Robert Koehler of Variety Magazine writes about the South Boston-based film What Doesn’t Kill You starring Mark Ruffalo: Reviving the long-lost art of the theme-based score, Alex Wurman’s music is like a homer over the Green Monster.Award-winning composer Alex Wurman is highly versatile with a broad musical palette. He can traverse the film-score landscape by writing a critically-acclaimed score for an Oscar®-winning film, to supporting comedy with musical punctuation for box office giants, to capturing the essence of brainy ideas for indie films. Some examples include: the eerie piano melodies of Confessions of A Dangerous Mind, minimalist/20th century sculpted sounds for Temple Grandin, groovy ’70’s themes for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, contemporary interpretations of French impressionism for Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, and soulful melodies combined with ethereal orchestrations for March of the Penguins. When asked to score another wildlife documentary, The Last Lions for Dereck and Beverly Joubert, Wurman wrote a score that won him his second award for ‘best music’ at the world’s leading natural history film forum: The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Although known primarily for his work on films, when scoring major telefilms, such as Mrs. Harris, or Bernard and Doris, he is rewarded with Emmy recognition. Wurman’s score for HBO Film’s Temple Grandin starring Claire Danes won the Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special.
Alex Wurman’s talents are the result of both nature and nurture, hailing from a family with generations devoted to the study and performance of music. The Chicago native’s father, Hans Wurman, was an arranger and composer, who pioneered the world of electronic music by recording intricate works on the first Moog synthesizer. As a youngster, Alex would spend afternoons at his father’s workplace; his love for the arts would secure him admission into the prestigious Academy of Performing Arts High School. He went on to study composition at the University of Miami in Coral Gables and the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. In his early twenties, Wurman moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film scoring.
He immediately began scoring AFI student films. These valuable experiences proved to be the launching pad for Wurman’s independent career. Soon thereafter, assignments came his way as directors discovered a fresh and versatile composer whose music lent depth to their films.
This cerebral composer is able to work with directors in many film genres. He especially develops a close relationship with writer/directors, such as Steven Conrad, John August, Jill Sprecher, and Ron Shelton; perhaps because Wurman’s music, on its own, also tells a story. “He is a born storyteller whose work gets to the heart of the matter and expresses what words cannot. The music he creates is completely unique, complex and stunning,” said Jill Sprecher, director of Thirteen Conversations About One Thing. Ron Shelton (Play it to the Bone, Hollywood Homicide) stated, “I don’t think there is any kind of music in which he is not conversant.” The Los Angeles Times wrote: “Wurman’s spare, elegant score contributes strongly to creating and sustaining the film’s shifting moods.” Percy Adlon, director of Bagdad Cafe and The Hotel Adlon described Wurman’s abilities by stating, “He has a wonderfully wide range of styles. You can travel with him from Schubert to Thelonius Monk, from Jamaican to Baroque, from noise to ballroom, from rich to sparse. He will never give you a cheap imitation. You always get an original.”