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Initially an aspiring jazz pianist, Inon Zur found his way into “the wonderful, rich world” of composing for film, TV and video games through happy accidents, including a job in the mid-‘90s as a composer for the Fox Family channel. Everything about video game scoring really captured his imagination, Zur says. “One thing about video games is that with movies or TV, the picture dictates exactly what you do, and that’s limiting. I found that video game creators really have the guts to take on new approaches to scoring. They always look for originality in developing the musical tone for their games. I love to always test boundaries and look outside the box when it comes to writing music for new games, which comes with lots of challenges, but it also makes my day,” he says.
Among those challenges is having to brainstorm the musical direction of a new game franchise. One he personally deems among his most successful is the music he wrote for Disney’s video game Fantasia, which he recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. He also counts the Fallout franchise as one of his greatest achievements, as the music is written “loud and clear in [his] own voice” with its combination of classical and hybrid instrumentation.
Zur recently told one of his sons, an aspiring composer, that maybe 60 percent of success is really up to chance. “That [percent is] not up to you—basically there has to be some kind of situation where you get a break, and maybe that has to do with luck or timing. It’s sad to say, but that’s so important, and it’s why there are so many talented musicians but only some are making it and others aren’t. What you do have control over is having a hardworking mentality.
“That means working every day, for hours a day. Even if you don’t have projects going on, [compose], so when opportunity arrives, you’re ready to dive in. The rest is obvious.” •