Hollywood gong for city composers

Amanda Falkenberg hopes her award will lead to film work. (SUPPLIED)

For Amanda Lee Falkenberg and Paul Myer Hopkins, their life's work has never sounded as sweet.

The Dubai residents are the first composers from the Middle East to be nominated for today's Hollywood Music in Media Awards. The event recognises and honours music in visual mediums, from film and television to commercials and video games.

The husband-and-wife pair have been picked from thousands of submissions worldwide. Each is one of only four or five nominees in two categories at an event that is broadcast in 17 countries and across the US to an estimated 120 million households.

"When you're out here in Arabia, you really want to know where you stand professionally," Australian national Falkenberg, 33, told Emirates Business before jetting off to Hollywood earlier this week.

She has been nominated for two compositions, as Best New Composer for Forgotten Arabia, a film trailer score and Best Classical/Orchestral for Coral Garden Dance. Both were written this year.

"I was between projects and decided I wanted to write a big epic film trailer piece, so I went into the studio, and seven days later, Forgotten Arabia was born. I imagined it would work as the soundtrack to a big, epic battle with Arabic horses," she said of the dramatic, full-choir piece, which uses a variety of Arabic instruments and vocals.

Myer Hopkins, a 43-year-old teacher at the American School of Dubai, has been nominated in the World Music category for his piece, Desert Portrait, and in the Ambient genre for Inner Soul Chill-Out.

"I'm looking forward to being among people who write music," he said.

None of the pieces nominated have actually been used in any sort of media yet, but the awards and the conference that follows them are also a networking event to create opportunities for that kind of work.

And already, said Falkenberg, she has had agents asking to represent her. "I would love to think a major film deal is the next step."


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