My name is Aaron Ramsey, and I am a composer from Las Vegas, Nevada (not the Welsh soccer player). I have received my bachelor’s and master’s degree in Scoring for Film, Television and Video Games from Berklee College of Music in Boston and Valencia, Spain.
Growing up in a musical family that spanned several decades of music, my dad, Alfred Ramsey, played trumpet in the Harry James big band and later was the bandleader for the Caesar’s Palace Orchestra during the heyday of performers such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis Jr. My mom, Rebecca Ramsey, played violin in that band and now continues to play many shows in Las Vegas as concertmaster. At present, she is a member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and plays in the new show Showstoppers at the Wynn.
I began playing the piano at 8 years old, and started drums and percussion in middle school. I went to a magnet arts high school, the Las Vegas Academy, where I was first chair in the school’s concert band, philharmonic and jazz band, as well as the honor band and all-state bands each year. The opportunity to play the exciting percussion parts of modern composers such as John Adams and Shostakovich, along with hearing the compositions of fellow Nevadan, Eric Whitacre, were some of my first inspirations to start writing my own music.
I also love jazz, and, by my senior year, I had the opportunity to play drum set at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the Las Vegas Academy jazz band. With inspiration from such artists as Ben Monder, The Bad Plus, and Jim McNeely, I wrote my first piece, “Cubism”, for jazz combo while in high school when I was 17 years old. I received a full scholarship to attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst Summer Jazz Festival where I wrote and performed my music.
After high school I attended the Berklee College of Music, majoring in Film Scoring with a minor in Video Game Scoring, where I was awarded a drum set scholarship. I also maintained an academic standing on the Dean’s List for the entire four years. One of the highlights for me at Berklee was collaborating with video game design students from USC, scoring two independent games: On the Grid and Echo. Another honor was winning the Berklee New Music Festival competition with my pieces “Secret Cycle” and “Kaliedescape”, playing piano at the Berklee Performance Center with my group, the Aaron Ramsey Collective.
Since then, the Aaron Ramsey Collective, has recorded a jazz CD of my original material entitled A Crimson Resonance, available on CD Baby. I have also enjoyed playing drums with the Aaron Ramsey Collective at The House of Blues and other venues throughout Las Vegas. A fan of rock and metal music, I enjoy listening to Opeth, Meshuggah and other artists for their complex, progressive style and emotional harmonies and melodies. Along those lines, I have recently released a progressive metal album, Omniataxia, a duo collaboration of drums and guitar with a fellow Berklee student.
My passion for scoring music to visuals was sparked at a young age when I first heard the music to the Final Fantasy games by Nobuo Uematsu as well as other video game scores from primarily Japanese composers like Koichi Sugiyama, Masashi Hamauzu, Motoi Sakuraba and Yasunori Mitsuda. I still love that music! I also love the challenge of interpreting the visual elements of any kind of film in a way that expresses human emotions on a deep, mysterious level. Some of my favorite film composers are Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away), Thomas Newman (The Shawshank Redemption), and Clint Mansell (The Fountain) because of the deeply emotional content of their music that reaches out to the audience and really connects them to what is happening on screen.
One of my professional goals has been to receive credit as a main composer on a film, TV show or video game. I dreamt of seeing my name on the big screen at a movie premiere. I have accomplished that goal in part with the short film Chocolate Hair when it was screened at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain with my original music that I recorded with a professional orchestra at the famous Air Lyndhurst studio in London. After that, I won a competition to score the short film Copetín by Argentinian director Ernesto Kullock. Hopefully I’ll see my name up there again!
Currently, I have been composing the music for (and performing with) Vertex³, a trio that combines electronics with two live violins. Jeri Crawford, president of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, was looking for new music involving Philharmonic members to perform for their fundraising and donor events. The group has since provided the music for the Las Vegas Philharmonic Gala at The Smith Center and the Global Economic Alliance convention at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas. Vertex³ performed in March for the Composer’s Showcase third anniversary at the Cabaret Jazz theater at The Smith Center.
On the classical side, I have written and performed chamber music pieces for the Firenze Strings that were premiered at The Winchester Center, the Starbright Theater, and The Composer’s Showcase at the Smith Center in Las Vegas. I have also become involved in writing for youth groups. One of my pieces for full orchestra, Galloping Across the Galaxy was played by the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra on their 2014 European summer tour of Germany and Poland.
Last, but not least, one of my goals is when someone Googles my name, I want to be the first on the list before Aaron Ramsey the Welsh soccer player.