Steven Gutheinz is a composer of music for film, TV, commercials, games and the concert stage who currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Rice University, the University of Southern California, Aspen Music School, and the ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop.
Steven has composed music for several award winning projects including the controversial feature film "Grimm Love" (aka "Rohtenburg") and the highly acclaimed short film "Wraith of Cobble Hill," which won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at Sundance. He has scored feature films for Sony Screen Gems, Icon Productions and MGM. His music can also be heard in the trailer and opening theme for Discovery's "Frozen Planet."
In addition to film and TV, Steven has written music for several high profile commercials including a series of spots for Pantene, DeVry/Keller University, Kellogg's, Tylenol, Audi and Avon. He has also written music for the critically acclaimed independent game "NyxQuest," the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and The Texas Voices.
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Tap-Repeatedly
"..the music is so good it enriches the experience by a considerable margin. Without it, Icarian would still be a competent platforming game with awesome use of motion controls, but with it Icarian is a thing of mythical beauty, a game that touches your spirit in ways that few games manage to."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Clash Entertainment
"The moody music orchestrates some interesting string instruments. I am not an expert on this kind of music, but it shines through on this game. In fact others here at Family Friendly Gaming would walk by and the music caught their ear. They wanted to know what I was playing, and what the music was all about. This is a neat aspect of this game that sets it apart from other franchises."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Nintendo World Report
"The music is haunting and gorgeous. The themes are similar but offer subtle differences based on context. They invoke ancient Greece wonderfully."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Eminence Online
"Gutheinz opens with "Icarian," which features a playful piano melody that fades in and out of the foreground along with occasional string swells. It's a really playful track despite the very mature sound. The samples used sound wonderfully, and sound beUer than even most of the retail disc-‐based games on the Wii. It's a great opener that really captures the essence of Nyx.
Next, "Helios" is the longest track here, coming in at 4:33. It sports these steady string stabs and a lovely ethnic stringed instrument that glides along, slowly building upwards. This track is titled so perfectly, as this one more than any other alludes to the imagery of the Sun. There are ups and downs in the track, where it fades out into near silence, but it always comes back up and captures your attention with its bursts of activity.
Next up, the piano returns for "Kindred Spirits," creating a lovely melody to match the emotional string swells and filtered and distorted vocal snippets that give the piece a lively quality. Then it's on to "The Sun" I mentioned that "Helios" sounds awfully Sun-‐like, but while "Helios" may represent the majesty of our giant star in the sky, "The Sun" represents its darker side, sounding like scorched Earth under its piercing rays of sound. It's definitely an ominous track that leads to the most intense piece here, "Hydra." While "Hydra" isn't bombas=c by any stretch of the imagina=on, the layered bongos, rich string swells and stabs, and faster tempo will definitely bring your attention back to the score with its energy.
The last track is another louder piece, which is appropriate given that it's the trailer music for the game. "Nyx" features angelic choral voices, inviting strings, and an upbeat melody to draw you into the game. It slowly builds in intensity with percussion, and leaves you with a strong moment to remember."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at meristation.com
"Usando instrumentos llenos de vida como el arpa, el duduk y el santur, se inspiró en las raíces indoeuropeas de la antigua Grecia. Habrá partes musicales inquietantemente tranquilas que amenizarán la resolución de los distintos puzzles y zonas en las que tendremos que correr sin perder el aliento, mientras crece la intensidad de la banda sonora. Al terminar el juego e incluso si lo volvemos a jugar, no tendremos la sensación de haber escuchado siempre la misma melodía, ya que la banda sonora es bastante amplia."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Gamespot . com
"The music is also incredible; the tranquil plucking sounds of a harp, as well as the ancient sounds of such instruments as the santur or duduk, make you feel as if you're in another land. The melodies fit perfectly with what is unfolding onscreen, and the music is good enough to listen to on its own."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Blast Magazine . com
"The music is also very fitting and improves the experience–it reminds me of the music from the Diablo series, in that it blends in with the background and then storms out at certain points just to remind you how good it sounds."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Nintendo Life
"The music is quite decent too; all of the songs have the ancient Greece vibe which naturally fits all the various structures found around the levels perfectly."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Original Sound Version . com
"The music perfectly reflects almost every action on the screen with a sense of longing, a chilling feeling of loneliness and searching; it all makes sense once you actually combine the game and the music. In times of immediate danger, the music will quickly change to a faster paced drum-driven melody, perfectly shifting the mood from searching to combat and survival. The audio in NyxQuest might be its best part, as it is a perfect example of a soundtrack backing up the gameplay, and not just being either static background music to fill space or music that takes over the overall soundscape completely. On its own, it might not be groundbreaking, but in the game, it is breathtaking."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Pwnmen
"The music however was fanstastic, with an original soundtrack vaguely reminiscent of Diablo 2's town music."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Pixlbit
"Adding to that is the music, which is usually peaceful and fits with the game's slower pace. It ramps up as the action does, and really adds to the mood and setting."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Pixeldojo . com
"Musically, NyxQuest takes a very ambient approach, peppering the game with short waves of just-there music that soon fades away. When intense action sequences are reached, the soundtrack sheds its ambient leanings and rises to the occasion with swelling stretches of exciting beats. Overall, the soundscape is heavily Middle Eastern in its style and definitely fits NyxQuest’s defining images of never-ending deserts."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Anait Games . com
"Estéticamente hablando, es uno de los juegos más inteligentes que he visto en mucho tiempo.. Parte de la culpa de todo esto la tiene su magnífica banda sonora, obra de Steven Gutheinz. Tampoco son demasiadas pistas, pero están las que tienen que estar."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Wonderallweb
"Also worth a mention is the musical track, many small games tend to fall flat at this stage but on this occasion Over the Top Games have nailed it with a beautiful tune that will alter at certain times of the game."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at C3 Reviews
"The music composed by Steven Gutheinz masterfully embellishes the game's unique atmosphere."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at TIG Tunes
"The soundtrack was composed by Steven Gutheinz (also did the music for the movie Infestation) and was done for the WiiWare and Steam game NyxQuest. It has a very dynamic and movie soundtrack feel to it, showing the talent that Steven Gutheinz has. Most of the album is very soft, soothing music, but then it starts getting a little more bombastic around Helios. The OST is a little on the short side, but supposedly there was only supposed to be 5 minutes of music used in the game originally. It’s worth the listen if you enjoy movie-like scores in your game OSTs. My favorite tracks are Helios and Hydra."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Vandal.net
"Por otra parte, la excelente banda sonora de Steven Gutheinz es un elemento ciertamente muy destacable dentro del conjunto, tanto por su calidad compositiva como por la adecuación de su instrumentación, fundamentada en el uso de instrumentos antiguos indo-europeos, como el harpa, el santur o el duduk, presuntamente de uso común en las épocas circundantes al imperio helénico. Una banda sonora que acompañará, la mayor parte del tiempo, relajadamente a nuestro deambular por los escenarios del juego, aunque en las batallas contra enemigos de mayor envergadura la misma alcance momentos de mayor tensión, yendo de manera acompasado, en resumen, con las vivencias del jugador dentro del título."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at The True Mirror
"All in all the music fits the visual style brilliantly and carries the game along nicely."
