Scott Harper (composer)

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Scott Elder Harper
Birth nameScott Gleckler
Born (1952-12-22) December 22, 1952 (age 66)
Pasadena, California, US
Occupation(s)Composer, orchestrator, arranger, conductor, musician
  • Double Bass, Piano, Violin, Saxophone, Cello, Electric Bass
Years active1975–present
Associated acts
EducationRoyal College of Music, Double Bass, Performing, Honors Graduate, 1977
OrganizationHollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra
AwardsEmmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition (1986), Emmy Awards for Individial Achievement in Music Composition (1990)

Scott Elder Harper (born Scott Gleckler; December 22, 1952) is an American composer, arranger and musician for motion picture and television scores and orchestra, as well as a multi-instrumentalist, conductor, and session-player for pop music. With a background in popular music, Harper has composed theater pieces, oratorios, orchestral chamber works, and dynamic and diverse ensemble arrangements with various instrumental combinations for popular recording artists and film scores alike. His work includes conducting and album arrangements for Celine Dion, Cher, and Olivia Newton-John. He has performed on multiple original motion picture soundtracks such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.(1983), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) scored by John Williams and The Right Stuff (1983) by Bill Conti as a Double bass player in the Hollwood Studio Symphony Orchestra, and also composed several original scores for documentary feature films.


Scott E. Harper was born in Pasadena, California, to David Gleckler and Sarah Lee. He has two brothers, Steve and Jim, and a sister, Milly. In 1975, Scott attended the Royal College of Music in London for composition, cello, and piano, before majoring in double bass. He graduated with honors in 1977 in only two years. The Royal College of Music awarded him the Cobbett Prize for "Freer Thou", his composition with clarinet, violoncello, and piano.

His feature film compositions include Eat and Run, Orion's Belt, Rendez-vous, Reborn, To Hell With Love. A film critic states in Variety magazine that "Movies benefit greatly from Scott Harper's jazz-inflected scores because the score infectiously adds wily, contrapuntal undertones and smart upbeat riffs to the action".[1] Harper wrote the original underscores to numerous feature-length documentary specials during the mid-1980s. From adventurous National Geographic Specials to comedy prime-time TV series, Harper composed music with variety in style to a wide-range audience. In 1986, Scott Harper and co-writer Lyn Murray were awarded an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for the National Geographic Special: Miraculous Machines.[2] Then in 1990, Special BMI Awards were honoring Composers work in film and prime-time television. Harper was awarded a second Emmy in the Music Categories for "Amazon, Land of The Flooded Forest", a National Geographic Special on PBS.[3]

Harper's compositions won the Sunny Awards (GTE) competition, including 1st Place in the Campaign category and 1st place in the Music category.

In 1980, he changed his name from Gleckler to Harper.

Harper married Susan Picking Harper on May 1, 1994. They have daughter named Lauralee.


Original motion picture soundtracks[edit]

Performances with the Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra

  • 2018: Commando (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – bass player
  • 2008: Indiana Jones: The Complete Soundtracks Collection (Original Motion Picture Soundtracks) – bass player
  • 1987: Harry and the Hendersons (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – bass player
  • 1984: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – bass player
  • 1983: The Right Stuff (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – bass player
  • 1983: E.T., the Extraterrestrial (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Double bass player

Film and TV music compositions[edit]

  • 1999: The Free Willy Story – Keiko's Journey Home (TV movie) – composer
  • 1998: To Hell With Love (feature film) – composer[1]
  • 1994: Roseanne: An Unauthorized Biography (TV movie) – composer
  • 1993: Phenom (TV series) – composer, 2 episodes
    • "Crazy for You" (1993)
    • "Answered Prayers" (1993) – composer
  • 1992: Hearts Are Wild (TV series) – composer
  • 1991: Night Games (film) – composer
  • 1991: The Point! (film) – composer[4]
  • 1990: A Woman's Heart (film short) – composer
  • 1989: Serengeti Diary (TV film) – composer of "a lovely, subdued score"[5]
  • 1987: Eat & Run (feature film)

