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Music Composition Masterclass

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Join LALIFF Connect as we host Music Composers, Producers, and Songwriters currently working in the Film and TV landscape. This panel will discuss the influence behind these talented musicians and artists and how their unique perspectives have influenced their music and projects. We will cover their inspirations and music creation process, and how they work closely with productions to craft unique sounds that supports the storytelling.


Alexis de la Rocha

LALIFF Managing Director

Alexis de la Rocha is a first generation Latinx artist, musician, director, music supervisor and proud advocate of the arts. Whether she is directing and curating Latinx talent as the Managing Director of LALIFF and LALIFF Music, songwriting and creating visuals for her music, bringing life to inanimate objects with Viva La Puppet, performing at community workshops for Center Theatre Group, or creating events like MorrisseyOke (featured on CNN, NPR, New York Times), Alexis consistently generates exciting platforms for artistic expression. She is known for hosting, producing, reporting and writing for national networks such as LATV, SiTV and Live Nation. She has received critical acclaim from the LA Times and the LA Weekly for her standout theatrical performances with the Latino Theatre Company and has been praised by Consequence of Sound, The Bay Bridged and Rolling Stone for her dynamic musical displays at SXSW, Snow Globe Music Festival, Pride (Los Angeles & San Diego), KABOO, Treefort and more. As a proud woman of color, Alexis believes in the importance of sharing her art, music and story and is fired up to continue bringing people together to celebrate our human experiences through our art.

Elik Alvarez


Elik Álvarez is a Venezuelan-born composer based in Los Angeles. He has managed to capture audiences worldwide with his unique sounding compositions for over 70 films, televisions series, and documentaries. A dynamic artist molded by traditional concert music, modern styles, and Latin-inspired rhythms, he is committed to bring exciting innovations to each and every project he works on. Elik has scored several of the latest Sir DAVID ATTENBOROUGH’s groundbreaking mini-series, including the LUMIERE Award winner and BAFTA nominated CONQUEST OF THE SKIES 3D, IMAX GALAPAGOS: Nature’s Wonderland and KINGDOM OF PLANTS 3D, which won Best Documentary Score at the 2013 INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC FESTIVAL PROVINCIA DE CORDOVA. His many episodic TV credits include, the 2019 International EMMY Awards Nominee AL OTRO LADO DEL MURO, ROBERT REDFORD’s AMERICA. THE BEAUTIFUL, INTO ALASKA, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and THE YUGIOH ANIME SERIES.

Some of Elik’s recent film scores include the anime film YUGIOH!: THE DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS, both installments of PEANUTS AND CRACKERJACKS (PAPITA, MANI, TOSTON), one of the biggest box office films in Venezuela (only third to Titanic and Maleficent), the documentary feature LIFE IN THE DOGHOUSE released in the US theaters in Fall of 2018, and the documentary feature HARRY & SNOWMAN described by IndieWire as “A cinematic boutique to the world…” released in theaters in Fall of 2016.

Elik has written music for many TV specials featured on the Discovery Channel, such as Shark Week Special OCEAN OF FEAR narrated by RICHARD DREYFUSS. In addition to his others film and TV works, Alvarez wrote the music for the BUNDESLIGA official 2015 season opener at the Allianz Arena in Munich, which was performed in front of more than 67,000 people. He has also composed music for video games and theatre.

Elik attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music where he received several scholarships and awards, including the Georges Delerue Awared, for his outstanding achievement in Film Scoring Major. In 2000, Elik graduated with the highest honor, Summa Cum Laude, and was chosen to compose and conduct his own music with a 48-piece orchestra at the awards ceremony for the Professional Writing Division.

Elik is the co-founder, owner and lead composer of MusicMind, a fast growing music company that offers exceptionally handcrafted music tailored specifically for film, television, and other visual media. MusicMind’s music has been linked to multiple successful TV series, films and documentaries shown all around the world MusicMind offers easy access to more than 15,000 tracks from “MMT Music Library”, ensuring high quality and usability of the music. Even with tight turnarounds and high volume demands.

