Stephen James Taylor
Stephen James Taylor has a unique musical identity. His style represents a blend of classical, rock, blues, gospel, African, and avant garde. His scores include most of Charles Burnett's films, including the film version of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson (1995) and the TV series I'll Fly Away (1993, for which he received an Emmy nomination). Other recent credits include the 1998 Warner Brothers feature, Why Do Fools Fall In Love (featuring occasional use of 23 tone fibonacci scale), the 1999 cable movie Passing Glory, and the PBS movie Brother Future (1991), for which he also received an Emmy nomination. His most recent feature score is for Blessed Art Thou, which screened in the competition at the Sundance Festival in 2000. The score features elaborate vocal writing and microtonal harmony using a Pythagorean 17 tone scale. He has done a great deal of work in animation, providing the underscore and main title for Disney's Mickey Mouseworks and scores for episodes of Steven Spielberg's Tiny Toon Adventures and Disney's Raw Toonage (which also received an Emmy nomination). His scores for The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa included a 7-tone scale based on balafon tunings from Mozambique, and one episode's score was nominated for a Daytime Emmy. After graduating from Stanford University in 1976 with a B.A. in music, he studied composition for four years with Henri Lazarof, professor of music at UCLA. Taylor's second chamber symphony was commissioned and premiered by the Pasadena Chamber Orchestra in 1983. It was later performed by the Detroit Symphony in 1990. His various chamber works have been performed throughout the country. In 1996 he was commissioned to write music for Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics and was one of the conductors of the Atlanta Symphony for that occasion. At present he is developing his skills as a fretless guitar player. His ongoing projects include co-writing and producing songs with his wife Mary Lou, for a sequel to their 1991 children's album, Little Binky Baker, as well as working on a microtonal pop album and recording with his experimental women's vocal group called Brides of The Wind. The latter group can be heard on many of his scores.