Jake sits down with Composer Chad Cannon to discuss his work on Barack Obama’s first documentary for Netflix, “American Factory.” See below for a more extensive Bio!
Composer Chad Cannon has traveled the world drawing inspiration from cultures, history, and human stories to create moving scores for documentaries, animation and live performances. His debut soundtrack for the documentary Paper Lanterns received an IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Awards) nomination for Best Original Score for a Documentary, and was lauded as “haunting, mystical” by The Japan Times; while his soundtrack for Cairo Declaration, co- composed with Xiaogang Ye, received China’s highest film prize, the Golden Rooster Award for Best Music. Chad most recently scored Netflix’s documentary, American Factory, which won the Best Director Award for a Documentary at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and is the first film released by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground. His other recent works include a symphonic Americana score for PBS’ documentary CyberWork and the American Dream, as well as scoring Chris Meledandri and Illumination Studios’ animated short, The Dog Days of Winter.
Beyond composing, Chad has arranged and orchestrated for several of the world’s most beloved film composers. As chief arranger for Studio Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi, Chad has created large symphonic suites for Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, and Spirited Away, that have been performed throughout Japan and East Asia. He also created the arrangements for the Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki, which has been performed on four continents to continually sold-out audiences, including Carnegie Hall. Chad’s arrangements also comprise more than half the score to Hisaishi’s August 2019 animation release, Ni no Kuni (Warner Bros. Japan). In Hollywood, Chad has worked under Conrad Pope on scores by Oscar-winning composers Alexandre Desplat (Secret Life of Pets 1 & 2, Godzilla) and Howard Shore (The Hobbit trilogy). He also worked under Tim Williams and Tyler Bates on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the upcoming summer blockbuster, The Fast & The Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
Furthermore, Chad is recognized world-wide for his concert works that frequently explore human emotion through the lens of cultural history, and often include visual or literary elements. His commissions and collaborations include: Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, The Barlow Endowment for Composition, Hub New Music, Julia Bullock & Davóne Tines, Farallon Quintet, The Bridge Piano Quartet, Kyoshin-An Arts, Nuo Spiritual Dance & Art Foundation, Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Thailand International Composition Festival, and Chamber Music Connects the World (Kronberg Academy).
Later this year, conductor Kahchun Wong and the Nuremberg Symphony will premiere Chad’s newest concert work, Himmelserscheinungen (Sky Visions), inspired by photographs of Antarctica by Christopher Michel. In 2018, Chad’s composition for Julia Bullock’s performance of “A Dream Deferred: Langston Hughes In Song” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was praised by The New York Times as “subtle, agile,” and with “vividness of emotion.”
Fluent in Japanese, Chad is the founder of the Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI), which promotes cultural diplomacy through contemporary concert music. With AANMI, Chad has produced chamber music concerts throughout Japan (including Okinawa), Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and the United States, featuring some of the world’s most impressive young classical talent.
Chad is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where he studied music and Japanese, and alumnus of Juilliard, where he studied composition. He is also an alumnus of the Sundance Composer Labs – Documentary (2016). He currently lives in Los Angeles.