Two-time Emmy Award-winning composer Joseph LoDuca is no stranger to large orchestral action, adventure, fantasy, and thriller music. His varied career features operettas, musicals, and theme songs, which have earned him five of his twelve Emmy nominations. Internationally, his films include Brotherhood of the Wolf (César nominee for Best Score) and Saint Ange. LoDuca also scored the film Patagonia (directed by Marc Evans), which was chosen as the 2012 British entry for the Foreign Language Oscar. The project included song collaborations with pop artist Duffy and operatic baritone Bryn Terfel. Josephʼs extensive work for television is highlighted by Xena: Warrior Princess (Emmy winner), Legend of the Seeker (Emmy winner), and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. LoDuca composed the music for TNTʼs Leverage (for Dean Devlin), director Sam Raimiʼs Evil Dead Trilogy, and the Starz Entertainment series Spartacus (produced by Raimi/Tapert/Donen and Steven DeKnight).
Joseph grew up in Detroit, Michigan at a vibrant time in the city’s history. It gave him the opportunity for a unique apprenticeship in music and left him with a lasting set of invaluable influences. He started as a boy soprano in the church choir and studied piano and cello. Soon after, he picked up the guitar and with a group of tweens became proficient enough to cover Cream, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, and Vanilla Fudge, landing them opening spots with the local burgeoning rock acts; Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, and the MC5 to name a few. Still underage, he connived his way backstage to hear his idols at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit’s answer to venues like the Fillmore on the coasts.
As a freshman at the University of Michigan, he discovered Miles Davis and John Coltrane, leading him to study with the Motown masters that stayed behind in the wake of Motown Records sudden move to Los Angeles. Marcus Belgrave, Earl Van Dyke, Charles Moore, and Richard “Pistol” Allen were among the musicians that mentored him. Before long they shared the stage together in a variety of settings. Restless for greater insight, he moved to New York City, studying with guitar virtuosos Ralph Towner and Pat Martino, composing on guitar, arranging for SNL, and playing various commercial sessions and jazz clubs in Manhattan. Returning to Detroit, LoDuca formed his own fusion group, becoming a regular feature at the historic Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. This led to recordings, stints on Late Night television, and a European tour.
It was his meeting with director Sam Raimi, producer Rob Tapert and leading man Bruce Campbell that opened up a new musical path. He composed the music for EVIL DEAD, the trio’s first film. To this day it is ranked among the greatest horror films of all time. Choosing to remain in Michigan to raise his family, LoDuca continued to write for film and built his studios writing and producing for the then robust advertising market there. Still, there was plenty of opportunity to record with singers and ensembles both large and small in Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, Salt Lake, and New York. After completing work on ARMY OF DARKNESS, the third installment of the Evil Dead Trilogy, series television came calling. XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS provided the basis of several hundreds of hours of dramatic scoring. Along with French films like BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF and SAINT ANGE, it provided an ongoing platform to explore orchestral fantasies, choral operettas and collaborating with musicians and singers from all over the world.
Genre experimentation continued in the years that followed with series work including SPARTACUS (Arabic and Hard Rock), LEVERAGE (Jazz and Funk remix) and films like PAY THE GHOST (Horror and Electronic), PATAGONIA (Argentine Tangos and Welsh Hymns) and BAD SAMARITAN (Aleatoric Orchestra and Sound Design). Film music concerts sprung up around the world, providing Joseph the opportunity to perform and conduct his music on three continents. New pursuits include continued series and film work, as well as a musical podcast, electric vehicle sound design and mastering the mandolin.
LoDuca sums up his process: “A long time ago, I discovered that I am at my best telling stories through music. I begin with trusting my emotional response, then I search for what is unique. It could be a sound created organically and morphed into something completely new. Somehow a theme emerges. When I can create a personal and particular atmosphere for a tale to live and breathe in, then I feel I have earned the trust I’ve been granted.”