You might have missed his name in the film credits, but soft-spoken, Alberto Iglesias, is no stranger to Oscar nominations. He has been nominated for Best Original Score in the film currently in theaters, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” and previously for “The Constant Gardener” (2005) and “The Kite Runner” (2006).
The Spanish award-winning musician is widely known in Spain for his award-winning work in several Spanish films, mostly from Pedro Almodóvar such as, “Broken Embraces,” “Talk to Her,” and “Volver,” among many others.
With his quiet demeanor, he says in Spanish that all he needs to create his powerfully suspenseful melodies is a window.
“A quiet room with a window would be ideal,” says Iglesias as if that would be his favorite gift in the world. “A room has to have a window. I love to look at a view. I’m seeing Los Angeles now. The hills from here give me the impression that it is very tranquil.”
He says that the genre he chooses depends on the film.
“The film asks for the genre,” says Iglesias. “Sometimes it starts with one and ends with another. I don’t have a favorite genre. I like sounds and colors that remind me of jazz.”
His nominated score for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” sounds like a jazzy thriller. He says his personal favorite score is the one in the first scene of “Psycho,” which he says made him vibrate.
He had always had dreams of being a musician and writing music, but the process happened slowly and unfolded as if it were his destiny. He first learned to play the guitar and then the piano, which is what he now uses for most of composing.
He studied classical music composition in his hometown, San Sebastian, and later Paris, as well as electronic music in Barcelona. However, he didn’t start his career writing for films until someone asked for his help.
“I didn’t look for it,” says Iglesias. “My first films were for my brother who is a movie director.”
He slowly began getting more work in film, and finally with Spanish director and filmmaker, Pedro Almodóvar, whom he says is a demanding artist who made him develop as a musician immensely.
“That was an intense experience,” says Iglesias. “He is a director who is in his own universe. The director influences my work a lot, because it is the work of a team.”
As in his work for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” he says the process involves a close connection to the director.
“The director explains the movie to me,” says Iglesias. “Then he asks for the music with an idea, but not an exact one. After discussing the ideas with the director, I begin to write.”
He says the director of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Tomas Alfredson, chose to work with him. It then took Iglesias two months to write the score, which he did hastily in order to make it to the Venice International Film Festival this past September. He says it is a very complex story that inspired him a lot.
“The director is extraordinary,” says Iglesias. “He is very special, and the music is very important for the movie. It moved me. I began to write immediately.”
For Iglesias it’s a greatly satisfying to see the final product finished.
“I liked it a lot,” he says. “It called attention to the director’s style. I liked his personal style a lot.”
Originally published in NBCLatino.com.