Admissions Viewbook Stories

Artist

Evan Duffy ('12)


 
image: /news/admissions/2017/_images/viewbook/233287-Evan-Duffy-Portraits-1007.jpg

‘I came through the doors the first day at JMU and said I wanted to be a film composer. Sometimes in a more stuffy academic setting that can be frowned on because it’s definitely an avenue of more popular music that is taken less seriously sometimes, but all of my JMU professors were always so supportive of my dream. They all said, “OK, so this is what you want to do. How are we going to get you there.”’


What projects have you been working on?

We just finished up a new Fast and Furious movie Furious 7, and the Avengers movie Age of Ultron. I’ve also been working on a couple others; a movie called Truth, which is a drama-political-biography picture, and a foreign movie The Disappointment Room. The variety of projects has been really exciting.

What at JMU prepared you for the film industry?

At JMU, I did a lot of classical piano. That really allowed me to get my chops playing piano and learning a bunch of different styles of music. I’ve always been a fan of not just classical music but also Billy Joel and Elton John, anything from pop music and hip-hop to Eminem to film scores. Being able to play all that on the piano, having studied with my professors at JMU, really helped to acquaint me and allow me to investigate so much of this music further.

Did music composition training help, too?

In addition to the piano, I also studied music composition at JMU the whole time I was there, as well. What I was getting from piano was the tactile—the being able to perform this music and learn it from the inside out. Music composition allowed me to go in and really to find details and to see what this music was made of, to take it apart and dissect it—none of which I would have been able to do without my time at JMU. My days at JMU were very critical to my career and everything going forward.


Listen: Evan's JMU scores and more


Would you say some of your JMU professors mentored you?

I studied extensively with Dr. Gabriel Dobner, Dr. Jason Haney, Dr. John Hilliard and Dr. Eric Ruple all throughout my years at JMU. They were invaluable to me. They all knew from day one what I wanted to do. I came through the doors the first day at JMU and said I wanted to be a film composer. Sometimes in a more stuffy academic setting that can be frowned on because it’s definitely an avenue of more popular music that is taken less seriously sometimes, but all of my JMU professors were always so supportive of my dream. They all said, “OK, so this is what you want to do. How are we going to get you there.”

Did you create any original musical scores while at JMU?

I had a lot of buddies who were involved in different projects while we were students at JMU, including some of whom were working on a short film, and they reached out to me and asked me to do the music for that. It was a short film called The Man Who Killed Dan Odams. It was an awesome experience. They came to me looking for an orchestral score. At that point, I hadn’t done any scoring work. It was definitely a learning process. They forged the path with me, and we came away with something that I’m really proud of.

Other hands-on work experience while at JMU?

I was also able to link up with the JMU Admissions office and do some original music for a video, adapting the JMU fight song—using it as a thematic throughout the video. That was a 10-minute, fully orchestrated, John Williams-style piece that was really challenging and fun. Being able to make music work in that type of a supporting role with the admissions video was such great experience. These two experiences alone put me out into the post-graduate world with more experience that I feel a lot of people get, and part of this is because JMU embraces students going outside the norm and doing what they want to do and getting the most out of their experiences.

Find your major Come see campus! Schedule a tour. Apply today!

Published: Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Last Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2016

Back to Top

    Related Articles

  • 233884-Jesmine-Roberts-Torres-Viewbook-Portraits-1023thumb.jpg Explorer

    Biology major Jesmine Roberts-Torres credits her professor for teaching her how to process information and apply it to solving problems.

  • James Watkins Thinker

    James Watkins and his team is working on a cold plasma project with NASA for his two-year capstone project.

  • 233684-Amanda-Presgraves-Swimming-Portraits-1003-thumb.jpg Connector

    JMU Kinesiology major Amanda Presgraves masterminded the entrepreneurial creation of a food truck that comes to JMU with local food and is operated by JMU students


Read More