Five women composers that should be on your radar

Originally published on Film4 / Medium.

Mica Levi, Hildur Guðnadóttir and Isobel Waller-Bridge have made (sound) waves in the film industry over the past few years, doing much to raise the profile of women in the film score space. In fact Spotify even have a playlist celebrating women composer’s work, filled with over two hours of music.

But who are their peers and who are next generation of melody-making maestros? Here are our two cents…

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch

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Emilie is an award-winning French pianist and composer based in London. Most recently she has composed scores for the films Only You and Rocks (the release of which has sadly been delayed due to Covid-19), showing a sensitivity and elegance well-suited to their intense and at times, agonising stories.

Listen to her work on Spotify.

Anne Nikitin

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Anne is a Canadian composer based in London whose break into film scoring came with Bart Layton’s 2012 documentary The Imposter. She then went onto to receive a nomination for the Ivor Novello Award for her score on his next film American Animals, which is as audacious, unpredictable and eclectic as the film itself. Anne created a truly menacing score for Netflix’s 2018 thriller Calibre and continues to demonstrate her range and appetite for experimentation across narrative and documentary features.

Listen to her work on Spotify.

Nainita Desai

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Nainita’s score for the courageous and poignant documentary For Sama earned her a BIFA-nomination, and was all the more powerful for its empathic nuance. Having received degrees in maths and then sound design at NFTS she built her experience across a range of genres, including Annapurna’s interactive film/game Telling Lies, Nainita’s scores are as precise as they are hard to pin down. Her score for the 2019 UK/Indian film Darkness Visible is particularly unique and her next release is for Jerry Rothwell’s acclaimed Sundance-winning feature The Reason I Jump.

Listen to her work on Spotify.

Tujiko Noriko

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Tujiko is a Japanese musician based in Paris who has a decades-spanning discography that Huck magazine described as “phatasmagorical”. She got her start in film scores on a low-budget Japanese film called Kuro, producing something ambient, minimalist and futuristic. Her work will next be heard in Aneil Karia’s Sundance-premiering feature debut Surge, a kinetic and boundary-pushing piece of cinema to which she seems perfectly suited.

Listen to her work on Spotify.

Jo Paterson

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Jo is an emerging composer whose work spans across short films, animation, video games, commercials and virtual reality. She composed a gorgeous and heart-rending score for the VR documentary Notes to My Father, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and centres on the relationship between a human trafficking survivor and her father. With such mature and resonant work already under her belt, we have no doubt you’ll be hearing more from Jo in the future.

Listen to her work here.

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