Anthony Marinelli

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Anthony Marinelli
Anthony Marinelli on the Tonight Show w Jay Leno, March 16, 2006
Marinelli on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in March 2006
Background information
Birth nameAnthony Joseph Marinelli
Born (1959-03-19) March 19, 1959 (age 60)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, conductor, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsPiano, drums, synthesizer (Synclavier, ARP 2600, Mini Moog)
Years active1977–present
Associated acts

Anthony Marinelli (born March 19, 1959) is an American musician, composer and conductor. In his early career, he composed and performed accompaniment on the synthesizer for albums including Michael Jackson's Thriller (1983).[1] Marinelli has also recorded with Lionel Richie, Kenny Loggins, Herb Alpert, Supertramp, The Crystal Method, Billy Childs and James Brown.

Marinelli was a contributor in the production of Quincy Jones' soundtrack for Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple (1985)[2] and composed for Young Guns (1988),[3] Graveyard Shift (1990), Leaving Las Vegas (1996), and Internal Affairs (2000).[4]

Excluding episodic-television and commercials, Marinelli's filmography contains over one hundred feature film credits with an AACTA award nomination for the Australian film My Forgotten Man (1993).[5] For television, he won a Daytime Emmy Honors Award for his work on the TV series Santa Barbara (1986–87).[6] Marinelli has also won four Clio Awards, two AICP Awards, two ADDY Awards, three Indian Telly Awards and a Cannes Silver Lion Award for his musical contributions on television commercials.[7] He composed the music for the infamous "Fried Egg" version of This Is Your Brain on Drugs television commercial.[8]

Marinelli co-founded, incubated and hosted Levels Audio Post, a post production service; the venture serviced the television shows: American Idol (Fox), The Bachelor (ABC), the Teen Choice Awards (Fox) and the MTV Award Shows.[9] In musical theatre, Marinelli completed BollyDoll, a Bollywood genre extravaganza with visual artist and vocalist, Amrita Sen, directed by Shekhar Kapur in 2013.[10]


Carmine Marinelli, Zubin Mehta and Anthony Marinelli intermission of Mehta's 50th Anniversary Concert with the LA Phiharmonic at Disney Hall – Thursday, December 13, 2012 – photo by Dante Marinelli
Carmine Marinelli (Left), Zubin Mehta
and Anthony Marinelli (2012)

Anthony Marinelli is the son of Carmine Marinelli(Born in Vinchiaturo, Molise), the former Master of Properties at the Dorothy Chandler performing arts center.[11] Marinelli took an interest in his father's work and was exposed to operas, ballet, musicals and symphonies during his childhood.[12] Marinelli was personally introduced to Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Zubin Mehta and Katharine Hepburn. He attended the annual Academy Award ceremonies with his family, beginning at age nine.[13]


Marinelli decided on a career in music after hearing Switched-On Bach (1968) by Wendy Carlos. In addition to classical composers, other early influences were Keith Emerson, Keith Jarrett, John Williams, Ennio Morricone, and Jerry Goldsmith. Marinelli credits Arthur B. Rubinstein, Jack Nitzche, Quincy Jones and Giorgio Moroder as his mentors.[14]


Marinelli's piano lessons began at age six and he was performing with Lamont Dozier and other Motown artists professionally by age sixteen.[12][14][15] He studied piano and music theory under Lowndes Maury from 1967 to 1975. He studied synthesizer under Clark Spangler (1975–80), and continued piano under Terry Trotter (1976–80), Spud Murphy (music composition from 1978–85) and Hans Beer (conducting from 1993–99). Marinelli studied jazz improvisation under Charlie Shoemake from 1978 to 1982.