Tony Morales


Tony Morales is an EMMY®-nominated composer who has traversed the worlds of drama, animation, comedy and documentary for both television and film. He is known for his music on the Netflix original series ‘Bloodline’, Disney’s ‘Elena Of Avalor’ for which he received multiple Daytime EMMY nominations as well as an Annie Award nomination and the hit CBS show ‘Scorpion’.

Morales began his career as a composer within Hans Zimmer’s Media Ventures in 1998. As an additional music composer & arranger, he soon found himself working with and learning from some of the top film composers including Harry Gregson-Williams, John Debney and Brian Tyler, contributing to such scores as “Iron Man 3”, “Fast Five”, “Unstoppable”, “The Town”, and “The Change-Up”.

In 2012 Morales earned his first Primetime EMMY nomination for the mini- series “Hatfields & McCoys” (co-composed with John Debney). 

Recent projects include the 30 For 30 documentary “The Dominican Dream,” which premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, and the independent feature film “Wish Man.” His upcoming projects include “The Fugitive” and “Benedict Men”, both set to premier on Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s Quibi later this year.

Carl Thiel

Composer & Producer

Carl Thiel is an award-winning composer and producer who splits time between Los Angeles and Austin, Texas.

Born into a European family and raised in Mexico City, he was exposed to a wide variety of cultural experiences and musical styles from a very early age. Immersed in the huge metropolis, it was impossible for young Thiel to escape the colorful variety of Mexican music present at every corner, ranging from songs of traditional artists to all the folk and pre-Hispanic sounds and melodies that live at the heart of Mexican culture.

Thiel studied music beginning at age six, earning high honors in high school and later attending the University of Texas where he pursued a degree in Radio, TV & Film. During this time he also took courses in electronic music, collaborated with pop/ rock bands, and worked as a commercial composer.

By the early 2000s, Thiel’s work attracted the attention of film director Robert Rodriguez, who hired Carl to produce the theme song for his second Spy Kids film. This marked the beginning of a unique musical journey and creative collaboration that continues to this date. Robert’s ‘outside-the-box’ approach to production has had a significant influence on Carl’s creative process.

Thiel’s recent projects include: From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For, the highly acclaimed independent feature The Teller and the Truth, Rooster Teeth’s sci-fi comedy Lazer Team 2, and Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy. He was recently honored with an Annie Award nomination for his score for Seis Manos, an exciting new Netflix original Animé series, created by Viz and Powerhouse Animation, the same team that brought you Castlevania.

Maria Vertiz

Composer & Producer

Maria was born in Mexico City to a family of musicians. Her dad introduced her to the world of scoring from a young age at his studio, where she scored her first gig at 13 with a song for the film The Greatest Miracle. After that, her career started taking off.

She is a composer, producer, and songwriter who creates music filled with ethnic sounds, atmospheric ideas, and structural concepts from different eras. She believes in creating parallel universes through music, using a combination of world music and ethereal sounds. She was awarded best composition at the GEMS Film Scoring Workshop by composer Chris Young (The Grudge, Spiderman, etc), Gary Schyman (Bioshock, Torn, etc) and orchestrator Pete Anthony (Us, The Hunger Games, etc). Maria graduated with honors from the Film Scoring Program at Berklee College of Music.

She was invited to collaborate on upcoming feature John Henry, starring Ludacris and Terry Crews, by Will Forbes and Carlos Morales. She later joined Illuminating Music Group, which is a ground-breaking team of seven award-winning female music composers with whom she continues working.

Aside from her film-scoring career, she has also placed music and worked with renowned artists such as Monsieur Perine, Vazquez Sounds, Nicole Zignago, Camila Fernandez and Peche.

Maria currently resides in Los Angeles, where she works with and is mentored by 8-time OSCAR nominee and Emmy winner James Newton Howard (King Kong, Batman, etc.) and Chris Westlake (Castle Rock, Before we go, etc.).