Arranging for Big Bands and for Strings in Pop Music

With Chris Walden,   August 6 – 8

Part 1 “From Germany To Hollywood”

An in-depth look at Chris Walden’s journey that started as an arranger and composer in Germany and brought him to Los Angeles where he eventually became one of the top arrangers for big band and orchestra projects with artists like Michael Bublé, Rihanna, Barbra Streisand, Diana Krall, Josh Groban, Paul McCartney and many more. This segment will cover business aspects as well as writing tools and equipment.

Part 2 “Arranging for Big Band”

There are many approaches when it comes to writing music for big band, but in this segment Chris Walden will give an inside look and detailed explanation of writing big band arrangements for commercial projects to back up singers using examples of some of his well known arrangements.

Part 3 “Arranging Strings for Pop Music”

Arranging strings to an existing rhythm track or even full orchestra in a commercial context for a pop music projects requires a certain skill set and techniques that Chris Walden will explain using first hand examples from recent recording projects.

Chris talks about his class.

Six-time Grammy nominated German-born composer/arranger/conductor Chris Walden has scored more than 40 feature and TV films, and has written more than a thousand orchestral and big band arrangements for artists including Diana Krall, Josh Groban, Michael Bublé, Aretha Franklin, Paul Anka, Stevie Wonder, Rihanna, Barbra Streisand, and orchestras like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Pops, and many more. He has worked closely with producers David Foster, Tommy LiPuma, and Phil Ramone.

He most recently wrote arrangements for the Academy Awards (Oscars®) and he arranged the National Anthem for Jennifer Hudson’s performance at the SUPER BOWL XLIII. His recent film credits  as a composer include the feature film “King Of Herrings”, TV movies “Alien Siege”, “Crimson Force”, Gene Wilder’s “The Lady in Question”, and the CBS mini series “Blonde”. Since 2007 Walden has also been a principal arranger for “AMERICAN IDOL” and was an arranger for”THE TONIGHT SHOW with Jay Leno”. He has been musical director on many TV shows and series, and has worked on more than 100 CDs. As an arranger and bandleader he has worked with jazz artists including Michael Brecker, Peter Erskine, Tierney Sutton, Arturo Sandoval, and the Count Basie Orchestra.

Chris Walden began writing compositions and arrangements at the age of 16 for local high school bands. After graduating at 19 he joined the German National Youth Jazz Orchestra as a trumpet player. At the age of 21 he started writing arrangements for German radio big bands and radio symphony orchestras, while he was studying composition and arranging at the University of Cologne. As assistant to his mentor Peter Herbolzheimer Walden arranged music for the OSCAR nominated film “Schtonk”.

After receiving two master’s degrees in music Chris Walden conducted the RIAS Big Band in Berlin and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, served as musical director for the televised German Movie Award Show for four years and composed music for German films and TV before he emigrated to Los Angeles at the age of 29.

As a guest conductor he led the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Columbus Symphony, West Australian Philharmonic, Munich Symphony, Budapest Symphony, South Korean Pops, and many more.

Although Chris Walden learned arranging, composing and orchestrating the traditional way with pencil and paper, from early on he explored the possibilities of computers for sequencing and notation. That’s why he always likes to orchestrate, program, and conduct his music himself.

Since 1999 Chris is leading his own big band recruited from top studio musicians based in Los Angeles. Chris currently serves as trustee on the national board of the Recording Academy and he is the president of ASMAC (American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers.)

2014 Grammy Nomination for “Moon River” (Amy Dickson)
2013 Grammy Nomination for “Let’s Fall In Love”
(Calabria Foti/Seth MacFarlane)
2008 (2) Grammy nominations for “Symphony No.1”
2007 ASMAC award
2005 (2) Grammy nominations for “Home Of My Heart”
(Chris Walden Big Band)
1998 Ernst-Fischer-Prize
1993 Ernst-Fischer-Prize


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Our Mission

The Hollywood Music Workshop is all about bringing talented composers from around the world together in one place, and providing them with first-class courses and a very inspiring working environment. We want to establish a personal relationship between lecturers and participants and therefore let them profit from one another. We love film music and we want to provide other people with a chance of experiencing the magic of film music as well.