In 1977, Marinelli graduated with the first coed class at Providence High School in Burbank, California. He studied piano and music composition at the University of Southern California School of Music and played the Los Angeles jazz circuit with the band Night Flight, featuring Billy Childs and vocalist Dianne Reeves. Marinelli attended USC from 1977 to 1982, but withdrew with film and recording project offers pending.[12]

Marinelli was one of ten conductors selected to attend the fourth annual BMI Film Conducting Workshop in 2001.[16][17]

Personal life[edit]

Marinelli and his wife Cynthia live with their three children in the Los Angeles area. Marinelli holds dual-citizenship (United States and Italy); his Italian citizenship is inherited through his father's lineage. He is a licensed soccer coach and has been an LA Galaxy season ticket holder since the team's move to Carson, California in 2003. He has been a patron of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 1980 and is a founding member of the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA).[18]

Synclavier synthesizers[edit]

Marinelli became interested in analog synthesizers in his teenage years. His piano instructor knew of another student with these interests and introduced Marinelli to Brian Banks. Marinelli and Banks became known for performances as a synthesizer duo, including as an opener for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1980.[19]

Anthony Marinelli and Brian Banks KFAC radio live simulcast from the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, August 1979.
Anthony Marinelli and Brian Banks KFAC radio live simulcast from the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, January 1980.
Marinelli and Banks, August 1979 and January 1980.

Live KFAC radio broadcast classical works such as Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, Fugue in G minor, "Little", BWV 578, Beethoven Symphony No 8 in F Major, Tchaikovsky Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture and other performances as Marinelli's synthesizer group The Synners expanded their reach.[7]

Marinelli and Banks then teamed with Emmy Award-winning composer Arthur B. Rubinstein, creating one of the first known digitally synthesized musical scores, Blue Thunder, released in 1983.[20] The trio joined with Cynthia Morrow as The Beepers, and their songs, "Video Fever" and "Long Line Leading To Men", made the soundtrack for the 1983 film, WarGames.[21] The Beepers song "Theme from Blue Thunder (Murphy's Law)" was used in Blue Thunder with an instrumental version closing the film.[22]

The film industry expressed interest in synthesizer technology while Banks and Marinelli simultaneously emerged as experts in the practical-application of the new technology.[23] Banks and Marinelli made a "polaroid" of the Quincy Jones soundtrack for The Color Purple (1985) available to director Steven Spielberg during filming and editing. This process allowed the score to be completely written before orchestral musicians were hired.[2][20]

"...Anthony got very involved with consulting for the development of the Synclavier. A lot of things that are on the instrument are our fault! It's a nice feeling to be involved in the development of a musical instrument."
—Brian Banks, "Synthesizer Upstarts Conquer Hollywood", Keyboard, Sept. 1987, by Jeff Burger[20]

Studio CEO[edit]

From 1977 to 1983, Marinelli's Synner Productions worked from a converted pool-house at his parents' home, eventually equipped with a New England Digital Synclavier II, 24 track analog tape and mixer, and Dolby Spectral Recording with noise reduction for film projects. Marinelli moved into digital with a Synclavier Direct to Disk synthesizer and digital tape prior to renovating and moving the studio to a circa 1913, Art Deco style, building at 1606 N Highland in Hollywood.[7]

Sonar Productions[edit]

From 1983 to 1993, Marinelli and Brian Banks operated and composed out of the three studio complex at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Blvd as Sonar Productions. The studio was designed by Bret Thoeny and constructed by Marinelli's audio engineer, Mark E. Curry.[24] The team worked individually and together during this time period; notable credits include: WarGames (1984), Starman (1984), The Color Purple (1985), Stand by Me (1985), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), Young Guns (1988) and Internal Affairs (1990).[25][26]

Music Forever[edit]

Marinelli continued to operate his Hollywood studios as a sole proprietor, establishing the trade name Music Forever in 1993. Marinelli's commercial television award nominations increasingly included wins, among them, an AICP Award and an ADDY Award in 1994 for his Apple Computer campaigns, two Silver Hugo Awards (1997) for his work with Mercedes-Benz, Mobius and Telly awards in 1998 and 1999. In addition to episodic television and documentaries, Marinelli's feature film credits for this period include the critically acclaimed, Leaving Las Vegas (1996), Timecode (2000)[27] and The Man from Elysian Fields (2001).[28]

Levels Audio Post[edit]

Marinelli co-founded and incubated a post-production service company called Levels Audio Post. Conceptualized in October 1998, Marinelli designed and installed a fourth studio in Music Forever Studios and enlisted a mixer, Brian Riordan as his co-founder.[29] Levels Audio Post opened its doors on July 16, 1999. Streamlining the post-production process was accomplished by assigning audio specialists with established musicianship credentials to oversee each project from beginning to end. The ProTools facility featured two mix stages with 5.1 surround sound, 16-foot projection and auxiliary sound design rooms.[9]

