Robert Duncan (composer)

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Robert Duncan
BornToronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation(s)Musical Composer
InstrumentsOrgan, trumpet, drums, piano, guitar
Websiteduncanmusic.com

Robert Duncan is a Canadian composer of film and television music.[1] He has composed music for such TV series as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Castle; as well as films such as Butterfly on a Wheel and Into the Blue 2: The Reef.[2] He has been associated with writer/producer Shawn Ryan, composing some of his produced TV shows including The Unit, Lie to Me, Timeless and more recently S.W.A.T.. He has received fourteen ASCAP awards.

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Duncan was born into a family with deep musical history.[2] His great-grandfather arranged music for silent films in England and other relatives were closely affiliated with two of England's prominent composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten.[2] As a child he attended the Claude Watson School of the Performing Arts and in sixth grade he composed his first piece of music.[3] At age 16 in high school, he landed his first gig scoring a promotional video for the local Board of Education.[3] As an extra curricular activity, Duncan studied the pipe organ and trumpet[3] before later earning a bachelor's degree in music at York University.[2]

Career[edit]

After graduating, Duncan spent the next 5 years apprenticing with two Canadian composers[4] and participated in the ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop.[3] He wanted to do more, wanted to write scores for live orchestra but he thought the chances of succeeding in Canada were slim[4] so in 2001[5] he moved to Los Angeles, Hollywood.[4] Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Duncan was hired as a series composer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[3] The show later ended, but soon after he started to land his own television and film scoring assignments.[2] Landing many small screen projects including "The Chicago Code", "Terriers", "The Gates", "Lie to Me", "The Unit", Point Pleasant, "Tru Calling" and S.W.A.T.,[5] it is his work on "Castle" that he is best known for.

Castle[edit]

The process of composing for an episode of "Castle" include sitting down with directors, producers, and creator Andrew Marlowe and watching an episode that has already been shot and edited.[5] The group will all voice their own musical ideas for the episode and it is up to Duncan to create the score accordingly.[5]

Instruments[edit]

Duncan uses a variety of traditional and peculiar objects and instruments to create his scores. These objects include; grand pianos, deconstructed pianos, metal brushes, hot rod exhaust pipes, fire extinguishers, trumpet, guitar, pipe organ, a variety of drums, and even objects from junk yards all over Los Angeles.[3]

Cameos[edit]

Duncan made on screen appearances on "Castle" Season 4, Episode 14 “The Blue Butterfly” in the opening scene as a jazz club pianist on the baby grand piano as well as Season 8, Episode 8 "Mr. and Mrs. Castle" as a cruise ship pianist.[6]

Scores[edit]

Television series[edit]

Year Show Notes
1996 PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal Co-composed with Lou Natale
2001 Starhunter
2001 Blue Murder Co-composed with Lou Natale
2002 Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2003 Tru Calling
2005 Point Pleasant
2006 The Unit[2]
2006 Vanished
2009 Castle
2009 Lie to Me
2010 The Gates[2]
2010 Terriers[2]
2011 The Chicago Code[2]
2012 Last Resort
2012 Missing
2014 Rush
2016 The Family
2016 Mad Dogs
2016-18 Timeless
2017 S.W.A.T.

Film[edit]

Year Film
2005 Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave
2005 Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis
2007 Butterfly on a Wheel
2009 Into the Blue 2: The Reef[2]
2011 The Entitled
2017 Spark (2016 film)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Robert Duncan (FSW 2001)". ASCAP. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Robert Duncan on IMDb
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Robert Duncan". Retrieved 2012-09-30.
  4. ^ a b c "Castle TV". Retrieved 2012-09-30.
  5. ^ a b c d "TV Guide". Retrieved 2012-09-30.
  6. ^ "Wetpaint". Retrieved 2012-09-30.

External links[edit]