J. A. C. Redford

Last updated
J. A. C. Redford
Birth nameJonathan Alfred Clawson Redford
Born (1953-07-14) July 14, 1953 (age 69)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Orchestra
Occupation(s)Composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor
Years active1976–present
Website jacredford.com

Jonathan Alfred Clawson Redford [1] (born July 14, 1953) is an American composer, arranger, orchestrator, and conductor. He is also the author of Welcome All Wonders: A Composer's Journey.


Artistic development

A wide variety of musical influences marked Redford's youth, ranging from symphonic music and nineteenth-century opera to the Beatles, Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell, Aaron Copland, the scores of classic film composers such as Bernard Hermann, and jazz artists like Dave Brubeck. [2] According to Image Journal, such a panoply of interests makes J.A.C. Redford "an equal opportunity composer. The music that flows from his mind and heart can take shape as a piano quartet, a Christmas oratorio, or a film score." [3]

In his teens, Redford played in and arranged music for rock 'n' roll bands. [4] In his early twenties, Redford began scoring documentaries and educational films, learning the craft of composing for the cinema.

After moving to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, Redford began to write scores for television, beginning as a co-composer for Starsky & Hutch. In the 1980s, when the American Federation of Musicians called a strike that caused a virtual shutdown of U.S. film and television recording, Redford used the opportunity to continue his musical education. He studied composition with Hal Johnson and conducting with Frederick Zweig, and he took a master class in film composition with Walter Scharf through the UCLA extension program. During this period, Redford wrote concert and chamber music as well. Some years later, Redford studied composition and counterpoint with operatic composer and film orchestrator Thomas Pasatieri.


From 1976 to the present, Redford has been concurrently writing music for film and television, the concert hall, chamber artists, choral ensembles, and the theater. In a 2009 article, Jérémie Noyer wrote, "It is that rich experience that makes Redford's music unique, drawing from an incredible array of influences . . . J.A.C. Redford distinguishes himself from other film music composers by an incredible versatility, feeling as comfortable in pop music or jazz as in concert music." [5]

Artists and ensembles that have performed his work include: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Joshua Bell, Liona Boyd, Cantus, Chicago Symphony, Debussy Trio, Israel Philharmonic, Kansas City Chorale, Los Angeles Chamber Singers, Los Angeles Master Chorale, New York Philharmonic, Phoenix Chorale, St. Martin's Chamber Choir, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Utah Chamber Artists, and Utah Symphony.

Redford's work for mixed chorus and orchestra, Homing, was commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) for its Raymond W. Brock Memorial Commission 2017. The work premiered on 8 and 9 March at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, in concerts for the ACDA National Conference 2017. The combined choir of 150 singers was drawn from the University of Minnesota Chamber Singers and the Minnesota Chorale, both under the direction of Kathy Saltzman Romey, and Magnum Chorum, led by Mark Stover. The choir was joined by the Minnesota Orchestra and the performances were conducted by Robert Spano, Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

His music has been featured on programs at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Lincoln Center in New York, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and London's Royal Albert Hall.

Redford has written the scores for more than three dozen feature films, TV movies, and miniseries, including The Trip to Bountiful, One Night with the King, What the Deaf Man Heard, Mama Flora's Family, as well as Disney's Oliver & Company, Newsies, The Mighty Ducks II, and The Mighty Ducks III. He has composed the music for nearly 500 episodes of series television, including multiple seasons of Coach and St. Elsewhere (for which he received Emmy nominations in 1984 and 1985).

His incidental music has been heard in theatrical productions at the Matrix Theater in Los Angeles and South Coast Repertory Theater in Costa Mesa, California, as well as on the American Playhouse series on PBS. Two of his musical comedies are published by Anchorage Press and performed frequently across North America.

Collaborating with other artists, Redford has orchestrated, arranged, or conducted for Academy Award-winning composers James Horner, Alan Menken, Randy Newman, and Rachel Portman, as well as for Terence Blanchard, Danny Elfman, Mark Isham, Thomas Newman, Marc Shaiman, and Cirque du Soleil's Benoît Jutras, on projects including The Little Mermaid, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Perfect Storm, Avatar, The Amazing Spiderman, The Help, The Iron Lady, Skyfall, 1917, and Pixar's WALL-E and Finding Dory. He has written for and recorded with Grammy Award-winning artists Joshua Bell, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bonnie Raitt, and Sting. He has produced, arranged, and conducted music for the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and served as a consultant for the Sundance Film Institute, a teacher in the Artists-in-Schools program for the National Endowment for the Arts, a guest lecturer at USC and UCLA, and on the Music Branch Executive Committees for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. [6]

