Dennis McCarthy Master Class

25 August 2016

On August 21, 2016, composer Dennis McCarthy joined ASMAC at Valley College for a remarkable and informative master class. The subject was “From the Road to the Scoring Stage,” and it was not only retrospective of his career, but a nuts-and-bolts instruction on how his abilities evolved from being a sideman pianist into a major and prolific film composer.

Moderated by Liz Finch, the first part of the program traced McCarthy’s beginning as a part of guitarist/pop singer Glen Campbell’s road band. As he was one of the few in the band with any ability to read music, he soon became the arranger. That introduced him to television when Glen became a TV star with a four year series.

With his zest and drive, and his developed speed as an arranger, McCarthy met and worked with many composer/ arrangers (Alex North among others) who were key to his progress as he evolved into composing for episodic TV and eventually motion pictures. He is best known for the Star Trek series but was involved with several others along the way.

The master class consisted of a variety of film clips and selected scores which highlighted his accomplishments.  McCarthy was able to tell many “war stories” about the music business which were enjoyed by all. Liz kept the discussion and audience questions focused and on track.

McCarthy is continuing to contribute by teaching a class in film scoring at UCLA.

Here are some photos provided by Chris Zambon from this entertaining event:

Refreshments are READY!


Masterclass being introduced by the ASMAC masterclass chairman, Sylvester Rivers.


Dennis McCarthy with moderator Liz Finch


With audience in Recital hall at L.A. Valley College


Video of Dennis playing piano for Barbara Mandrell TV show


Dennis at the piano, demonstrating a point


Dennis and Liz


Lots of “war stories”

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