After early successes in the television commercial genre, their new production technique began to catch on and Audio Levels Post landed the television series American Idol (2001), followed by American Juniors (2003) and MTV's Viva La Bam (2003). Music specials included: Justin Timberlake: Down Home in Memphis (2003), Hilary Duff's Island Bash (2003) and the 2003 MTV Movie Awards.[9]

Co-founder Brian Riordan received his first Primetime Emmy Award nomination (for mixing) on American Idol in 2003 and The Academy Awards show in 2004.[30] Riordan purchased Marinelli's interest in Levels Audio Post in August 2004 and leased the Levels Audio Post portion of the Hollywood facility from Marinelli for an additional two years. Riordan is a three-time Emmy Award winner.[30]

Marinelli and his staff compose from a nondescript location in the San Fernando Valley.[7]

Polaroids (orchestral mockups)[edit]

Marinelli explained in a 1987 interview, "We did what we call Polaroids— we did the whole score before it was recorded by orchestra."[20](p. 62) The use of the term "polaroids," which are now called orchestral mockups, was borrowed from the Polaroid instant camera, which delivered color prints moments after taking a picture. In a 2007 interview, Quincy Jones reflected briefly on how the polariod concept revolutionized film and recording industry work-flow process.[31]

Banks and Marinelli spend a lot of time assisting film composers in the studio and were responsible for the first digital synthesis and sampling for a film with "Blue Thunder" and programmed and performed the first polaroid (orchestral simulation) of the entire musical score for "The Color Purple".
"As far as we know, this was the first time this had ever been done," Marinelli said.
—"Sonar Prods. specializes in synthesizing", The Hollywood Reporter, by Bill Desowitz, June 4, 1986.[32]

Synthesizer technology was a controversial addition to the film industry, a lack of understanding came from professional orchestral musicians. Having a synthesist present can minimize the need to hire larger sections of musicians. Additionally, musician time can be reduced by having the arrangements realized with synthesizers to match the edited film before performing the score with a live orchestra.[20](pp. 70, 72) Because of these factors, synthesists were initially considered a threat to employment from the musician's union.[20](p. 72) As musicians, these concerns were not lost on Marinelli and Banks, their proposal for the overdub scale (synthesist's scale) was accepted by the union in 1985. "We came up with a proposal that synthesists should be paid by the hour at an inflated rate, with an unlimited amount of overdubs, doubles or anything else they're called upon to do."[20](p. 72)

Orchestration and conducting[edit]

In The Family Way (2006)
Los Angeles Philharmonic
In The Family Way – Los Angeles Philharmonic – The Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood CA, August 25, 2006
Composer Anthony Marinelli (left)
Actress/comedian Julia Sweeney
Conductor Lucas Richman (right)

Orchestral works, which have gained wider recognition for Marinelli, include the score for the biopic Chapter 27 (2007), using a 60 piece orchestra with the score being similar instrumentally to Tchaikovsky's, Nutcracker Suite.[14] In the Family Way was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring the comedy of Julia Sweeney at the Hollywood Bowl on August 25 and 26, 2006.[33]

Marinelli composed a tone poem, In the Family Way, featuring narration by writer/actress Julia Sweeney, Commissioned by the L.A. Philharmonic, the 22-minute piece, performed for 2 nights with a 90 piece orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl, is based on Sweeny's adoption of a baby from China and her travels as a single parent.
—"Award Winning Film Composer", Music Connection, by Dan Kimpel, January 1, 2007[14]

At the onset, the combination of musician, arranger, orchestrator and synthesist was in high demand.[20](p. 58) Later, Marinelli's credentials and formal training provided the opportunity to also conduct orchestras. Marinelli has stated that he had put his analog synthesizers in storage and had worked without them for about a decade.[7]

In addition to composing, Marinelli conducted orchestras on the following feature films: Flynn (1993), Hacks (1997), Gideon (1998), Scar City (1998), The Runner (1999), Slow Burn (2000), 15 Minutes (2001) starring Robert De Niro and Edward Burns and The Man from Elysian Fields (2001) starring Andy Garcia, Mick Jagger and Olivia Williams. The made for television films, Don King: Only in America (1997) and Songs in Ordinary Time (2000) were also composed and conducted by Marinelli.[7]

Film career[edit]

Marinelli was exposed to and studied the styles of many modern composers. His early success in the film industry began with the patronage of jazz/pop composer and producer Quincy Jones, classical composer and conductor Arthur B. Rubinstein, pop/disco songwriter and producer Giorgio Moroder, and classic-rock composer and arranger Jack Nitzsche.

