Mowtown's Berry Gordy
Director Ivan Passer
Direcor Arthur Hiller
Pippi Longstocking's Astrid Lindgren
Ambassador Abba Eban
Berklee College & BSO
Direcor Ken Annakin
Horace Silver & Chick Corea
President Gerald Ford
President Haim Herzog
Uniquely Colorful: Misha Segal
Composer, Arranger, Conductor, Producer, Songwriter, Pianist
"I have always admired Misha Segal as a
very talented musician and composer."
Few individuals can go from writing scores for and conducting a symphonic orchestra to writing songs and producing an album for a Hip Hop artist to playing jazz. Native Israeli Misha Segal, a highly skilled composer, arranger, conductor, producer, songwriter and pianist, does exactly that. He loves the genuine freedom to pursue the music genre of his choice.
Fluent in many musical languages, the Emmy, Israeli Oscar Nominee and Brit Award winning composer Misha Segal exemplifies a border-free musician. His ability to infuse different cultural influences and music styles into his work is one reason why he has won major awards on three different continents. Segal is predictably unpredictable as he packages colorful notes into delightfully, melodic confections for the ears.
Segal's drive to develop unique compositions and arrangements are clearly evident in his first collaborative recording with "Blue Lou" Marini titled The Blue Lou & Misha Project - Highly Classified. His sixth album project (10th CD) as a leader, Segal pursues a cutting-edge, urban cool jazz vibe that results in a sound-scape with edgy concepts and cliché-free tones. The celebrated composer takes listeners on a funky, sonic adventure showcasing 10 original tunes. Masterful programming and piano combine with smooth rap rhythms and hints of humor on the PrimaVista - 2010 label that Segal founded. Overall, this unconventional, yet accessible, collection breaks new ground, fusing contemporary jazz, fusion, rock, straight-ahead jazz, rap and hip hop.
Leading up to the above project, Segal recorded a solo, three CD piano compilation titled Christmas Healing (PrimaVista - 2006). This was preceded by yet another three CD piano compilation, Female (PrimaVista - 2005). Described by fans as a cross between Chopin's Nocturnes and a laid back Keith Jarrett, the collection consists of improvised, original music and cherished, familiar love songs. Female is the core of Misha's concert series: "Beauty Found in Unlikely Places." Elizabeth Segal and her unbreakable spirit was the inspiration behind her son's concerts; she lost a six year battle with lung cancer on Mother's Day 2001. Segal used the concert series as an opportunity to heighten public knowledge of lung cancer and help inspire and heal those battling the disease. Misha still lives by his mother's philosophical words, "things happen for a reason, even if they don't seem logical at the moment, eventually the reason is revealed."
As a producer and co-writer, Segal's album Don't Say It's Over (Warner Brothers - 1995) features vocalist Randy Crawford, and spent three weeks at #1 on the New Adult Contemporary (NAC) Charts. Prior to that CD, Segal's album, Connected to the Unexpected (JVC - 1996), was played in heavy rotation by top NAC stations at over 200 colleges across the country. Far ahead of its time, reviewers praised it as a "new genre in music." Misha's highly-acclaimed, first CD, Zambooka, (Music Masters - 1993) features legendary artists Chick Corea, Freddy Hubbard and Mark Isham. It hit #1 with the Critic's Choice Awards in JAZZIZ magazine and was endorsed by both Quincy Jones and Bob James.
Awards + Recognition
- Black Reel Award Nomination: ''MOOZ-Lum'' - Composer (2011)
- Israeli Oscar Award Nomination: "For My Father" - Composer (2008)
- JAZZIZ Critics Choice: Best Music of the Year: "Connected to the Unexpected" - (JVC)(1996)
- Brit Award Winner: Soundtrack for "Phantom of the Opera" - Composer (1990)
- Emmy Award Nomination: "Look Away" - Composer for PBS (1987)
- Emmy Award Winner: "Andreas Story"- Composer for ABC (1985)
- President Gerald Ford Collaboration: "Boy Scouts of America Anniversary Project" (1984)
- Israeli Grammy Award Winner: "Kolot" - Composer(1982)
Composer / Conductor: Creative Man Behind the Notes
With over 100 feature film scores to his credit, veteran composer Misha Segal admits, "failure was not an option." His contributions include The Phantom of the Opera, which received wide critical acclaim for its originality and scope and the Brit Award for Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording, the all time favorite kids' movie, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, and Un Secreto de Esperanza, Mexican diva Katy Jurado's last movie. Numerous other domestic and international films and even animated features like The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and The Secret Garden bear Segal's unique mark and style. His small screen work earned him both an Emmy Award and an Emmy Award Nomination.