Documentary scores[edit]

  • 2008: Proof of Propaganda (documentary) – composer
  • 2008: Food Fight (documentary) – composer[6]
  • 1993: Wilderness: The Last Stand (documentary) – 3 episodes
  • 1990–1992: World of Discovery (documentary TV series) – composer; 2 episodes:
    • "Realm of the Serpent" (1992)
    • "Inventors: Out Of Their Minds" (1990)
  • 1992: Survive Siberia (documentary TV film) – composer
  • 1990: The Urban Gorilla (documentary TV film) – composer
  • 1990: Amazon: Land of the Flooded Forest (documentary TV film) – Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music & Composition [3]
  • 1985–1989: National Geographic Specials (documentary feature film TV series):
    • "Those Wonderful Dogs" (1989) – composer [7]
    • "Mysteries of Mankind" (1988) – composer[8]
    • "The Grizzlies" (1987) – composer
    • "Miraculous Machines" (1985) – composer; Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music & Composition[9]
  • 1987: The Grizzlies (documentary TV film)

Popular music[edit]

  • 2008: Three Graces, Three Graces – orchestration, string arrangements
  • 2005: Chronicles, Cher -album arrangements
  • 2003: A Time for the Soul, Winard Harper – percussion
  • 2002: Memphis Rockabillies: Hillbillies and Honky Tonkers – composer
  • 2002: The Slash Recordings, The Blasters – composer
  • 2002: The Colour of My Love, Celine Dion – conductor, string arrangements, string conductor
  • 1999: Say Man!, Bill Stuve – composer
  • 1998: Backtracking: The Duke Recordings, Vol. 2, Junior Parker – composer
  • 1997: Ricky Jones, Ricky Jones – conductor, orchestral arrangements
  • 1997: Ultimatum, Ultimatum – engineer
  • 1996: Chapters, Steve Chapman – guitar (bass)
  • 1996: Kissing Rain, Roch Voisine – conductor, string arrangements
  • 1994: Federico Mompou: Music for Piano, Michel Wagemans – audio engineer
  • 1993: The Colour of My Love, Celine Dion – string arrangements, string conductor
  • 1992: Deeper Than A River, Back to Basics
  • 1991: Love Hurts, Cher – album arrangements



  • 1983: Karen Akers[11]


Year Nominated work Category Result Notes
1977 "Freer Thou" Cobbett Prize, Royal College of Music Won Clarinet, violoncello, piano
1986 Miraculous Machines 20th Primetime Emmy Awards
Outstanding Achievement in Musical Composition[2]
Won with Lyn Murray
1990 Amazon, Land of the Flooded Forest 23rd Primetime Emmy Awards
Individual Achievement in Musical Composition[9]


  1. ^ a b Loewenstein, Lael (August 3, 1998). "To Hell With Love (Comedy)". Review. Variety. Los Angeles. p. 37. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Winners Are . . . Miraculous Machine". Variety. Los Angeles. May 15, 1987. p. 3.
  3. ^ a b "ABC Top News And Docu Emmys". Variety. Los Angeles. September 12, 1991. p. 12.
  4. ^ Meeks, Christopher (December 13, 1991). "The Point!". Legit Reviews. Daily Variety. Los Angeles.
  5. ^ Tone (June 14–20, 1989). "Serengeti Diary". Television Reviews. Variety. Los Angeles. p. 63.
  6. ^ Anderson, John (December 22, 2008). "Food Fight (Docu)". Film Reviews. Variety. Los Angeles. p. 26.
  7. ^ Tone (April 5, 1989). "Those Wonderful Dogs". Television Reviews. Variety. Los Angeles. p. 56.
  8. ^ "Mysteries of Mankind". Telefilm Reviews. Daily Variety. Los Angeles. April 20, 1988. p. 14.
  9. ^ a b "Congratulations from WQED to WQED". Variety. Los Angeles. October 29, 1986. p. 171.
  10. ^ "Scott Harper-Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Tush (November 15, 1983). "Karen Akers". Nitery Review. Daily Variety. Los Angeles. p. 12.

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