For Quincy Jones, Marinelli and former partner Brian Banks are credited with performance and synthesizer programming on Michael Jackson's Thriller album including the title track.[1] In film, they provided a pre-production synthesized orchestra recording of Quincy Jones' score for The Color Purple (1985), allowing Jones and Steven Spielberg to adjust the score during editing and present a completed work to the orchestral musicians. The final score for the film was orchestrated rather than synthesized with some exceptions; for instance, the sound of a leaky roof landing in tin-cans in Cilie's living room segues into a musical piece played on an African kalimba.[2] Additional titles where Marinelli has worked on Quincy Jones' productions include: The Slugger's Wife (1985), Tango & Cash (1989) and Cadillac Man (1990).[26]

Emmy Award-winning composer and conductor Arthur B. Rubinstein relied on Marinelli and Banks for the Rubinstein scored films, Blue Thunder (1983) and WarGames (1983). Marinelli is also credited on the Rubinstein score for Best of Times (1986), and Marinelli and Banks are credited on Stakeout (1987).[26] Accustomed to working with classically trained musicians, Rubinstein joined in a musical group with Marinelli, Banks and vocalist Cynthia Morrow called The Beepers. Songs from The Beepers include "Murphy's Law", the theme song for Blue Thunder,[22] "Video Fever" and "History Lesson" in WarGames.[21]

Three-time Academy Award winner Giorgio Moroder used Marinelli and Banks on the soundtracks for Cat People (1982), Over the Top (1987), Let it Ride (1989). Marinelli's solo work with Moroder includes: The World (1988), The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), Moroder and Marinelli co-composed the score together for Jackpot (1992).[26] Oscar-winning composer Jack Nitzsche brought Marinelli and Banks industry credit with Streets of Gold (1986) the Oscar nominated films, Starman (1984) and Stand By Me (1986).[26]

A significant milestone for Marinelli and Banks was composing the original score to the #1 box-office hit, Young Guns (1988),[3][34] prior to their ending their partnership in 1993. Still completing numerous feature films per year, Marinelli's responsibilities increased, more often working with directors rather than in support roles under other composers. With the transition from a partnership in Sonar Productions to the sole proprietor of Music Forever, Marinelli also worked on television commercials.[9]

Marinelli continued composing with filmmaker and composer Mike Figgis, writing the theme for Leaving Las Vegas in 1995 and co-composing the scores on Internal Affairs (1990), Timecode (2000) and Hotel (2001).[26] Timecode is a 90-minute experimental film, performed live and filmed on four time-synchronized, hand-held digital cameras. Combining music composition techniques with film-making, the script was developed during single-take rehearsal performances by writer/director Figgis and the actors themselves. Each actor recorded personal script notes on blank, four octave, music paper, with each octave representing a camera view and vertical separations representing each minute of camera time capacity. The film is presented with each camera point-of-view as one fourth of the screen, dialog and music determines which of the four screen-frames is the active frame at that particular moment in time.[35] For special screenings in Los Angeles area theaters, Figgis and Marinelli created alternate/spontaneous live mixes of the dialogue and music from the back of the theater. This allowed new story lines to unfold since the audience could hear dialogue from screen frames not active in the original released version.[36]

Dr. John (left) and Anthony Marinelli
Anthony Marinelli and Dr. John composing music for My Sexiest Year (2007)
My Sexiest Year (2007)
Studio X, Seattle, WA

Marinelli scored the critically acclaimed release of George Hickenlooper's Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2004) documentary. The film is a montage of musicians such as (David Bowie, Cher, Blondie); a cast of Rodney Bingenheimer's "A-list" friends, "God heads" as he calls them. Bingenheimer is an autograph hound, turned groupie, turned unlikely star-maker via his trendy punk styled club, English Disco and as a long running disc-jockey for KROQ in Los Angeles.[37]

