"Eunjung Jeong: A Rising Star in the World of Composing, Orchestrating, and Music Copying"

Eunjung Jeong is a highly skilled composer, orchestrator, and music copyist based in Los Angeles, who has worked on many prominent projects, including BBC Ice Frozen Planet II, The Santa Clauses, White Noise, Family Guy, American Dad, and the upcoming Gremlins. 

Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Eunjung discovered her passion for music as a teenager and began studying classical and jazz piano. Her skills quickly developed, and at the age of 18, she won second place in a nationwide student competition.

After graduating high school, Eunjung started her professional career as a freelance composer and orchestrator, working on a wide variety of projects for clients across the country, collaborating closely with filmmakers and learning about the film industry in Korea.

Feeling the desire to take her career to the next level, Eunjung applied to the Berklee College of Music, the world's most prestigious music school. Recognizing her extraordinary abilities, the school board awarded her a large scholarship. While studying at Berklee, Eunjung continued to work on indie film projects and also started collaborating with her peers. It quickly became clear to everyone that she had a natural talent for film scoring.

After graduating from Berklee, Eunjung moved to Los Angeles, where she found many opportunities to collaborate on a wide range of projects. In May 2022, she was hired by Fine Line Music Services, a worldwide leader in orchestrating and music preparation, to supervise multiple large-scale projects, including several Netflix, Marvel, BBC, and Disney movies and TV shows.

Eunjung cites Kris Bowers, a composer for the Netflix show Bridgerton, as her biggest inspiration and motivator. She is grateful for the support of her parents, who were open-minded and supportive despite the fact that many Korean parents do not want their children to become musicians. Eunjung is now thriving in her career and looks forward to continuing to grow and develop her skills as a composer and orchestrator.

Eunjung's love of jazz and her education in the genre has helped her understand different music genres and work on a variety of projects.

Eunjung Jeong is a one of a kind “Superwoman” of music, not only because she has worked on animations ( "Family Guy", "American Dad"), documentaries (BBC Ice Frozen Planet II), as well as films ("White Noise", “the Santa Clauses”, the upcoming "Gremlins.")... It’s also because she can endorse all three roles, and sometimes simultaneously, as composer, orchestrator, and music copyist, three roles that are very distinct in the music industry : A composer creates the music, an orchestrator arranges it for a specific ensemble, and a music copyist prepares the music for performance.

I had the chance of meeting her, and I asked her more about her work, and her projects: 

What were the first big projects you worked on in Los Angeles ?
»"BBC Ice Frozen Planet II and The Santa Clauses were the first projects that I orchestrated at Fine Line Music Service. I love documentaries, especially about animals and nature, so Ice Frozen Planet II was a great project for me," she said. "The music was remarkable and I was really happy orchestrating it. Our company is the leader in the industry and I always get a chance to work for the greatest composers of all time and the greatest projects."

You recently worked with one of your all time favorite movie composers, Danny Elfman, on the movie "White Noise." What was it like ? 
»"I feel very proud of what I’m doing. It was amazing when I got a chance to work for Danny Elfman. He is one of my favorite composers and I never thought that I’d get a chance to work for him. Danny  has been my favorite film composer all time, he has a very unique style. it was such an honor," she said.

Your first instrument was the piano, and I heard that you played other instruments too. Is it necessary to play multiple instruments as an orchestrator ?
»"It is not necessary but extremely helpful if you can play multiple instruments because the more you understand the instruments, the better you can use each instrument’s unique features when you orchestrate. Piano is my main instrument, but I learnt flute, violin, guitar, and bass when I was young. I’ve always been in love with instruments and I’m still trying to learn more of them. I’m not a pro player except piano but at least I know how other instruments work from learning them and that’s helping me a lot when I orchestrate and compose."

Could you explain how you work differently as a composer, as an orchestrator, and as a music copyist to our readers ?
»“When I work as a composer, I create music, either by writing it down on paper or by recording it digitally.

As an orchestrator, I take the composer's music and arrange it for a specific group of instruments. I may add additional parts, change the instrumentation, and make other changes to the music to make it sound better when performed by an orchestra or other ensemble.

As a music copyist, I take the composer's or orchestrator's music and write it down on paper in a format that can be read by musicians. I may also prepare parts for individual instruments and make sure that the music is ready to be performed.”

Besides handling all three roles simultaneously, what makes your work unique ? 
»“I think what makes me different is, I was a jazz/RnB musician in the first place and my vast understanding of all the genres. Movie genres have become more diverse over a long period of time. Accordingly, film music genres had to be diversified. People don’t want only classical music for their films. Based on my understanding of various music genres, I quickly catch the types of music the director wants and determine the direction of composition and orchestration.”

What are the biggest challenges you face in your job ? 
»"When we orchestrate, we get the MIDI files and stems from the composer or the company and we clean up the MIDI file and import the file to the notation softwares and then we orchestrate. The longer the length of the movies or tv shows, the more people work on the cues. Music is the last stage of the production (post production) and there is always a shortage of time. Sometimes this makes me nervous because we always have deadlines and we cannot postpone the live recording sessions that are already booked. However, it is also very exciting at the same time."

What’s the difference between working on animation and films? 
»"Animations, such as Family Guy and American Dad that I worked on, usually each cue is shorter and simpler compared to the movies or documentaries, but there are a lot of cues to orchestrate and copy. It can be challenging to get everything done before the deadlines, and we often work very late when a live recording session is coming up.  But when the music is out there, I feel really proud to be a part of it !”

We look forward to hearing more of Eunjung's music and seeing what her future holds. She recently worked on the upcoming Gremlins, which will air in 2023

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