Reception and non-musical influences

According to Image Journal, "the thread running through all [of Redford's] music is an exuberant, melodic energy." [7] David Vernier called Redford "a composer who knows how to write good tunes, engaging rhythms that capture the energy implied in the texts, and who knows how to pull the essential dramatic moments from a story and orchestrate them." [8]

His music has been called evocative, [9] intensely expressive, [10] epic, [11] beautifully orchestrated with an almost palpable sense of tenderness, [12] and tuneful and lyric. [13] His oratorio The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp reflects "a mix of styles—sometimes tonal, sometimes polytonal, with rich choral textures and superb orchestrations bringing depth of emotion and fine musical results." [14] Redford's range makes his music at times "emotionally powerful, convey[ing] feelings of pain, anguish and sorrow" [10] and at others "delightful and witty." [15] When Redford worked alongside premier violinist Joshua Bell, CNN reported that Redford created "shimmering" arrangements for Bell's album, Voice of the Violin. [16]

By setting four poems for an Easter Symphony, A Paschal Feast, Redford created a work at once "engaging . . . forceful and joyous . . . well-balanced and strong". [17] William Goodfellow wrote of Redford's cantata Welcome All Wonders, "throughout the scoring is imaginative [and] the counterpoint ingenious." [18] NPR’s Gene Parrish wrote of the same piece that his "careful selection and interpretation of his texts are matched by profound musical inspirations, and executed by well-crafted orchestrations and genuinely masterful choral writing." [19]

Many of Redford's orchestral and chamber pieces are settings of poetry or sacred texts. Indeed, "poetry is nearly as important to me as music," Redford has stated. [20] He has an abiding love for the marriage of music and text, most enjoying the work of poets who created a visceral rhythm with their language. Redford likes the challenge of setting such poems to music that would preserve the natural spoken rhythms of the words and reveal underlying meanings through dramatic shading and color, the tension between consonance and dissonance, counterpoint, and other musical techniques.

Music for orchestra

Chamber music

Choral music

Vocal solos

Music for Dance and Musical Theater

Film and television composition

Orchestration and conducting


Concert works

Feature Film


Other Recordings

Soundtrack credits

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  1. "J.A.C. Redford". IMDb. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  2. J.A.C. Redford, Welcome All Wonders: A Composer's Journey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997), 33, 40-42, 56-58.
  3. Image Journal, "Artist of the Month," November 2003. http://imagejournal.org/page/artist-of-the-month/jac-redford Archived 2012-06-03 at the Wayback Machine
  4. J.A.C. Redford, Welcome All Wonders: A Composer's Journey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997), 41.
  5. Jérémie Noyer, "Once Upon A Time in New York City: Oliver & Company’s Composer J.A.C. Redford," http://animatedviews.com/2009/oliver-co-composer-jac-redford/, February 2, 2009.
  6. Biographical information found at http://www.jacredford.com/biography/ Archived 2012-02-29 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Image Journal, "Artist of the Month," November 2003. http://imagejournal.org/page/artist-of-the-month/jac-redford Archived 2012-06-03 at the Wayback Machine
  8. David Vernier, Classics.com: http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-11001/
  9. Victoria Looseleaf, "'Sub Versions': A Substantial Body of Work," Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2000.
  10. 1 2 Edward Reichel, "Utah Chamber Artists show once again why they are among the best at what they do." September 19, 2011. http://www.utahchamberartists.org/2011/09/24/review-utah-chamber-artists-show-once-again-why-they-are-among-the-best-at-what-they-do/
  11. Roger Feigelson, INTRADA Announces JAC Redford's One Night With the King" Mon, 10 Dec 2007, http://filmus-l.bernardherrmann.org/?t=intrada-announces-jac-redford-s-one-night-with&m=107801
  12. Catherine Reese Newton, "Utah Chamber Artists travel from trials to triumph" The Salt Lake Tribune, September 20, 2011.
  13. Richard Stiles, Pasadena Star-News, May 21, 1981.
  14. David Lowry, Free Times (Columbia, SC), April 21–27, 2004.
  15. Messenger: The Santa Monica Mountains News and Arts Publication, August 12, 2002.
  16. Porter Anderson, CNN, "Joshua Bell's intimate 'Voice,'" August 31, 2006.
  17. Esther H. Weinstein, The Nevadan Today, March 27, 1988.
  18. William S. Goodfellow, Deseret News, December 13–14, 1993.
  19. Gene Parrish, "The First Art," NPR, December 1994.
  20. J.A.C. Redford, Welcome All Wonders: A Composer's Journey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997), 240.