A sampling of Marinelli's solitary composing credits for feature film include: The Man from Elysian Fields (2001), starring Andy Garcia and Mick Jagger,[28] the critically acclaimed independent film, Self Medicated (2005), Jarrett Schaefer's controversial, Chapter 27 (2007), a biography of John Lennon's assassination,[26] My Sexiest Year (2007) which gave Marinelli the opportunity to perform and write songs with Dr John,[9] and Jada Pinkett Smith's, The Human Contract (2008).[38] Recent completions include: Altergeist (2014), written and directed by Tedi Sarafian,[39] Medicine Men (2015), starring Liza Weil, Shawn Hatosy and James LeGros, and Midnight Return (2015), written and directed by Sally Sussman Morina.


Marinelli has scored the following films:


Marinelli's discography includes: Michael Jackson's, Thriller (1983); Don Felder's, Airborne (1983); Lionel Richie's, Can't Slow Down (1983); Supertramp's, Brother Where You Bound (1985); Kenny Loggins's, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (1988) and Back to Avalon (1988). Marinelli has worked with recording artists James Brown, Herb Alpert, The Crystal Method, Billy Childs and Quincy Jones. Marinelli arranges and performs classical ballads and boleros with Cindy Gomez and Asdru Sierra (Ozomatli) in a multilingual group they call Trio Retro.


Marinelli has been honored with Daytime Emmy Honors Award, Outstanding Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series, for his work on Santa Babara (1986–87).[6] His 1993 score for the film My Forgotten Man earned him an AACTA Award nomination.[44] His work includes critically acclaimed commercials and public service announcements such as the fried egg version of This Is Your Brain on Drugs (1987), which Entertainment Weekly named the 8th best commercial of all time.[8]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1986 Santa Barbara NBC (1986–87) Daytime Emmy Honors Award
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series[6]
1990 Calif. Dept. of Health Services Entire Campaign Clio Award Won
1990 California Anti Smoking "Ashtray" Clio Award Nominated
1990 California Anti Smoking "Industry Spokesman" Clio Award Nominated
1990 Apple "Industrial Revolution" Clio Award Nominated
1990 Apple Complete Campaign Clio Award Nominated
1992 GE: "ZAPPA" TV Commercial Cannes Silver Lion Award[45] Won
1992 Apple Complete TV Campaign (1992) Clio Award Won
1992 Apple "Kareem" TV (1992) Clio Award Won
1993 Apple "Meeting" (1993) Clio Award Won
1992 Apple Newton "Making it Easier" Clio Award Nominated
1992 California Anti Smoking "Full Support" Clio Award Nominated
1992 Apple Complete Campaign Clio Award Nominated
1992 Earth Communications Office Movie Trailer Clio Award Nominated
1993 Apple "Where is Newton" Clio Award Nominated
1993 Apple "Powerbook" TV Campaign #1 Clio Award Nominated
1993 Apple "TV Campaign" (1993) Clio Award Nominated
1993 Apple Newton "TV Campaign #1" Clio Award Nominated
1993 Flynn (aka My Forgotten Man) AACTA Awards[46]
Best Original Music Score, with Billy Childs
1994 Apple "Who is Newton" (1994) AICP Award Won
1994 Apple "Diner" AICP Award Won
1994 Apple "Powerbook" TV Campaign ADDY Award Won
1994 Apple "Diner" TV Campaign ADDY Award Won
1995 AAA "Heritage" Indian Telly Award Won
1996 Sliders" "In Dino Veritas"[47] MPSE Golden Reel Award Nominated
1997 Mercedes "Smooth Ride" SUV Category (1997) Silver Hugo Award Won
1997 Mercedes "Smooth Ride" Automotive Category Silver Hugo Award Won
1997 Mercedes "Smooth Ride" Gold Plaque / Chicago International TV Competition Silver Hugo Award Won
1998 Grillmaster "Manifesto" Music Mobius Award Won
1998 Grillmaster "Manifesto" Agency Mobius Award Won
1999 Sharp Health Care "Wheel" Music Telly Award Won
1999 Sharp Health Care "Wheel" Agency Telly Award Won
2008 Best Original Score for Chapter 27 First Half of the Year Awards[48] Nominated


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