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Nathan Barr, BHS '91, Scores an Emmy Award

Nate Barr celebrating his Emmy

By Susan Miele

Oct, 14, 2020: Nathan Barr, Bronxville High School class of '91, scored an Emmy Award last month for "Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music" for his work on the Netflix mini-series "Hollywood," a period piece set in the 1940s.

Barr was also nominated in the same category for his work on Amazon's "Carnival Row," as well as in the category of "Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special" for "Hollywood." These nods add to the two Emmy nominations he earned in 2013, also in the category of "Main Title Theme Music for 'The Americans and for Hemlock Grove,'"

Barr was not always keen on playing music. While a student in Bronxville, he opted to play the cello in the school orchestra, reasoning that because the instrument's size would necessitate a ride home each day, his mother would surely get worn out, and he could therefore quit. Not so, however. His mother, Penny Barr, a piano teacher, was thrilled.

The Barrs' Bronxville home was full of instruments, including a harpsichord and mandolin. A variety of musical genres was enjoyed in the home. Little did Nate Barr know at the time, his adoption of the cello would eventually segue into an Emmy Award-winning career in music composition. 

In addition to his parents' influence, Barr cites the impact made by Bronxville Schools orchestra teacher Denise Lutter, who nurtured his talent and interest by generously investing time in ear training and other extracurricular musical education. It was around this time that Nate Barr began developing an interest in music composition for film and television.

Perhaps inspired by the collection of instruments in his Bronxville home, Barr purchased a 1366-pipe Wurlitzer organ in 2013 that had been used by 20th Century Fox from 1928 to 1998, including in such classics as The Sound of Music, Patton, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. 

The organ now resides in his 8,000-square-foot Bandrika Studios, along with his collection of mechanical instruments, such as an orchestrion (once used in settings like saloons and whorehouses to resemble the sounds of an orchestra at the push of a button), and other historic and exotic instruments—among them a human bone trumpet from Tibet, a rare Glass Armonica, and gourd cellos.

Barr describes the craft of composing main title theme music as being "like a puzzle," with the challenge of communicating a story in as little as a minute or, in one example of his work, even 21 seconds. Melody is particularly important, he notes—especially given that current technology allows viewers to fast forward past his work. 

Nate Barr now resides in Los Angeles.

Arts Directory

Bronxville Public Library
Bronxville Public Library

The Bronxville Public Library traces its origins back to 1875, when it was a small lending library housed in a room attached to the “Bronxville Model School.” The Library was officially chartered in 1906 and moved into the Village Hall Building. The needs of the library grew with the town and, in 1942, a new standalone building was erected, which is where the Library is today. Over the years, the Library was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of the community.

The Library has wonderful resources for adults and children and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment. The Library also houses a fine art collection, consisting principally of Bronxville painters and sculptors.

The Library offers special events, art exhibitions, and programs for adults, young adults and children. All events are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.

The Bronxville Public Library
201 Pondfield Road (Midland Avenue & Pondfield Road)

Concordia Conservatory
Concordia Conservatory

Concordia Conservatory, a preeminent center for music education in Westchester County, is a welcoming community where children and adults find lifelong inspiration and joy through learning, performing, listening to, and participating with others in music. Concordia Conservatory, a community outreach division of Concordia College, offers top quality music programs for early childhood, youth, adults and seniors. The Conservatory's vision is to enrich the lives of the people in our community through music.

Executive Director: Kathleen Suss
Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art

171 White Plains Rd
Bronxville, NY

Fine Arts Gallery of Bronxville
Fine Arts Gallery of Bronxville

99B Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Objects and Images Fine Arts
Objects and Images Fine Arts

117 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

The O'Silas Gallery at Concordia College
The O'Silas Gallery at Concordia College
Part of Concordia College New York, the OSilas Gallery integrates the visual arts into the cultural and educational life of our campus and community by providing quality exhibitions and programs that are diverse in style, content, and media. Our programs are memorable, thought-provoking, and spiritually enriching; and of artistic originality, integrity, and excellence.
Womrath Bookstore
Womrath Bookstore
Womrath Bookshop is a located in the heart of Bronxville village. In addition to selling books, the store also sell children's toys and holds readings both at the store and elsewhere in the community, such as at the Library.

76 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, NY
(914) 337-0199

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