A Look Into the Music of “A Tree Of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shootings

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Amelia Allen is a renowned composer who has carved her own niche in the world of film and television music. With a master’s degree from the USC Screen Scoring Program and an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, Allen’s unconventional educational background has given her a unique edge in understanding music production.

Collaborating with Emmy-winning composer Laura Karpman, Allen co-scored the evocative music for the 2022 HBO documentary A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shootings. This poignant film documents the aftermath of the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history, and the score by Allen and Karpman is instrumental in conveying the depth of emotion and resilience captured on screen.

The score of this film opens with a solo shofar, a traditionally Jewish instrument made of a ram’s horn. The shofar is featured and woven throughout the entirety of the score, both in moments where it stands as the forefront instrument, and in others where it is processed and layered to blend as part of a textural musical soundscape. Echoes of Oseh Shalom can also be heard sprinkled masterfully into the original score for those who are really paying attention.  What sets this film apart is how it focuses on intimate firsthand accounts of those impacted, to bring their humanity to the forefront instead of giving attention to the attacker from his point of view. The score expertly supports this approach by musically staying in the community’s point of view as much as possible to convey the experience of the survivors on a deeper level.

Allen has previously worked on a number of commercial scores for major companies like Blue Shield of California and UNICEF. Her accomplishments in the industry are indeed remarkable, with a total of four nominations from the Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) for her outstanding work on Breaking Olympia: The Phil Heath Story, Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo, and two innovative commercial projects. These accolades reflect her undeniable talent and dedication to her craft.

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In the coming years, Allen aspires to forge strong partnerships with talented directors and continue creating music that supports their artistic visions, enhancing the emotional impact of their storytelling. Her unwavering dedication to her craft, combined with her unique background and the innovative perspective she brings to the table, makes her an invaluable asset in the competitive world of film and television music. This multifaceted approach ensures that her contributions will continue to resonate with audiences and elevate cinematic experiences.

The music of A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shootings is just one example of Allen’s exceptional talent as a composer. Her distinctive approach to music production, drawn from her unconventional educational background, allows her to create scores that resonate with audiences and enhance the stories they accompany.

For those who want to explore Allen’s music and stay up-to-date on her projects, her official website is an excellent resource. Additionally, you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook to catch glimpses of her creative process and engage with her artistic journey.

Amelia Allen’s accomplishments as a composer, including her work on the HBO documentary A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shootings, are a testament to her dedication and passion for the craft. Her innovative approach to music production and her commitment to continuous learning make her a force to be reckoned with in the industry. With a bright future ahead, Allen’s music will continue to captivate and inspire audiences for years.

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