Cliff Eidelman

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Cliff Eidelman
Birth nameClifford Glen Eidelman
Born (1964-12-05) December 5, 1964 (age 57)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation(s)Composer, conductor

Clifford Glen Eidelman (born December 5, 1964) is an American composer and conductor who has scored films including Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Free Willy 3: The Rescue, and Christopher Columbus: The Discovery.[1]


One of the few Los Angeles-born composers, Cliff Eidelman (born 1964) began his formal musical training at the age of 8, studying the violin. A few years later he switched to guitar as his main instrument and began performing and writing songs for his band, playing at local Los Angeles clubs before age 14. He studied Jazz guitar at the Guitar Institute of Technology before attending college and formally studying composition and conducting. Eidelman has been a long time resident in Santa Monica where he has a music composing/recording studio.

Eidelman broke into film scoring at the age of 22 when a performance recording of one of the two concert music commissions, the ballet Once Upon a Ruler and Celebration Symphony Overture he composed while a student Santa Monica City College reached director Monica Teuber. She was so impressed that she asked him to write some music based on the reading of her script. Eidelman composed eleven pieces and recorded the music at his home studio while still a student of music composition at the University of Southern California. Teuber hired him to write his first film score, Magdalene (1988), which starred Nastassja Kinski. The young composer took full advantage of this opportunity, launching his career with a huge 75 minute score. At only 22 years of age, Eidelman conducted the Munich Symphony using a 110 piece orchestra, 60 piece choir and 30 piece children's choir.

When director Richard Pearce heard the Magdalene score playing one morning on KCRW, he had his producers call Eidelman, that afternoon, to offer him the HBO film Dead Man Out (1988) which earned him a nomination for an Ace award.

Within a year of completing his first film score he was approached by director Robert Young to score his epic drama of WWII, Triumph of the Spirit. It was 1989 and Eidelman was just 24. The score was impressive and deeply moving, dramatically capturing the story of survival against all odds in a German concentration camp. So much so that it has caught the attention of many conductors since its composition and been performed by numerous orchestras. Eidelman created a suite from the score that was performed in June 2003 by The Los Angeles Master Chorale under the direction of Grant Gershon for their final concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion prior to moving to Disney Hall. Soon after the release of the film Triumph of the Spirit, legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith took a real interest in Eidelman's career. In an interview in 1999, he commented “Cliff Eidelman is a great talent with amazing potential.”

As one of the youngest composers to score a feature film, Eidelman has amassed an impressive body of work from film to the concert hall. He has created symphonic scores, musically captured the epic proportions of faith and despair, the whimsies of comic entertainment, and the intimacies of the human heart with a lone guitar, a one hundred piece orchestra, a solo piano and every formation in-between. Experience has given him an ease and maturity that allows his creativity to find the musical heart and vocabulary of intimate and epic films, as well as concert pieces and songs. Cliff Eidelman soars while exploring the subtle nuances and bold expanses of his musical gifts.

Eidelman's breakthrough came with his score Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), a stylish and powerful score that elicited a great deal of attention and acclaim. Star Trek VI continues to not only be a favorite among fans but is rated in the top 30 best film scores on “” which has a viewer rating of 1,500 film scores spanning several decades. By the age of 24, Eidelman had composed a number of epic symphonic scores including the powerful Holocaust drama Triumph of the Spirit (1989) and Christopher Columbus (1992). Eidelman first ventured into comedy with back-to-back films Crazy People (1990) and Delirious (1991). Later he explored different approaches, often using a pared down orchestra, chamber orchestra, or a few chosen instruments to capture the intricacies of such character driven films as: Leap of Faith (1992), Untamed Heart (1993), A Simple Twist of Fate (1994), Now and Then (1995), the highest rated HBO film If These Walls Could Talk (1996), One True Thing (1998), Witness Protection (1999), An American Rhapsody (2001), the IMAX film Ocean Men (2001), Harrison's Flowers (2001), Sexual Life (2004), The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants (2005), Open Window (2006), He's Just Not That Into You (2009) and Big Miracle (2012) which is Eidelman's fifth collaboration with director Ken Kwapis.

Other works include a symphonic tone poem The Tempest, which was recorded by The Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the direction of Eidelman and Wedding In The Night Garden, originally orchestrated for strings and mezzo-soprano. Eidelman later developed a second version for strings, choir and mezzo-soprano which was performed in 2002 by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. It was so well received that conductor Grant Gershon requested repeat performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall in their 2005 season.

My Muse is a collection of 10 songs Eidelman wrote over the course of a decade. The music and lyrics are written and performed by Eidelman.

Eidelman has conducted all of his film scores. He has conducted The Metropolitan Orchestra of London, The Munich Symphony and Chorus, Unione Musicisti Di Roma and Chorus, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Seattle Symphony Orchestra and many first call pick up orchestras for his film scores. The recognition he garnered prompted Varèse Sarabande Records to pursue Eidelman for conducting projects. On two recordings, he conducted works by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Walton, Rozsa and Rota.

Notable scores (concert music)[edit]

  • The Five Tales for Solo Piano (2019)
  • Night in the Gallery for Chamber Ensemble (released 2019) (performed and recorded by Members of the London Symphony Orchestra)
  • Symphony for Orchestra and Two Pianos (released 2018) (performed and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra)
  • Wedding in the Night Garden (2000) (performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale)
  • The Tempest (1997) (recorded by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra)
Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
1988 Magdalene Monica Teuber TAT FILM GmbH
1989 Dead Man Out Richard Pearce HBO Television film
To Die For Deran Sarafian Academy Entertainment
Animal Behavior Kjehl Rasmussen
H. Anne Riley
Millimeter Films
Triumph of the Spirit Robert M. Young Triumph Films
The Final Days Richard Pearce ABC Television mini-series about Watergate Scandal
1990 Strike It Rich James Scott Miramax Films Themes only; score by Shirley Walker
Crazy People Tony Bill Paramount Pictures
Judgment Tom Topor HBO Television film
1991 Delirious Tom Mankiewicz Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Nicholas Meyer Paramount Pictures
Tales from the Crypt Eliott Silverstein HBO Episode: "The Reluctant Vampire"
1992 Christopher Columbus: The Discovery John Glen Warner Bros. Pictures
Leap of Faith Richard Pearce Paramount Pictures
1993 Untamed Heart Tony Bill Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
The Meteor Man Robert Townsend Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1994 My Girl 2 Howard Zieff Columbia Pictures
A Simple Twist of Fate Gillies MacKinnon Touchstone Pictures
1995 Now and Then Lesli Linka Glatter New Line Cinema
If These Walls Could Talk Nancy Savoca HBO Television film
1997 The Beautician and the Beast Ken Kwapis Paramount Pictures
Free Willy 3: The Rescue Sam Pillsbury Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
1998 Montana Jennifer Leitzes Initial Entertainment Group
One True Thing Carl Franklin Universal Pictures
1999 Witness Protection Richard Pearce HBO Television film
2000 Ocean Men Bob Talbot Theatrical IMAX Film
2001 An American Rhapsody Éva Gárdos Paramount Classics
2002 Harrison's Flowers Elie Chouraqui Universal Pictures
2003 The Lizzie McGuire Movie Jim Fall Walt Disney Pictures
2005 Sexual Life Ken Kwapis Showtime Independent Films
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Ken Kwapis Warner Bros. Pictures
2006 Open Window Mia Goldman Image Entertainment
2009 He's Just Not That Into You Ken Kwapis New Line Cinema
2012 Big Miracle Ken Kwapis Universal Pictures
2018 Being Dolphin 4D Bob Talbot SimEx-Iwerks


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