Composing for Film


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SoundTrack_Cologne 21:  Composing for Film

SoundTrack_Cologne 21: Composing for Film

When presenting the Best Film Score award to Eðvarð Egilsson during the Harpa Nordic Film Composers Award ceremony in February, the jury assured that the music of Smoke Sauna Sisterhood was special because it mixed human voices with rhythmic yet fleshy sounds and also because it demonstrated the composer's cooperative work with the film's director to achieve the successful composition.

As part of the "Composing for Films D
ay" at SoundTrack_Cologne 21, set to take place on Thursday, July 4, our guest composers will delve into, among other topics, the importance of their collaborative work with film directors. They will also share how they approach each new project as an exploration of uncharted territory, and the innovative strategies they employ in their creative processes.


In addition to Eðvarð Egilsson, STC will feature talks with composers Nicolas Rabaeus, winner of the Swiss Film Award 2023 for Thunder (Foudre), and 2024 for The Land Within and Bisons; two-time BAFTA nominated Anthony Willis, Saltburn, and Gregor Schwellenbach and Jungstötter, The Forest Within (Der Wald in mir).


Composing for Films
Thursday 04. July 2024 · COMEDIA Theater, Probebühne

10:30 - 11:30
Nicolas Rabaeus
Thunder (Foudre) · The Land Within · Bisons - winner of the Swiss Film Award 2023 & 2024
Workshop · Discussion

12:00 - 13:00
Anthony Willis - two-time BAFTA nominee
Workshop · Discussion

14:30 - 15:30
Eðvarð Egilsson
Smoke Sauna Sisterhood - winner of the HARPA Nordic Film Composers Award 2024
Workshop · Discussion

16:00 - 17:00
Gregor Schwellenbach & Jungstötter
The Forest Within (
Der Wald in mir)
Case study

Eðvarð Egilsson

Eðvarð Egilsson

Eðvarð Egilsson is an award-winning composer hailing from Reykjavik, Iceland. He is known for his original scores for the films Smoke Sauna Sisterhood and Quake as well as the Icelandic television series Líf Dafnar. Eðvarð's music is characterized by his unique blend of electronic influences and classical composition techniques, creating complex and emotive narratives through his use of rhythm and sound manipulation.

Eðvarð has a degree in classical composition from the Iceland University of the Arts and has worked in the music and film industry both in Iceland and in Los Angeles, where he also lived for close to a decade. He won the 2024 HARPA Nordic Film Composers Award and has also been nominated for the prestigious Edda Award, Iceland Music Awards, Cinema Eye Honors and 2023 Harpa Award which recognizes outstanding achievement in film composition.



In 2019, Fabian Altstötter released his solo debut "Love Is" under the moniker Jungstötter. The album featured velvety, calm pieces that were carried by Altstötter's voice, somewhere between Mark Hollis and Scott Walker. Four years later, Altstötter continues this idiosyncratic vision with "One Star", an album that explores the tension between Altstötter's inner life and the outside world. The work features ten pieces that range from yearning love songs to uneasy contemplations of the world.

After the release of his solo debut, Fabian Altstötter, who was born in Palatinate, Germany in 1991, left his home in Berlin and moved to Vienna. A new city and his current relationship with his partner Anja Plaschg (aka Soap&Skin) provided him with new musical and artistic inspiration.

The mood of the album is constantly shifting, mirroring the changing sky. Somewhere between abstraction and precision, it ranges from gray and dark to shining and cloudless, with thunderstorms and bursts of light. The music becomes a constant, a shining star that provides orientation in a dying world. It is dense, intricate, and direct, and it reveals its complexity over repeated listens.

Jungstötter created the songs of the German film The Forest Within (Der Wald in mir).

Nicolas Rabaeus

Nicolas Rabaeus

For the second consecutive year, Nicolas Rabaeus received 2024 the Swiss Film Award (Best Film Score) for the films The Land Within and Bisons. In 2023, Rabaeus got the prize for the Carmen Jaquier's Thunder (Foudre).

Nicolas was born in Geneva in 1984. He studied jazz music in Paris (IMEP) and classical music in Geneva (HEM). He's been working as a composer for more than 15 years, specializing in music for the moving image.

Known for his versatility and his fast working pace, he has collaborated with many European and Swiss filmmakers on over 50 projects: feature films, series, documentaries and shorts. His music has been celebrated in many festivals and nominated for numerous awards. 

He has taught "Music in Cinema" at the HEM Geneva, and teaches ear training at the HEMU Lausanne.

Gregor Schwellenbach

© Katja Ruge

Gregor Schwellenbach

Gregor Schwellenbach is a composer, arranger and performer working in contemporary classical, avant pop and electronic club music, as well as in film and TV.

Gregor collaborated regularly with CAN’s Irmin Schmidt: as co-composer of the symphony "CAN Dialog" for the London Symphony Orchestra and as orchestrator of his film scores. He also collaborated with artists like Lambchop, Kölsch, The Heritage Orchestra and WDR Funkhausorchester.

"Gregor Schwellenbach spielt 20 Jahre Kompakt", released for the 20th anniversary of the Cologne based techno label in 2013, gained worldwide recognition and was performed live at numerous festivals and in clubs solo or with ensemble.

Gregor Schwellenbach teaches pop music composition and direction at Folkwang University of the Arts' Institute for Pop-Music.

Among his works for films are the music of The Forest Within (Der Wald in mir), Lost Ones and Trans - I got Life.

Anthony Willis

Photo: Ed Rode

Anthony Willis

Anthony Willis is a two-time BAFTA-nominated composer, known for his evocative scores for Emerald Fennel’s Oscar’s Winning Promising Young Woman, Blumhouse’s AI hit M3GAN, and Fennell’s latest psychological thriller Saltburn from MGM/Amazon starring Barry Keoghan & Jacob Elordi. He was named one of Variety’s Top 10 Artisans to Watch in 2023 at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival. His recent projects also include Dreamworks Animation's Annie award-winning How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming, Seasons 6-8 of Epic's video game sensation Fortnite, and Michelle Morgan’s comedy It Happened in LA.

As a protege of Oscar-nominated composer John Powell and Henry Jackman, Anthony has also contributed additional music to many of Hollywood’s most beloved franchises including: How to Train Your Dragon, Jumanji, Wreck it Ralph, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Pirates of the Caribbean and Rio.

Originally from London, Anthony trained as a chorister of St. George’s chapel, Windsor Castle, UK, before earning a first class honors degree in Music from the University of Bristol and a later graduate degree in Film Scoring from University of Southern California.