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"the X-files" Composer Finds A Home In New Milford

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EW MILFORD, Conn. --

At first glance, the raven perched on the barn's wood beam in Mark Snow's loft studio seems eerily real, its glassy-eyed stare causing visitors to catch their breath.

The 58-year-old composer's ethereal music for the science-fiction television classic, "The X-Files," has the same startling effect.

A gag gift, the bird came with Snow from California when he and his wife Glynn - sister of actress Tyne Daly of TV's "Judging Amy" and Tim Daly of "Wings" - moved last summer to the Merryall farm property they bought as an East Coast getaway.

He perched the stuffed, black crow in his studio, a solitary space separated from the main farmhouse with wide windows that overlook a picturesque expanse.

"California turned into a great place to visit, but not a great place to live," said Snow, composer for the WB series "Smallville."

He also is working on music for a new pilot of the 1970s TV series "Kolchak, The Night Stalker." He said he plans to write the music for the second "X-Files" film, having written the music for 1998's "Fight the Future."

"In the dead of winter, visiting for 10 days is just fine. This is home," he said.

Though this isn't the studio where Snow invented the theme that "X-Files" fans, called Philes, can instantly hum, or whistle, it has all he needs to create whatever sounds, music or effects he requires for whatever project is on his deadline schedule. He then e-mails the composition to the studio.

In the center of the cozy space is a semicircle of electronic keyboards, synthesizers, recorders, mixers and other computerized music gadgetry that would delight any techno-geek. On a stand in front of the equipment is a large screen plasma television where he watches the episodes for which he is writing music. His aim is to always complement the mystery behind the unfolding plots with sounds and instrumentation that underscore and enhance the on-screen action.

He met his goal with the famously moody theme for "The X-Files."

The haunting melody with its distinctive, whistling background was created with a mix of electronic sound and a recording of Snow's wife, Glynn, "an excellent whistler."

Some three decades into an industry that can be described as quirky, with artists coming and going, Snow has managed to stay on top. He was recently awarded the "Golden Note" from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, an achievement bestowed on top composers in film and television.

"It's an award for longevity, consistency, for having worked in the industry for 30 years," said the trim composer who sports a goatee. "It's a recognition of that body of work, and that's terrific."

The walls of his studio are filled with accolades attesting to achievements from his childhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. when he chose to learn the oboe. To date, Snow's affinity for avant-garde compositions has earned him 16 Emmy nominations.

"If I ever win, it's over for me," Snow said with a grin.

His fans admire his work, with or without awards.

New Milford resident Valorie Kolitz, a dedicated Phile, said Snow's music made the show "believable."

"The music set the tone, and now that music to me means science fiction," Kolitz said. "I can actually hum the whole thing. It's completely recognizable. You hear the first couple of notes, and you know what it is."

Born Martin Fulterman, to a professional percussionist and a kindergarten teacher who loved to play the piano, Snow's musical talents were choreographed at an early age.

"It was DNA, I suppose," said Snow who changed his name when he and his wife moved to California in the early 1970s.

Before that, at The Juilliard School of Music, he and four roommates created a band, "The New York Rock 'n' Roll Ensemble," a classic rock group that enjoyed some success touring with the likes of Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, The Turtles and Led Zeppelin.

After a five-year run with the band, Snow said his wife, whose family had Hollywood connections, encouraged him to move to California to see what might materialize.

"We had no money, and two kids at the time," Snow said. "We moved in with my father-in-law (the late actor James Daly) for two weeks, then he gave us $1,000 and said go rent a place. Six months later, I got my first job for a TV series called 'The Rookies.' And then it started to happen, slowly but surely."

One job led to another, including TV movies and episodes.

In the early days, he was writing music for everything from "The Love Boat" to "Starsky and Hutch." He won his first Emmy nomination for a 1984 TV movie about incest called "Something About Amelia."

In New Milford, Snow is settling into a nice mix between the demands of a thriving music career and a little time to relax.

With three adult daughters and four grandsons, Snow likes the days he can turn off the music and spend time frog hunting with his grandchildren, who know nothing of "The X-Files."

He looks ahead to what's next.

"I would really love to do some original, quirky-type thing that's not a war story or a flat out romance," Snow said. "Something on the lines of 'American Beauty,' something off the beaten track, and not an action adventure that just has to be fast and loud. Something where you don't have to be predictable."


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  • Elders (Moderators)

I didn't know that much about Mark Snow, so this makes a very interesting read. I wonder why he changed his name?

Pity there was no mention of Millennium - in my opinion he created some of his most evocative music for the show.

Thanks for posting this, hansulu. Good find!

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Guest hansulu
I didn't know that much about Mark Snow, so this makes a very interesting read. I wonder why he changed his name?

Pity there was no mention of Millennium - in my opinion he created some of his most evocative music for the show.

Thanks for posting this, hansulu. Good find!


no prob libby. i found it interesting too. :yes:

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  • Elders (Admins)

That's a great post! Its really refreshing to read about Mark Snow again and especially find out a bit more about him. I noted with interest that he was scoring the new Kolchack series, good on him and whoever asked him in the first place!

We should send him a Good Luck in your New Home card from everyone at TIWWA!

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