Javier Navarrete, an international film composer from Spain, recently came to Berklee College of Music, Valencia Campus to give a clinic to students in the scoring for film, television, and video games master’s program. His film credits include scores for Inkheart, Wrath of the Titans, and Pan’s Labyrinth, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Music Score. In this interview, Navarrete shares how he got started in film scoring, his thoughts on the global music industry, and more.
The following is a condensed and edited version of a conversation with Navarrete.
When did you start to play music?
When I was 12 or 13 my sisters had a guitar and I started to play it, first on my own, and later jamming with friends.
How and when did your career start?
I premiered an electronic work in Barcelona when I was 17. I spent some years after that writing and playing avant-garde concert music, and then a friend in Barcelona asked me to score his first feature film when I was 28. It was a very dark movie called In a Glass Cage, which is somehow still a cult movie today. I had a very hard time getting used to working with a director and a schedule because I was used to writing with total freedom.
What is your relationship with Berklee? And what do you think about its new international campus in Valencia?
I’ve known about it for many years. I think the new campus is great, and it’s a privilege for my country to host such an interesting, creative factory.
Do you think it will have an impact in the music industry?
I hope so. I hope the impact also reaches the Spanish industry. What I saw was a very international and cosmopolitan community of people from many different countries, which means the impact will be global.
What does this experience mean to you?
It was great to be with and learn from brilliant young people. After my session with the students, I came back home and I felt like writing two pieces of music, and this is what I’m doing now.
What did your master class focus on?
I believe I focused on the miracle and the happiness of being a composer. Also, I think I made it clear that you can be a good composer and make a living without even considering going to Hollywood. But I also understand that students at a first-class college like Berklee have to picture themselves at the top of the business.
What do you think the students learned from the master class?
I think they were able to see firsthand how a composer sees his everyday duties, and which ones are the main issues he has to deal with.
What do you think about the students?
I think they are brilliant. I was able to listen to some music from all of them, and the level was so high. At the end of the year, there will be twenty-something first-class film composers in the market ready to steal the best jobs from me!
How was your connection with the students?
Mine was great. I hope they felt the same way.
Music is a language that everyone understands. Because of this, Berklee students come from all over the world. How important do you think it is to be in an international community of students?
I was surprised at how every possible background seemed to be represented in the class, and I think this is crucial in our super-connected world of today. Two years ago, I scored a movie in New Zealand for an American studio with a Korean director. My conductor/orchestrator was English. This is why students are also an international community. They’re like everyone else, but ahead of everyone else because they’re young.