Shirley Walker Award: Deborah Lurie

Shirley Walker Award: Deborah Lurie

Deborah Lurie

MUSIC HAS ALWAYS BEEN A VISUAL EXPERIENCE FOR DEBORAH.

Born with a rare condition called synesthesia, she experiences every musical note with a corresponding color in her mind’s eye. Deborah’s talent, versatility, and unique approach to music has led to a long track record of success – making her one of the top female film composers by box office earnings in history.

Her scores can be heard in such films as Footloose (2011), Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Katy Perry: Part of Me, Safe Haven, One for the Money, and Disney’s Prom. She also composed the score for Lasse Hallström’s Dear John, the film that knocked Avatar from the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office.

Growing up in Palo Alto, CA, she began playing the piano at age 2 and was immersed in modern dance and musical theatre, although she did not realize her visual interpretation of music was unique until high school. An introduction to jazz and music theory allowed her to understand the functionality of the color relationships that she was seeing. This gift led to an offer to compose the underscore for her school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an opportunity that sparked her lifelong passion for writing music for the visual arts.

Deborah composed the score for the Tim Burton-produced animated feature 9, with themes by Danny Elfman. Also in collaboration with Danny, she wrote additional music for Alice in Wonderland, Spider- Man 3, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte’s Web, Wanted, and arrangements for the award-winning attraction Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland. Other collaborative works include Much Ado About Nothing with The Avengers director Joss Whedon, and More Than a Game with six-time Grammy award-winning music producer Harvey Mason, Jr.

Most recently, she scored the Gillian Greene-directed, Sam Raimi-produced, Murder of a Cat, as well as Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, directed by longtime collaborator Kristin Hanggi. Her work will also be heard in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and the new ABC drama, The Astronaut Wives Club.

In addition to her film scores, Deborah has an extensive background as a string arranger for rock and pop albums for artists including Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Brandi Carlile, Daughtry, The All-American Rejects, and Christina Perri.

Deborah graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s in Music Theory and Composition, receiving the department award for Outstanding Undergraduate, and also completed the Film Scoring program during her senior year.