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The Simpsons’ composer fired after 27 years

News - Classical Music

The Simpsons’ composer fired after 27 years

by Angus McPherson on September 1, 2017 (September 1, 2017) filed under Classical Music | Comment Now
Alf Clausen, responsible for some of the show’s most iconic songs, was told producers wanted “a different kind of music.”

The composer responsible for the iconic scores of Fox’s animated hit show The Simpsons’, two-time Emmy award winner Alf Clausen has been fired from the show after 27 years, Variety reported. Clausen, who has been the show’s sole composer since 1990, responsible for its musical parodies and audience favourites – not including the theme song, which was composed by Danny Elfman – told Variety he received a call from producer Richard Sakai telling him that the show was looking for “a different kind of music”.

Composer Alf Clausen

Clausen has won two Emmy’s for his work, not to mention 21 nominations for his music on the show dating back to 1992, writing the music for more than 560 episodes. He is the genius behind well-loved songs such as the Monorail Song from season four, We Do (The Stonecutters’ Song) from season six and the music of season eight’s Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious episode – a parody of Mary Poppins. In fact, it’s Clausen’s parodies of musicals (real and imagined) that have been the most memorable, such as a parody of Evita sung by Lisa, as well as hit songs for musical versions of A Streetcar Named Desire – called Oh, Streetcar! – and The Planet of the Apes, titled Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get off! Clausen's music and orchestrations have been heard in more than 30 films and televesion shows, including The Naked Gun and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

The report in Variety suggested that the composer's dismissal was related to cost-cutting measures. Clausen conducted a 35-piece orchestra, recording weekly for the show – something creator Matt Groening has insisted upon since the show’s genesis in 1989.

Clausen confirmed his dismissal on Twitter, writing: “Thank you for all of the support…unfortunately, the news is true…”

In the wake of an online furore as fans vented their grief, the producers of the show released a statement to Deadline. “We tremendously value Alf Clausen’s contributions to the Simpsons and he will continue to have an ongoing role in the show,” the statement said. “We remain committed to the finest in music for the Simpsons, absolutely including orchestral. This is the part where we would make a joke but neither Alf’s work nor the music of the Simpsons is treated as anything but seriously by us.”

It is unclear who will be scoring the show’s 29th season, which will air in October.