December 12, 1969
Country of origin
Born in Detroit, Michigan, USA.
At an early age, barely able to reach the pedals of the piano, Bill remembers being fascinated by the sound of notes resonating while holding different pedal combinations. Placing his ear close to the piano, striking the keys and listening to the decay into silence, he would entertain himself for hours. Melodies began to emerge from these creative episodes, popular and original. An improvised arrangement of Happy Birthday with a R & B reharmonization for the second verse was enough to motivate his parents to enlist him into lessons.
Ten years and five piano teachers later, Bill had reached his classical piano playing pinnacle at 16, having performed the piano music of Chopin, Haydn and Mozart in numerous recitals. All the while, he continued to follow his true inspiration, the need to create. Eventually, this inspiration led him to rock music and song writing.
Bill stopped his piano lessons, grew out his hair, and began writing and performing with a rock band, keyboard at first, then guitar. Creating grooves for drums and bass quickly became his new passion. Rock music became a liberating creative outlet, but it's predictable patterns and formulized arrangements eventually left Bill searching for a more stimulating art form. It was at this time he began to turn to film music.
Bill grew up loving the movie going experience, especially the music. Captivated by the scores of Williams, Goldsmith, and others, he started on his new creative path. It soon became clear that a career in scoring film would require far more musical training than classical piano lessons. Bill began to inquire about music schools that might offer such a curriculum.
These questions led Bill to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Bill attended Berklee on a composition scholarship from 1989 - 1993 and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Film Scoring. While attending Berklee, Bill tapped into a previously undiscovered talent for jazz, which earned him the Quincy Jones Award for recognition of outstanding musicianship in the areas of Arranging & Jazz Composition.
Upon graduation, Bill returned to his hometown of Farmington Hills, MI where he quickly found work as a professional piano player. A demo tape got Bill his first commercial composition work in Farmington Hills with Yessian Music. Another tape reached Karen Nixon-Lane, the conductor of the Farmington Philharmonic Orchestra. She insisted on performing Themes & Textures, a collection of Bill's original film cues, in an upcoming concert. The suite was performed by the orchestra accompanied by Bill at the piano and was enthusiastically received. During this period Bill met and married the love of his life, Ka Mai.
Bill and Ka Mai left Michigan and headed for L.A. in the summer of 1997. Bill found his first writing job with the Alan Ett Music Group. The score was for a feature length documentary entitled "Kidnap!", which aired on the A&E network. Bill continued writing for Alan on several other programs including Entertainment Tonight, Intimate Portrait, and Behind Closed Doors. During this time he was also commissioned by the Opus One Music Library to compose and produce two original CDs of dramatic underscore. The CDs entitled Cyborg Extreme, and Future Assault are currently licensed throughout the world for hundreds of television shows.
Bill landed his first feature film after only one year in L.A., Jane Doe starring Calista Flockhart and Paul Peditto, who also directed the picture. The film was produced by Nelle Nugent and Golden Fox Films. Bill had only three weeks to score the film. It went on to win Best Feature at the 1999 New York Independent Film Festival.
Immeadiately after completing Jane Doe, Bill was introduced to writer/director Robert E. Ball Jr. who had created a controversial film entitled Nice Guys Finish Dead. The film required a unique and unforgettable score. Bill provided such a score, looking to Opera, Death Metal and Didjeridoo. This eclectic mix may someday be regarded as Bill's finest score.
Through a Michigan producer Mike Faba, Bill met Gary Jones, a Michigan born director living in L.A.. Gary needed music for his demo reel. It was an action packed reel with eposodic television clips from Zena and Hercules. Bill scored it as a favor. Later, Gary was enlisted to direct the Nu Image production Spiders and insisted that Bill be the composer on the film.
Spiders began a composition period Bill likes to call "The Monster Years" (Spiders, Octopi, Crocodiles, and most recently Sharks.) These scores elicit mayhem like only genetically mutated creatures can. Each is a delightful bone crushing symphony. Of course, man cannot live on carnage alone. "The Monster Years" yielded enough to allow for After the Storm, Cold Heart, and Hindsight.
After the Storm, another Nelle Nugent production, stars Ben Bratt, Armand Assante and was directed by Guy Ferland. This 1930's period score is evocative, haunting, and one of Bill's strongest melodic works to date. This film also went on to win Best Feature at the 2001 New York Independent Film Festival.
Cold Heart, a mind game thriller, written and directed by Dennis Dimster-Denk allowed Bill to explore his favorite genre of film music. This score is rhythmically propelled by the sound of the killer's balls. Watch the movie.
Hindsight stars Shant Bejanian, an amazing up-and-coming actor who is guaranteed to bring tears with his performance. He wrote and produced the film as a personal calling card. Watch for this actor.
In between features, Bill has kept an eye open for talented student filmmakers. One such filmmaker, David Michael Maurer, with the help of Puppeteers Sean & Patrick Johnson, created an incredibly elaborate puppet film that Bill had to be a part of. The Mystery of Cobblestone Way, went on to win two Digital Media Awards and a CINE award. Dave again hired Bill when it came time to put music to his 2nd film Blackmailing Santa. "Santa" has been stirring up excitement on the festival circuit, having already been accepted into Cinequest, Tambay and Philadelphia.
Another talented student filmmaker, Ward Swan, found Bill just in time to score his dark comedic short, Thunderbird. Bill addresses the Native American undertones of the film with grace and subtlety. His harmonic and melodic choices magnify the depth of sarcasm in this entertaining piece of cinema.
Bill is currently scoring Shark Attack III, yes, that's a three, and perhaps the final chapter of "The Monster Years." Director David Worth has put together a frightful and ambitious end to the trilogy.
Thanks to Bill Wandel.