Segal's compositions illuminate the color spectrum. He shades the notes with influences -- the most powerful of whom is his hero Gustav Mahler. "Not so much directly in music, but because of Mahler's depth; eternal struggle with the concept of life / death and nature as expressed through his vast musical language; him being at the peak of the romantic era; his honesty; clarity; and never compromising message," Misha replied. Even jazz pianist Tamir Hendelman, mentored by Segal, attests to Misha's "love of sweepingly inspiring figures in music, Bill Evans and Gustav Mahler - and the way their influence colored (Misha's) music."
From Misha's beautifully lyrical solo piano excursions to sometimes menacing and searing orchestral scores, it's just another day in the office -- no matter whether he's conducting a 90-piece orchestra in Hungary and an 80-piece orchestra in Dublin.
After moving to Los Angeles (LA), Segal was signed by the founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy, to compose/write for their artists; even scoring for the incomparable Berry Gordy's final major film titled "The Last Dragon" - and the love theme song performed by Smokey Robinson.
Prior to relocating to LA, Misha enjoyed a successful career in New York (NY), where he initially began working for Columbia Records and RCA. He had the privilege of writing, arranging, orchestrating or producing for such high profile talent as Luther Vandross, Nancy Wilson, Bob James, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Phyllis Hyman, Carl Anderson and Dave Grusin.
A vanguard in his native Israel, Misha's jazz, rock, pop, and classical compositions (performed by the Israeli Philharmonic and the Israeli Chamber Ensemble, among others) helped revolutionize the face of contemporary music in his homeland. His claim to fame is searching for new sounds, new horizons and ground breaking ideas. Considered today to be one of the leading cultural influences in Israel, he garnered numerous #1 hits due in part to his interpretation and application of western music influences to the Israeli cultural scene. Given the style of music he brought to Israel, there is probably not anyone in songwriting, pop or rock that has not been influenced by Misha's work there.
Before graduating from the Berklee College of music in Boston and heading to NY, Misha was well schooled. In London he studied composition at the Guildhall School of music; apprenticed under 20th century master composer Dieter Schönbach in Germany; and initially studied with Israel's foremost composers -- Paul Ben-Haim, Noam Sherrif and Isaac Sadai -- as well as film and philosophy at Tel Aviv University. Getting his first piano and opportunity to pursue music only happened after his compulsory military service.
When Misha Segal broke into the scene in Israel, it was not because he was influenced by the current Israeli music. The son of an amateur Russian musician (violin and piano) and jazz fanatic, Misha's ears were exposed to Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman from day one. His Viennese mother shared her love of Johann Strauss and musical theater's "Annie Get Your Gun" with her son. Growing up he also heard Elton John and The Beatles. Suffice it to say, between the two of them, their only child listened to Russian music, Viennese Music, Arabic music (on the radio), Israeli music, British Rock 'n Roll and America's jazz.
Outside of family, the greatest effect on Misha Segal's life during childhood came from two events: (1) an Oscar Peterson live performance, and (2) winning The Blues and Abstract Truth album at a radio contest. Misha cried for hours after seeing the legendary Peterson with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. And Oliver Nelson's most acclaimed album with Freddie Hubbard changed Segal's life forever. "Who would perform a solo on my own CD?," Segal surprisingly said.
When not making music or listening to it, the amateur chef cooks up a storm, samples fine wines in the Napa-Sonoma Valleys and enjoys flying single engine planes. A champion on many levels, Misha was even revered as a karate athlete in his 20s.
Few composers capture their time and become the iconic voice of their age. Misha Segal found his voice in the 20th century and projected the sound of urban America, from the culture and continents he traversed into the 21st century.
While we may not fully comprehend the reason for Misha's multidimensional contributions today, there's a good chance the future will reveal the reason why we are better off as a result.
Public Relations Contact:
Anne Archer .....................................................Jane Seymour