TU music composition senior's original film score wows critics

TU music composition senior’s original film score wows critics

woman sitting in front of a desktop
Kyleigh Taylor

Vegas Movie Awards winner for Best Original Score, Oniros Film Awards winner for Best Main Theme, Festigious International Film Festival winner for Best Score and New York Movie Awards winner for Original Score: These are just a few of the many recognitions that award-winning senior music composition major Kyleigh Taylor brought home over the summer.

Taylor’s recent success was preceded by a longstanding admiration for music and film. Even as a child, Taylor would listen to Hollywood scores that her mother burned onto CDs. “We’d listen to them all the time,” said Taylor, who had, at a young age, already claimed a favorite composer: “I’ll always have a soft spot for Thomas Newman, thanks to my mother. ‘Finding Nemo,’ ‘WALL-E,’ ‘The Help’: His scores were the soundtrack to my childhood.” 

Despite having little experience in writing composition prior to coming to The University of Tulsa, Taylor knew a great deal about film scores and was proficient in both the piano and viola. This gave her the courage she needed to try her hand at the music composition major offered at TU. Additionally, Taylor discovered that she could place a film scoring emphasis on her major, something that sealed the deal: “I knew that TU was where I wanted my journey to begin.” 

Award show accolades

After countless class projects and student films, Taylor found work on her first television series, “Girl Unscripted,” in summer 2021. Taylor met with producer Eric Keith, who offered to let her test score an episode of an upcoming series that he and his team were working on. “They told me that they enjoyed what I came up with and asked me if I would like to score the entire series,” said Taylor, “Of course, I accepted without any hesitation.” Soon enough, people from Hollywood all the way to Tuscany would hear this talented musician’s score.

Woman smiling for the camera on a balcony
Kyleigh Taylor

Taylor spent most of October and November 2021 working on “Girl Unscripted,” but it was not until this past summer that the series began submitting to film festivals and screenplay competitions. “I was completely overwhelmed by the amazingly positive feedback that ‘Girl Unscripted’ was getting,” said Taylor, “and I was even more amazed to see that I had received up to 14 recognitions for my original score. It was reassuring to me that I am on the right path to making my way in the world.” 

Inspired to dream large

With graduate studies in view and Academy Award-winning aspirations, it is clear that Taylor’s peers and mentors have fostered an environment inviting to artistic and creative growth. Thanks to the careful instruction provided by Taylor’s professors, this driven pupil’s music has graced the ears of critics all over the globe. “All of my professors have provided guidance, wisdom and motivation,” said Taylor; “they inspire me daily to dream large and put my best foot forward.”

One professor that has been particularly helpful in Taylor’s music journey is J. Donald Feagin Professor of Music and Professor of Film Joseph Rivers, who has known her ever since she first visited TU as a prospective student. It did not take long in the classroom for Rivers to see that Taylor not only loved music but was a truly exceptional musician as well. Rivers recalls that her talent became apparent when she composed, mixed and mastered a marvelous score for a fellow student’s short film. “Her knowledge and skills will go a long way in helping her to find great success in film scoring,” said Rivers; “I am looking forward to the day when I see her name on the big screen.”


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