HBO's There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane
Known for his long history of providing compelling music for documentary films, composer Jonathan Zalben
provides the score to There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane, the HBO documentary currently
turning heads on the premium network. Before working with director Liz Garbus (the Oscar-nominated
The Farm: Angols, USA; HBO's The Execution of Wanda Jean and Bobby Fischer Against the World) on the
current release, Zalben built a catalog of well-respected works. His music drives the action behind films
including The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (Sony Pictures Classics) directed by Morgan Spurlock; Doubletime
(Discovery) directed by Stephanie Jones; City of Borders (ITVS) directed by Yun Suh; Make Me Young: Youth
Knows No Pain (HBO) directed by Mitch McCabe; and The Perfect Life directed by Sam Lee, which is part of
the New York Public Library's Yip Harburg Collection.
There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane revisits the mysterious tragedy of Diane Schuler. Almost
exactly two years before this documentary made its HBO debut, Schuler rose to infamy when she drove
the wrong way on New York’s Taconic Parkway for nearly two miles before smashing into an oncoming
SUV leaving a devastating death tally of eight people including Schuler’s own daughter.
The film investigates the enduring mysteries of the incident in an effort to understand what went wrong.
Zalben may be king of the documentary composers, but
he’s no stranger to the big screen. His company, First
Frame Music, provides music supervision for a wide range
of films and also handles music licensing and score.
He received an MA in music composition and multimedia
from New York University, a BA in music from Yale
University, and has also studied violin and music
composition at Juilliard Pre-College.
The composer himself has written original music (and
sometimes even played violin) for the quickly upcoming
feature Son of Morning (Joseph Cross, Danny Glover,
Heather Graham, Lorraine Bracco), a stylized satire about
the media in the age of the 24-hour news cycle.
The composer’s work can also be heard in such well-received
studio productions as Gods of Circumstance (Cineville: John Schneider, Brian Krause), Snoop Dogg's Hood
of Horror (Lionsgate / Xenon Pictures: Jason Alexander, Method Man, Billy Dee), Kissing Cousins (David
Allen Grier, Jaleel White). In addition, he orchestrated the music for Repo: The Genetic Opera (Lionsgate /
Twisted Pictures: Paris Hilton, Paul Sorvino, Alexa Vega, Sarah Brightman, Anthony Head).
He has received grants from the Experimental TV Center through the New York State Council on the Arts,
American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's
Manhattan Community Arts Fund and Swing Space Program, US Navy, and the National Academy of Sciences.
His multimedia work has been presented at the Boston Public Library during Boston Cyberarts, Art Without
Walls in Central Park, Knitting Factory, PS122, HERE Art Center, Ontological Theater at St. Mark's Church, and
Galapagos Art Space. He was a research fellow at the US Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory
and has also been in residence at the Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music (STEIM) in Amsterdam.
Zalben's music for film, theater, and television has been shown at Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Tribeca, Berlin,
LA Film Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, and Chicago SketchFest. His orchestral works have
been performed by the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra and the New York University Orchestra. Zalben holds a
U.S. patent for a muffler design.
* "There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane" airs in Aug on HBO
* Morgan Spurlock’s “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” DVD and digital release
* "Bits and Pieces" debut compilation album digital release on iTunes
* "Bellflower" theatrical release 8/5
* "Doubletime" digital release on iTunes