Matt Rose is a composer, orchestrator and music director from Philadelphia. On top of that, he’s a sophomore studying Music Business in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.
A talented guitarist and bassoonist, Rose has involved himself in everything from scoring films for Tisch students to booking shows for NYU’s student-run West Fourth Music Group. But, with all that hustle comes a little struggle — at times, Rose has found it difficult to balance his many different endeavors.
But recently, Rose came up with a solution to his balancing problem by creating a medium to bring together his diverging interests in music and film. Along with his two friends, Tisch Film & TV sophomore Adam Roat and Brown University sophomore James Feinberg, Rose founded a production company called RFR Productions.
“We specialize in music, musical theater, movie musical stuff for film and for theater,” Rose said. “We’ve done a couple commercial projects as well. I think that’s the goal [for me], to work on doing music stuff but also being able to control my own career.”
Rose notes that there is a lack of composer-centric representation in the industry compared to other areas of entertainment.
“Film composers have agents but they’re not managed the same way — it’s not like there’s a label or anything that specializes in film composer’s music or theatrical music,” Rose said. “Especially for theater, you have these Broadway cast recordings that are basically being made by a bunch of labels. There’s no place where they specialize in that completely. That’s a goal of mine to be able to get there and potentially make a company that does that.”
Rose’s take on the matter is warranted. Even as a sophomore, he has begun to build an extensive portfolio of compositions through RFR productions. His most recent efforts are with “The Eminent Carmine Craig,” a 36-minute movie musical, which screened at the Montclair Film Festival, and was directed by Roat, written by Feinberg and scored by Rose.
“It was the first big film project I did,” Rose said. “It wasn’t me on my computer scoring something and then going somewhere else. It was, you’re actually going to a studio and recording this.”
The RFR team and Rose are onto their next feature film and movie musical, “Chamber Piece,” which is in pre-production. But Rose doesn’t want to be focused on only one thing, and as a result actively involves himself with other theater productions under the RFR brand.
“Theatrically speaking I’m doing music direction and orchestrations for a show called ‘Boy Meets Girl,’ written by my writing partner James [Feinberg] a while ago with a couple other composers,” he said. “I have two new songs and complete orchestrations for that. [That we’ll] be premiering at [The Summer Fest in New York] in August.”
Rose enjoys how film work offers him an extremely collaborative environment, one that he explains is vital to his creative process.
“I like that I get to work with a lot of different people,” Rose said. “I think that’s why I work in the areas that I do. I don’t think I would be doing it if it wasn’t as collaborative as it is. It’s awesome.”
Rose is confident that his many musical hats offer him a distinct advantage in a scene that’s filled with competition from all angles, whether that be composition, music direction or orchestration.
“The thing that differentiates me, especially from a lot of people out there now, is that I try not to set limits for myself,” Rose said. “I try not to say, ‘I write pop musical theater or ‘I write jazz theater.’ That’s why I love orchestrating and that’s why I love working and music directing. I’ll write anything anybody needs me to write in any style, and if I don’t know how to write it, then I’ll seek it out … I’ve written a bunch of stuff, and none of it’s the same.”
Email Connor Gatesman at [email protected]