A single fortunate meeting took Lars Clutterham ’70 from the world of commercial jingle writer to working with such legendary composers as John Williams on some of Hollywood’s most successful movies.
As a proofreader for an L.A.-based musical score preparation firm, Clutterham has worked on such films as Elektra, Meet the Fockers, The Polar Express, The Terminal, and the upcoming Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
Yet it may never have been. Clutterham graduated from Cornell with a degree in piano music performance and a minor in composition. Eight years later, after studying at Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, he earned a master’s in piano performance from Temple University. He moved to California and, though he was very interested in writing musical scores for movies, began a career writing music for commercials. That changed when he met the owner of JoAnn Kane Music and stepped in as a movie music proofreader.
“We’re required to use the broadest range of skill,” said Clutterham. “Frequently we have to write down music by ear, anything from a single instrument up to a whole orchestra.”
While the meeting was a major catalyst for Clutterham’s success, he also credits Cornell with guiding his career. Clutterham said that legendary piano teacher Julian Bern was instrumental to his education. He also credited Alf Houkom with guiding his studies, and he had fond memories of the May Music Festival.
Clutterham, whose parents are David Clutterham ’44 and the late Jean Ballou Clutterham ’42, is married and has a 24-year old son. His hobbies include sacred choral composition, running, and playing basketball. He’s one of the senior members of an office of three dozen.
“I want to retire in this job,” he asserts. “I think I might work till I’m 70, and I expect to enjoy going to work every day until I hang it up.”
Lars Clutterham ’70 at work, holding the score from the upcoming Star Wars movie.