Cliff Eidelman’s breakthrough came with his score Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), a powerful score that elicited a great deal of attention and acclaim. By the age of 24, Eidelman had composed a number of epic symphonic scores including the Holocaust drama Triumph of the Spirit (1989) and Christopher Columbus (1992). Soon after the release of Triumph of the Spirit, legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith took a real interest in Eidelman’s career. In an interview in 1999, he commented “Cliff Eidelman is a great talent with amazing potential.”
Throughout his career, Eidelman honed different musical approaches from intimate, heartfelt story telling to playful comedies to sweeping large scale orchestral scores. Some of his film scores include: Crazy People (1990), Delirious (1990), Untamed Heart (1992), Leap of Faith (1992), A Simple Twist of Fate (1994), Now and Then (1995), the highest rated HBO film If These Walls Could Talk (1996), One True Thing (1998), Witness Protection (1999), An American Rhapsody (2001), the IMAX film Ocean Men (2001), Harrison’s Flowers (2001), Sexual Life (2004), The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants (2005), Open Window (2006), He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), Big Miracle (2012), Being Dolphin (2018) and The 100% (2019) winner of “Best VR Film” at the Tribeca Film Festival.
In parallel to his film music, Eidelman has composed many concert works. In September 2022, Eidelman recorded his Symphony II and a new recording of The Tempest with the Royal Scottish Nation Orchestra under his direction. The album with both pieces will be released soon. Symphony for Orchestra and Two Pianos recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the London Symphony Orchestra (under the direction of Eidelman), Night in the Gallery recorded by Members of the London Symphony Orchestra, a symphonic tone poem The Tempest, recorded by The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (under the direction of Eidelman) and Wedding In The Night Garden, originally orchestrated for strings and mezzo-soprano, subsequently developed by Eidelman as a second version for strings, choir and mezzo-soprano which was performed in 2002 by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. It was so well received that conductor Grant Gershon requested repeat performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall in their 2005/2006 season.
Recent works include Bridges, a solo piano piece commissioned by the Library of Congress for pianist Jenny Lin and The Five Tales, recorded by acclaimed concert pianist, Michael McHale.My Muse is a collection of 10 songs Eidelman wrote over the course of a decade. The music and lyrics are written and performed by Eidelman.
One of the few Los Angeles-born composers, Eidelman began his formal musical training at the age of 8, studying the violin. A few years later he switched to guitar as his main instrument and began performing and writing songs for his various bands, playing at local Los Angeles clubs before age 14. He studied Jazz guitar at the Guitar Institute of Technology before attending USC studying composition. Eidelman broke into film scoring at the age of 22 when a performance recording of one of the two concert music commissions, the ballet Once Upon a Ruler and Celebration Symphony Overture he composed while a student Santa Monica City College reached director Monica Teuber. She was so impressed that she asked him to write some music based on the reading of her script. Eidelman composed eleven pieces and recorded the music at his home studio while still a student of music composition at the University of Southern California. Teuber hired him to write his first film score, Magdalene (1988), which starred Nastassja Kinski. The young composer took full advantage of this opportunity, launching his career with a huge 75 minute score. At only 22 years of age, Eidelman conducted the Munich Symphony using a 110 piece orchestra, 60 piece choir and 30 piece children’s choir.
When director Richard Pearce heard the Magdalene score playing one morning on KCRW, he had his producers call Eidelman, that afternoon, to offer him the HBO film Dead Man Out (1988) which earned him a nomination for an Ace award.
Within a year of completing his first film score he was approached by director Robert Young to score his epic drama of WWII, Triumph of the Spirit. It was 1989 and Eidelman was just 24. The score was impressive and deeply moving, dramatically capturing the story of survival against all odds in a German concentration camp. So much so that it has caught the attention of many conductors since its composition and been performed by numerous orchestras. Eidelman created a suite from the score that was performed in June 2003 by The Los Angeles Master Chorale under the direction of Grant Gershon for their final concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion prior to moving to Disney Hall.
Although he is known foremost as a composer, Eidelman has conducted all of his film scores. He has conducted The Metropolitan Orchestra of London, The Munich Symphony and Chorus, Unione Musicisti Di Roma and Chorus, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Seattle Symphony Orchestra and many first call pick up orchestras for his film scores. The recognition he garnered prompted Varese Sarabande Records to pursue Eidelman for conducting projects. On two recordings, he conducted works by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Walton, Rozsa and Rota.
As one of the youngest composers to score a feature film, Eidelman has amassed an impressive body of work from film to the concert hall. He has created symphonic scores, musically captured the epic proportions of faith and despair, the whimsies of comic entertainment, and the intimacies of the human heart with a lone guitar, a one hundred piece orchestra, a solo piano and every formation in-between. Experience has given him an ease and maturity that allows his creativity to find the musical heart and vocabulary of intimate and epic films, as well as concert pieces and songs.