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Rodrigo Murillo

Student in composing for the screen

  • In a few words, how would you describe yourself?

I’m a student in music composition for visual media, and I have a passion for a number of art forms, including movies, theater and photography. I’m 27 years old, and I’m from Lima, Peru.

  • Could you talk to us briefly about your background?

I started out in music playing the violin and the guitar. After high school, I decided to devote my studies to music and sound production, and I chose the drums and percussion as my primary instruments. I was particularly interested in contemporary minimalist music and in the traditional music of my region. At the age of 19, after an orchestra concert, I decided to dedicate my career to movie music. I worked in certain music studios in collaboration with film composers who were well known in my country and the United States, and at 25 I was accepted in the InMics program to do master’s studies in that subject in France and in Canada. So I moved to Lyon to do the first year of my master’s at the Conservatoire national superieur musique et danse de Lyon, and now I’m doing my last session in it.

  • Which study programs are you taking at the Faculty of Music?

I’m enrolled in the master’s in music, composing for the screen option.

  • Why choose composing for the screen at the Faculty of Music?

I primarily chose it because of the teachers and the orientation of courses offered, which is actually unique. There’s also the fact that this program fosters collaboration on real projects with other schools and with the professional community.

  • What do you like best at the Faculty?

There are students and teachers from numerous disciplines who are available and who want to collaborate on joint and extracurricular projects.

  • Which teacher inspires you?

My main teacher, François-Xavier Dupas. I find his background and his professional profile highly motivating and inspiring because of all the skills he possesses and the way that he manages to direct a team and be involved in a number of projects at the same time.

  • Have you done any learning at the Faculty whose existence or usefulness you wouldn’t have suspected before?

Yes, I learned to take part in a voiceover recording session and to direct voice actors (I’ve had practical experience), which is a very important and sometimes underestimated skill.

  • For you, composing for the screen is what, exactly?

It’s having the ability to create music around a concept in order to enhance the experience of the final product by balancing the elements that it’s made up of and by maintaining a general artistic integrity.

  • In your view, what gives the Faculty of Music its special “color”?

I’d say it’s the collaboration among students in different disciplines. It’s a tight knit community, and the culture of collaborating to create something new is always present.

  • Who’s your favorite artist (composer, musician, etc.), and why?

At the moment I’m especially interested in the works of Thomas Newman, an American composer highly respected in the American film industry, and I’m devoting my master’s research project to his work. I’ve always been fascinated by the way he succeeds in creating highly effective music for the movies he works on and in blending contemporary, minimalist and modal techniques to manipulate the general atmosphere of films and other aspects as well, such as time, as part of a movie experience.

  • What are your inspirations?

New trends in contemporary art: theater, dance, interactive experiences and visual media are very inspiring forms of art. I’m fascinated by the way the new media and technologies allow us to have new means of creating art and making it available to new audiences.

  • In your stay at the Faculty of Music, you must have come across remarkable people who’ve had an impact on your development. Can you speak to us about one (or some) of them?

At one of the film festivals I attended as a student of composing for the screen, I got advice from some well-known composers whom I’ve always admired. I’ve followed their careers for some years, and hearing their comments completely changed the way I go about my work. I’m very grateful for that opportunity. I particularly remember speaking to a wonderful British composer about the work she did for a director I’m acquainted with. It was great to discover that we had contacts in common.

  • Describe an ambitious (or completely crazy!) project you`ve worked on.

I’m currently working on the music for a documentary by a French filmmaker I met at one of the festivals we participate in as part of our training. He asked me to do all the music with a drum set. So I`ve been experimenting a lot with that instrument lately. It’s certainly something I never did before, and I’m loving it!

  • Is there a particular experience you’ve had at the Faculty of Music that in your opinion is unforgettable?

I’d say that the best experiences I’ve had has been at film festivals to which we were invited as part of our training. We met people who were influential in the field and we developed excellent contacts with directors, which is invaluable for us. Outside that, I appreciate the opportunities that allow us to collaborate on real projects, and to this point I`m especially happy about the experience I had working on a project that made it possible for me to meet wonderful people that I can’t wait to continue working with.

  • What advice would you give to a first-year student?

Try to learn as much as possible from the people around you. Your teachers are the best source of information, so make the very most of your time as a student and don’t be afraid of proposing things or asking questions about your personal interests.

  • What are the 3 most important qualities for a composer?

For me, the principal quality is to keep an open, exploring  mind in order to discover new things all the time. Also, it’s important to always be receptive to comments and critiques and to have the confidence to explore and to display your creativity.

  • Outside of music, what are your interests or passions?

I’m excited primarily by other art forms: I love photography, poetry and painting. Travel and learning languages are other great passions for me.

  • What are your aspirations?

I’d like to make a name for myself on the local movie music and video game scene. I look forward to being part of a music company and to growing along with it.

  • What are your plans for the future?

I was recently commissioned to work on the music and sound for some very demanding independent projects. I’m going to focus on that for a few months once my studies are over. Also, I’ll start to build my home studio and I’ll join the team of a composer so I can carry on learning while collaborating on his projects.


April 2022