Charlie McCarron ’08 is a Saint John’s University graduate who studied Music Composition, Computer Science, and Psychology. Today Charlie is involved in a myriad of things ranging from film composition, songwriting, video producing, visual art, and board game designing with an impressive work history.
Charlie is the executive director of Film Score Fest. He was recently given the rare opportunity to work with the Minnesota Opera to compose Chim Lạc (Lost Bird) along with writer and puppeteer Oanh Vu’08 to begin their 2021 season. “This was an opportunity that I didn’t think I would be doing,” but being from CSB/SJU prepared him to seek out opportunities and make the most of them.
CSB/SJU provided him with opportunities to explore being a composer and be open to different and new types of music. He had “opportunities to write compositions for the orchestra” and created an experimental story album of two CDs that were played together to create an interesting sound. “My education at CSB/SJU allowed me to be a versatile composer.” This helped him set himself apart from other composers and prepared him for his career. “I like that every project is different than the previous. Music scoring allows me to do a wide range of things that are different.” His advice for students is that they should take advantage of the support and services on campus to create unique opportunities like using the Johnnie and Bennie network to work or connect with alumni.
Charlie’s composition history is packed full of award-winning films and series that include: “Emmy-nominated Beneath the Ink; STARZ documentary Silicone Soul; the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia award-winning documentary Love Them First: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary by KARE 11; Incompleteness, which was named ‘Best Series’ in over 30 festivals.” In 2018, Charlie traveled to the Philippines to participate in a three-week immersion program as a finalist in the Banaue International Music Composition Competition for his orchestral piece Balitúk: The Divided Child . In 2020, he kickstarted his album 2020, which was a culmination of his song writing career, with a mix of 20 other Minnesota musicians spanning different music garages. “It’s the most personal album that I have written.” He has even made 6 music videos, and plans to release cover songs done by friends, “it’s always interesting to hear other peoples twist on something you wrote.”
Charlie is active on his blog posting at least once a month, avid user of Twitter, and does his podcast weekly on Wednesdays. His podcast is great for anyone-from composition grads to novice instrumentalist-with has over 150+ episode with him interviewing other musician including a kickstarter-backed world tour along with a special bi-monthly “Composer Quest”, where he “breaks down [his] music and give techniques and tips [he] learned through producing it.” His had the opportunity to interview Grant Kirkhope, who was the music composer for Nintendo games. He interviewed Dr. Diana Deutsch, the founder of music psychology and pioneered music illusions. She taught him that “the more you listen to music the more your perception of it changes compared to someone listing to it for the first time,” which is a great lesson that all musicians can benefit from.