rutgers University, the University of Denver, Colorado State University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Texas and Western Connecticut University.

His music is currently published by Walton, Santa Barbara Music, Colla Voce Music and Alfred Music.

Updated:  9 May 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications