The media music world is discovering score composer and songwriter Emily Bear who recently wrote and performed the Main and End Title songs for the Warner Bros. family feature, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase.
Emily Jordan Bear is an American composer and pianist who has received notice at an early age. After beginning to play the piano and compose music as a small child, Bear made her professional piano debut at the Ravinia Festival at the age of five, the youngest performer ever to play there. She gained wider notice from a series of appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show beginning at the age of six. She has since played her own compositions and other works with orchestras and ensembles in North America, Europe, and Asia, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, Montreux Jazz Festival and Jazz Open Stuttgart. She has won two Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and was the youngest person ever to win the award. She has also won two Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Awards. Hal Leonard Music has been publishing Bear’s original compositions since she was 4 years old. A documentary on Bear has attracted more than 34 million views on YouTube and received an Emmy Award. Bear has achieved groundbreaking success as a pianist, composer, and songwriter. A chart-topping recording artist, she enjoys arranging, orchestrating, and performing in a diverse collection of styles including film scoring, pop, jazz and classical.
Bear recently recorded original film music at Eastman Scoring Stage with an 80 piece all-star orchestra. “The thing that really caught my ear originally was her depth”, said Peter Rotter of Encompass Music, “the language that she speaks with musically is of someone who has had years and years of experience. She really has an innate knowledge of what works and of what moves people. That’s a huge help when she works with filmmakers, producers and heads of studios where she can come alongside them as a partner and really see what they are wanting and being able to translate it into music. I work with just about everybody in the business and I’ve never seen anyone with the talent she has.” Legendary film scoring pianist Randy Kerber stated, “It isn’t like this is good music for a 16 or 17 year old. No – this is good for a forty year old. It’s just great music. The sky’s the limit for Emily.”
In June, Bear received the 2018 Abe Olman Scholarship at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards in New York City. Her passion for writing and singing pop music has led to collaborations with some of the top songwriters and producers in the industry. An EP with Grammy nominated and multi-platinum producer Toby Gad, will be released in 2019. “Emily really blew me away and she has an incredible voice,” said Gad, “I think the world is wide open with this kind of talent.”
In 2013, Bear released her chart-topping album, Diversity, containing her own jazz compositions, produced by her mentor, Quincy Jones. “She’s the most delightful human being I’ve ever met in my life”, Quincy says. “And her music is the same way. I am at once astounded and inspired by the enormous talent that Emily embodies. She shows as much musical prowess as pianists/composers twice her age, and I am thrilled to be working with her. She’s astounding, man, she’s astounding. She plays like she’s 40 years old. She is the complete 360-degree package, and there are no limits to the musical heights she can reach. Not only is she a concert level classical pianist, a Billboard topping jazz pianist, acclaimed jazz and classical composer, expert film scorer, and superbly talented pop singer/songwriter, she is one of the kindest humans I know. Furthermore, Emily has a unique ability to seamlessly transition from classical to jazz, from be-bop to bossa nova, from blues to classical, to popular music; her potential is truly endless. Her compositions are stunning, and she effortlessly combines elements of all types of music. I have been in the business for over 70 years now and I have yet to see another artist like her.”
Bear composed the music for a national television advertising campaign and is heard on the 2015 Broadway cast recording of the musical Doctor Zhivago. She leads her own jazz trio, with which she recorded an EP, Into the Blue, which was chosen as a 2017 top jazz album of the year. Later in 2017, Bear became the youngest lead performer in the history of the 25-city European stadium tour, Night of the Proms. The tour featured a 70-piece orchestra, choir, and rock band and was filmed for three prime-time television specials aired in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. Reviewers called Bear the highlight of the concerts and the “discovery of the evening”.
At the Hollywood Bowl, Bear performed The Cat Concerto, accompanying the screening of the 1947 Tom and Jerry short. In May, Bear was the 2018 recipient of Illinois’ Order of Lincoln Award, alongside Steven Chen (youtube) and Melanie Hobson (Dreamworks) where she debuted her new orchestral composition, “And Forever Free”. Also in May, Bear returned to the Hollywood Bowl to play two performances of the Freddy Martin piano and orchestra arrangement of “Bumble Boogie” live to the segment of the same name in the 1948 Disney film Melody Time as part of an evening that featured a live concert of the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. “You can watch all the youtube video’s on Emily,” music supervisor Julia Michels states, “but when you see what she does in person it takes your breath away. I’ve never come in contact with anyone the likes of her.” In July she performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra at the Grant Park Music Festival in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Bear has helped raise millions for charities through performances and events across the globe, and donates a portion from the sales of her CDs and songbooks. “Emotion has been the basis of all my music,”explains Bear, “I base everything on what makes people feel and what moves them and that has been the core for everything I’ve done.”