Q&A with Camilla Uboldi, Composer and Animator
Photo by Histeria Producciones
“Berklee was the perfect bridge between school and real life. It definitely opened my mind and gave me the courage to keep following my dreams.”
For the past 11 years, Camilla Uboldi M.M ‘13 has been composing music for theater, and feature films. She graduated with a degree in classical composition from the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Music in Milan, Italy, and she also holds a Master of Music in Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games from Berklee College of Music’s campus in Valencia, Spain. In 2013, she worked as an assistant for renowned composer Laura Karpman, a job which gave her the opportunity to collaborate on several international projects.
Uboldi is an animator, too. She has crafted the animations for the video “Quake City,” with music and lyrics by Robert Kraft, and for “Galactica,” with music by the Rockets. Uboldi has lived in Mexico City since 2014, where she works with filmmakers from various countries. She is also a professor of composition and film music at the National University of Mexico (UNAM), and she is currently part of the artist-supporting program Jóvenes Creadores, sponsored by the National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA). In addition, Uboldi is working on an orchestral piece for the Vatican Stradivarius cello commissioned by its new owner, Rodrigo González.
How has your Berklee experience influenced you as a professional?
Berklee influenced me in many important ways. Apart from providing me with a theoretical and practical insight into music composition for film, it gave me the opportunity to get in touch with wonderful musicians from all over the world: I played with them, directed them in the studio, recorded and produced my music, and learned how to deal with other professionals and respect their vision and cultures. I also learned how to express my ideas so others could understand what I wanted to communicate through music. Berklee has been the perfect bridge between school and real life. It definitely opened my mind and gave me the courage to keep following my dreams.
Did you learn how to animate at Berklee?
I learned to make animations by myself, although Berklee is connected to my introduction to it. My first attempt was Metro, a project commissioned by TEDxLakeComo in 2011. I later decided to explore this technique further thanks to Robert Kraft, who was the president of Fox Music from 1994 to 2012, and also a recording artist, producer, and visiting professor at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, where I met him. After he saw my work, he asked me to create a video for his song “Quake City,” and he gave me the freedom to experiment with the images. I will be eternally grateful to him because this forced me to discover something truly meaningful to me because when combined with music, animation completes my personal vision of the world.
Why would you tell other students to come to Berklee’s campus in Valencia to study a for a Master of Music in Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games?
The campus’s facilities are awesome. The scoring stage, for example, is incredible. The software used is always up to date, so you’ll be prepared to work in a modern studio after graduation. By the end of your graduate degree, you will have a stunning original music demo to add to your portfolio. Aside from this, you’ll have the opportunity to meet wonderful teachers and students, make lifelong friendships, and find a strong, supportive team. Additionally, Valencia is a wonderful and welcoming city to live in.
How did you apply for an internship, and how did Berklee prepare you for it?
While studying in Valencia, I got a job as a personal assistant for Laura Karpman, the former director of my program. After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles so I could keep learning and helping her in the studio. I stayed there three months while Laura was working on the Fox movie Black Nativity. It was my first time in the U.S. and the first time I was involved in a Hollywood production. Everything I learned at Berklee helped me manage the process, I just had to apply it. This was the perfect opportunity to do so.
Tell us more about your new sponsor and your new project.
FONCA is a Mexican fund which sponsors young artists who are developing a one-year project. I’m writing a concert suite for a chamber orchestra, and I’m planning this project as a live audiovisual experience inspired by Mexico City. As opposed to what I usually do, I decided to start with the musical composition and then involve animators and visual artists. The main idea is mine but is open to future collaborations.
How do you feel writing music for a Stradivari?
Stradivari sometimes intimidates me. I feel the importance of its 400-year-old history and the presence of its previous owner, who is none other than Philip Glass! At the same time, I feel blessed to contribute to the interesting story behind this instrument. It is not always easy to deal with pressure, external or self-inflicted, but to write something personal and honest should always be the reason that moves us to create.
How do you combine the work as composer and the work as animator?
I have always been fascinated by this genre as I grew up watching Walt Disney’s films. As a composer for visual media, it is extremely important to understand the basics of moving images and how they connect to music and cinema. The more I learn about this process, the more I understand this connection. Every new perspective enriches us, opens new points of view, and helps us build our own voice.