Dr Ian Sapiro
- Position: Associate Professor of Music for Stage and Screen. Director of Student Education
- Areas of expertise: film music; Broadway musical theatre; adaptation from to and between stage and screen; orchestration and arrangement; film-score creation and production; archival film music
- Email: I.P.Sapiro@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 2418
- Location: 2.09 School of Music
- Website: Twitter | ORCID
I work principally in film music, musical theatre, adaptation, orchestration and the overlaps between them. I began my musical studies at Leeds in 1997 and have since gained an undergraduate degree, postgraduate qualifications in composition (MMus 2001, M.Phil 2005), and my PhD (2011), which investigated the role of the orchestrator in the contemporary British film industry. The thesis exposes the diverse nature of the role in the UK and challenges widely held assumptions about the linearity, compartmentalisation and global uniformity of film-score production processes. It also provides new definitions for 'orchestrating' and 'arranging', and presents a new non-linear conceptual model of the film-score production process, the first of its kind.
I have been active as a professional conductor of amateur musical theatre productions for over 20 years, and have been musical director for over 50 musicals in that time. I am currently associated with Bingley Little Theatre, Ilkley Playhouse and Guiseley Theatrical Production (formerly Guiseley AOS), Leeds, and spent fifteen years as musical director for Buttershaw St Paul's AODS, Bradford, and Bradford Youth Players (Act 2).
I have also conducted musicals and concerts in Leeds, Halifax, Dewsbury, Liverpool and Birkenhead. In 2017 I received the rare and prestigious NODA Commendation - a National Operatic and Dramatic Association medal recognising the work of a non-amateur who has given devoted service to amateur theatre over a period of at least 10 years - having been nominated for the award by Buttershaw St Paul's AODS. I won the 'Eileen Mogridge Trophy for Best Musical Direction' at the Wharfedale Festival of Theatre in 2015–16 for Evita with Guiseley AOS, and was 'Musical Director of the Year' at the Bradford Playhouse awards in 2014 for Witches of Eastwick with Bradford Youth Players.
- Director of Student Education
- Academic Personal Tutoring Lead
- Welcome, Induction and Transition Lead
My main research interests are:
- film music, particularly film-score production process, and especially the orchestration of film music
- musicals and musical theatre on stage and screen
- adaptations (stage-to-screen, screen-to-stage, screen-to-screen, stage-to-stage, etc.)
- orchestration and arrangement
- the overlaps between these areas
Film Music and Film-Score Production Processes
My monograph, Scoring the Score: The Role of the Orchestrator in the Contemporary Film Industry (Routledge, 2016), is the first scholarly publication exploring the orchestrators and orchestration of music for screen media, and takes the form of a critical interrogation of screen-score orchestration in America and Britain. I interviewed a number of leading US- and UK-based film-score orchestrators and composers in the course of my research, including orchestrators Conrad Pope (John Williams, Alexandre Desplat), Bruce Fowler (Hans Zimmer) and Steve Bartek (Danny's Elfman) and Oscar-winning composers Dario Marianelli, Steven Price and AR Rahman.
My first book, Ilan Eshkeri's 'Stardust': a Film Score Guide, was published by Scarecrow Press in 2013. I has undertaken a significant amount of archival film-music study alongside Professor David Cooper drawing on the unique resources held in the Trevor Jones and Michael Nyman Archives at Leeds, which include session recordings, spotting notes and other documentation relating to the film-score production process. A book on Jones, co-authored with David Cooper and Laura Anderson, The Screen Music of Trevor Jones: Technology, Process, Production, was the result of a 3-year £500k AHRC grant exploring the composer’s archival screen-music materials.
I have also published on the working practices of Trevor Jones and Michael Nyman, and the orchestration of John Williams, and I am currently working with Toby Huelin on work exploring the representation of the music-production process for Frozen II in the Disney+ docu-series ‘Into the Unknown’.
Musicals, Musical Theatre and Adaptation
Musical theatre is both a research and teaching interest and an area of practical application for me. I have writen book chapters on the relationship between the British musical and the pop music industry in the 1960s to the 1980s (OUP, 2017), the adaptation of Les Misérables for the cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), and filmic adaptations of the stage musical Annie (OUP 2017). I am currently working on a book chapter exploring the role of songs, singing and singers in the film and stage musical of Sister Act.
I am an active conductor and musical director, which affords me opportunities to apply my knowledge of musicals in a practical context, and I am keen to explore the relationship between theory and practice in musical theatre.
Orchestration and Arrangement
Often misrepresented as the same thing, I am very interested in approaches to, and the practical application of orchestration and arrangement. I have created new definitions of the two processes as they relate to screen music - detailed in my book Scoring the Score - and I am an active orchestrator and arranger of music.
- PhD in Film Music
- Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
- M.Phil (Composition)
- MMus Composition
- BA Music
- Fellow of the HEA
- British Audio-Visual Research Network
Most of my teaching and project supervision is in the areas of film music and musical theatre, and covers a range of theoretical, historical and practical perspectives.
Research groups and institutes
- Music as Culture