May 15, 2012 — Coral Gables, FL — The University of Miami Frost School of Music announces that multi-Grammy Award winning music producer, singer, rapper and composer Pharrell Williams was at UM Gusman Concert Hall this year to record a new work for orchestra entitled “i am Other” with the Frost School’s Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra.
Williams hired the all-student orchestra for the session upon recommendation of producer Quincy Jones (D.M.A. ’99, honoris causa). A video clip is provided below.
Williams composed the mixed-genre orchestral work—which features soft and ethereal atmospheres contrasted with fortissimo brass themes and driving rhythms—to explore a different side of his musical creativity, and to encourage his hip-hop fan base to expand their musical horizons. Shelly Berg orchestrated and conducted the work, and Director of Recording Services Paul Griffith (B.M. ’83) was the recording engineer. Pharrell Williams is best known for his work with Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Shakira, Jay-Z, Ludacris, and Snoop Dogg. He produced the soundtrack for the film Despicable Me and also oversees the fashion labels Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Footwear.
According to Variety, Williams has paired up with United Entertainment Group to launch i-am-other.com, "a content-driven property that spotlights new musicians, filmmakers, designers, artists, and innovators through online, mobile and retail channels, TV shows, and films." The goal is to champion the creative spirit by providing ways for young people to tell their stories and to inspire others to dream bigger and go further. The i am Other orchestral recording will be featured on the site.
The Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra at the Frost School of Music is comprised primarily of graduate student “fellows” who are focused on developing cross-genre performance and entrepreneurial skills that will help prepare them for today’s professional world.
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