Charlotte McMillan, composer

The Winding Road

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My lifelong journey through music has been delightful and surprising, and every day I feel grateful that I can call composing my job.  I relish the creative collaboration with game developers and film directors and love the excitement of starting new projects.  

 

My path as a game and film composer has had some memorable moments.  For the Xbox game Advent Rising, I collaborated with renowned video game composer Tommy Tallarico on the track “Poeta,” a sweeping, emotional orchestral work.  I was thrilled to hear it performed live at at the Hollywood Bowl at a Video Games Live concert.  Films I’ve scored have appeared in film festivals across the United States, including the Action on Film, Hermosa Shorts, Los Angeles Cinema, Green Lifestyle, Dusk til Dawn, and Smogdance film festivals.  Game music I’ve written has placed in first in game jams such as Goedware Game Jam 2 and Narrative Driven Jam 7. 

 

Along the way, I've been fortunate to work for some enormously talented musicians (and delightful human beings!).  I edited midi files for jazz pianist and David Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson, mixed audio for jazz guitarist Doc Powell, worked for television composer Jim Lang (“Hey Arnold”).

 

I've written jazz, synthy pop, edm, funk, ragtime, and dark, abstract cinematic cues, but the journey started with classical music, particularly classical piano.  In my tiny home town out in the California desert, there weren't many live classical music events on offer, but my parents somehow instilled in all of us a love of classical music.  I started piano lessons at an early age and got hooked.  Chopin, Bach, Schumann, and Brahms grew close to my heart.  Later, as a piano major at the University of Southern California, I dove even more deeply into the romantics, exploring Rachmaninoff and Liszt at length.  USC was also where I cut my teeth as a film composer, scoring many student films.  

I write in a variety of genres, but more often than not, there's an orchestral element to the music.  Orchestral music is just an inexhaustible source when it comes to telling stories in games and film -- so beautifully versatile, so richly emotional, and uncannily adaptive to most any scenario.

When not composing, I enjoy playing piano duets with my duet partner, riding my giant cruiser bike, and playing exploration games on my Switch.

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With Alf Clausen, celebrating the 400th episode of the Simpsons.
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At the piano, aged 9
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Proud nerd