Monthly Archives: January 2015

 I have been coming across organs a lot lately. First by seeing the films Prisoners and Interstellar just a few weeks apart. And now, while researching another, I stumbled upon an article and slideshow about the Disney Hall organ in LA, reminding me of the lovely experience of hearing it  during a performance of a suite from “Close Encounters” a few years ago (which seems, by the way, influenced by the appearance of organ in the “Jupiter” movement of Holst’s “The Planets”). The organ can produce pure low bass tones that add power and mass to the orchestra like nothing else can.

Well, two soundtracks don’t quite make a trend, but it’s remarkable to church organs used  so extensively – and so differently – in two major films that couldn’t be more different.

The main theme from Prisoners contains shades of Arvo Pärt and tintinnabulation:

I’m not, by the way, in agreement with those who said the organ was too loud in Interstellar. Come to think of it, this cue sounds influenced by Arvo Pärt too:

Posted 4 years ago by John Piscitello

no place on earth DVD onesheet

In October 1942, Esther Stermer, along with family members and other families, sought asylum underground to evade being caught by pursuing Nazis. They remained hidden below for nearly a year and a half. The film tells their story and documents the survivors’ return to their village 60 years later.

No Place On Earth premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and released in theaters with Magnolia Pictures in April 2013. We recorded the orchestral score in Los Angeles. For woodwinds we used alto flute, clarinet, and bassoon. The only brass were french horns. Harp and piano augmented the string ensemble, and it was all augmented by synth layers form my rig. We recorded the whole score in a single day (and you can listen to the Varese Sarabande soundtrack on iTunes).

See No Place On Earth on Netflix. Also on  DVDBlu-ray,  iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.

Rotten Tomatoes scored the film 79% fresh with 39 critics’ reviews:

The motion picture soundtrack is on iTunes and Amazon.

Here are soundtrack highlights on Soundcloud:


No Place On Earth Trailer:

Posted 4 years ago by John Piscitello

Asian Journal covered the launch of “Sayaw” at its premiere in San Francisco in October 2014.


Posted 4 years ago by John Piscitello

whats the t onesheetI wrote music for What’s the T?, a documentary by director Cecilio Asuncion that explores lives of five transgender women. Cecilio asked for different moods of music, which I provided without seeing a cut of the film. I saw it for the first time at Frameline 37 in San Francisco.

Since we made the film, Transparent and Orange is the New Black have created sensitive, fictional portrayals of transgender women, but nothing is as vivid or fascinating as the real-life stories in Cecilio’s film.

Read more about What’s the T? in the LA Times and Huffington Post.

Watch the film on Hulu or DVD. Or this full embed:

Posted 4 years ago by John Piscitello

Print Interviews:


Audio Interviews:

With Kaya Savas of Film.Music.Media:


With Mark Hasan of / Big Head Amusements:


With Chris of


Media features:

  • FanVoice featured “This is Life” from The Short Game.


Posted 4 years ago by John Piscitello

short game onesheetThe Short Game tells the story about the best 7-year old golfers in the world competing in the world championship at Pinehurst Golf course in North Carolina. I composed additional music for The Short Game, which premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival and opened in theaters in 2013. Netflix acquired the film and made it their first Documentary Feature in 2014.

Instead of the orchestral styling of No Place on Earth, The Short Game’s score was based on indie pop. The standout racks are “I Don’t Break“, a pop song which plays at the climax of the tournament, and “This is Life“, a sweet, very long cue which closes the film.

You can watch The Short Game on Netflix and DVD.

Reviews were positive. Rotten Tomatoes rated it 83% fresh with 18 reviews. Here are a few:

Variety: Finding the most entertaining angle on one of the world’s dullest sports, The Short Game has built-in word-of-mouth that should help it break out of the docu sandtrap and roll down the fairway.

Washington Post: You don’t need to like golf to like — perhaps even to love — The Short Game.

New York Times: On a cuteness scale — where 10 is a fuzzy kitten yawning in a hammock — the chattily uninhibited 7- and 8-year-old golfers of The Short Game score high.

On the production side, director Josh Greenbaum talked about the logistics of shooting the Pinehurst golf tournament, which occupies a major portion of the film. 18 camera crews and a lot of difficult logistics, as covered by Filmmaker Magazine:

“For the most part, we’re shooting at the children’s level, not down at them,” says (director) Greenbaum. He didn’t want the angle of the camera to provide any editorial perspective by shooting down or up at them.”

Josh Greenbaum also talked about working with kids in an interview on

This is a 7-year-old driving the ball 185 yards or eagling from the sand. So we had to find ways to remind you that these are kids, so those few times that they did break down or throw their clubs or start crying on the course actually helped us do that. I told the cinematographer to get the caddy or the bag or a tree in the frame while they’re hitting the ball so that the audience realizes, “Oh my God! They’re so tiny!”

Here is a sampling of my music in the film:

And the trailer:

Posted 4 years ago by John Piscitello