DANIEL WOHL, Composer
What do you do?
I’m a composer, which means I write music for various projects. These could involve an album, a concert, a ballet, a film.
When did you first realise that you wanted to be a composer?
I knew pretty early on that I wanted to make music, but I didn’t know what form this would take. It’s something that is constantly evolving even today, and what I do today on a day to day basis I couldn’t have quite imagined 15 years ago, especially as technology and the music business has evolved so much. What is consistent is that every day I get up and create new sounds.
Where did you train and what qualification did you get?
I trained in conservatories for classical composition. I got a PHD in music composition but that qualification is to eventually teach at the university level. At the moment I’m just freelancing.
What kinds of things did you study?
When you’re studying at one of these institutions, you’re not working within pre-established forms. You’re really encouraged to develop something unique while studying the theory and history of music. Because the history mostly consists of these unique artists who have revolutionized their art form, you’re encouraged to be original and unique in your own way rather than emulate whatever is popular.
Do you have such a thing as a typical day?
Yes my days are very typical except when I’m travelling. When I’m at home in LA I wake up, get an ice coffee, take care of the business side of things like answering emails etc...and then work on whatever project I’m working on. At some point during the day I go play basketball, or go on a hike, then I work some more and then go out to some sort of event or get a drink with a friend.
What personality traits or skills do you need to be a good composer?
Besides having a talent for it, you need to love the process. The results vary tremendously, and the outcomes even more. If you love to learn about your craft and discover the way into your art form, then you’ll be good at what you do (eventually)
What do you love most about your job?
It gives you a lot of freedom. I can work from anywhere.
What advice would you give to a young person wanting to do the job you do?
Perseverance. Also…. Think about what kind of life you want to live, and see how making a life in music will work for you. There are many different paths and not all of them fit people’s personality types.