Swanson scores two movies available on Amazon video



Professor of music at Ashland University, Dr. Stefan Swanson, scores for films outside of the classroom and has recently had his music released in two films streaming on Amazon Video: Hard Laughter and Escaping Fed.

Swanson started his career at AU in the fall of 2018, but his interest in film scoring started long before.

“I’ve been writing music since I was seven or eight and I got into film scoring when Jurassic Park came out,” Swanson said.

Ever since his initial interest in scoring, Swanson has written music for close to 70 films in the past 15 years of his career.

His recent accomplishments of scoring for feature length films on Amazon Video allowed Swanson the opportunity to write in a variety of genres and utilize his talents to add to the film.

“These two films are kind of a mix,” Swanson said. “One has a rock bend to it, and one has an electronic and classical bend.”

Swanson uses his talents from his professional life to teach students on the campus of AU more about music and the inner workings of music in the business world.

As part of the Honors Program interdisciplinary seminar, Swanson taught a four-week portion on film scoring, reaching out to students beyond the music department.

“He did a really good job of making his material easy to digest even if you weren’t a music major,” Maria Kern, a senior majoring in forensic biology and toxicology said. “I knew film existed before that class, but I hadn’t put much thought into it.”

Without being a part of the music program, Kern learned new skills and information that can be taken with her outside of the classroom and into the working world.

“He was relatable as a professor,” Kern said. “You could tell he was really interested in what he was teaching.”

Swanson’s expertise in scoring was brought into the honors seminar and taught students going into different walks of life and professions what music can add to a film and what the process behind that might look like.

“The information was presented in a relatable way and can be appreciated, understood and applied after his class without being an expert in music and film,” Kern said.

Music classes at Ashland contribute to the education of music majors and teach them different aspects of what the music business could be like when they graduate.

When hired in 2018, Swanson said he was helping to start a music industry track for students that would include classes such as music technology and business as well as teach skills like communicating with collaborators.

“What we want is for people to get their hands dirty in a couple things,” Swanson said. “They should learn how to be great instrumentalists. They should learn how to be conductors. They could learn how to create music and learn about the technology.”

As Swanson helps students on campus learn their way in the musical field, he continues to pursue his film scoring career, adding to accomplishments like his recent scoring of film for amazon.

When scoring, it is always about working on a current project and looking for the next one in order to stay ahead, Swanson said.

As far as his most recent accomplishment, Swanson said it means a lot to see something he has worked on become available through Amazon. His work has also appeared in films such as Gun Hill Road which was released in 2011, a new film called Premature that is releasing in theaters soon, and many others that have been released on HBO and Cinemax

“I hope to continue what I’m doing,” Swanson said. “I have several projects coming up.”