Review of "NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits" at Blogocio . net
"La música es puro amor"
Review of "Infestation" at 411 Mania
"So what do we have here? A pretty nifty opening titles sequence with an actual theme song that sounds like a theme song."
Review of "Deadly Impact" at Movie Room Reviews
"..Deadly Impact is an action thriller, and it delivers, aided by the exciting music of Steve Gutheinz."
Review of "Deadly Impact" at The Entertainment Corner
"The music and special effects all mesh flawlessly with the movie."
Review of "Grimm Love" at fiveleggediguana
"With haunting music by Steven Gutheinz.."
Review of "Glass House: The Good Mother" at Bums Corner/HK and Cult Film News
"Steven Gutheinz' evocative musical score adds to the mood as well."
Review of "Songs of Travel" in the Kansas City Star:
Chamber Orchestra Goes Exploring: Paradise Explored, the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra's spring program, took in uncharted musical territory with the world premiere of the gifted young film composer Steven Gutheinz's Songs of Travel.
Set to the text of a series of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, Gutheinz's quintet of sweeping melodies captured a sense of adventure and yearning for what lies just beyond the horizon. Under the sensitive direction of conductor Bruce Sorrell, and with the able assistance of mezzo-soprano soloist Debra Scroggins Sowerwine, Gutheinz's work was brought to vibrant life.
From the majestic opening of "Once Only by the Garden Gate," through the melancholy longing of "Snow and Roses" and finally to the burnished horns of "The Vagabond," Gutheinz's composition did not disappoint.
The composer's flowing themes and recurring musical motifs evoked a cinematic fluidity in structure. But there was also a solid sense of theatricality and emotion in the brightly melodic work that made it accessible without being condescending.
mp3x magazine review of "The Crossing"
The Crossing is either a short version of a full symphonic work, or screaming out to be the closing scene to a film. Either way, it doesn't stop you enjoying a very beautiful piece of music. The opening is very much a proud procession of power and glory, which all of a sudden pulls away into a soft beautiful melody, lead by the oboe and balanced by the cellos.
This is an extremely well balanced piece of orchestral writing and the composer manages to utilize his orchestra in so many ways to create the stunning sound that you hear. If this was a part of a larger orchestral work, then there is plenty of material here to develop, as well as the very well written classical brass parts.
Review of "Cracking Shadows" from Gods of Music
Steven Gutheinz is one of the most promising young film composers on the scene today. Combining flawless technique, existential beauty, quirky dementia, and fabulous chops, Steven creates music that is funny, sad, insane, etc ,etc. His ability to capture human emotion is almost unmatched in the sea of today's formulaic, paper cutout film scores.
Gutheinz, unlike most film composers, prefers the sound of small chamber ensembles as opposed to full orchestra. These small ensembles (piano trio seems to be his chosen "core" ensemble), give his scores an intimacy not often heard in film. His piece "Cracking Shadows", written for the film of the same name, is one of these pieces. Scored for cello and piano only, the soaring, lush music invokes the longing, sorrowful spirit of Brahms. However, this piece is not to be confused with the current trend of neo-romantic works that are mere pastiche. This music is all Gutheinz.
This track has all of those things. This is well composed film-styled classical music which manages to sound familiar without being derivative; in a matter of just over two minutes it goes from a powerful driving climactic sequence to a more sedate, stately section. It then ends with a minor flourish. BAM! Thanks for the memories.
As a stand-alone piece, it's a little disjunct; it doesn't really say much, and it's over before you get a chance to identify with it. But I get the feeling that this is an excerpt of a larger piece, perhaps a calling card or "audio resume" of sorts. Even so, it stands out as a strong piece of what I imagine is a consistent body of work.
Nice. Very nice.
Review of "With or Without Your" from Gods of Music
"With or Without You" is a very well done piece that brings out a lot of imagery and atmospheres through the music. It is a very slow moving work, but nonetheless keeps the listener interested through subtle changes in the music. Overall very well put together.
The three voices it's scored for; soprano, piano, and flute blends together very well. Maybe too well. It being film music, it is supposed to stay in the background, thus there's no real memorable theme or lines that comes with it. But then again maybe it's not supposed to. When reviewing these types of works I always have trouble wether or not to treat them as they were intended or as a piece that should be able to stand on its own.
As a classical work it could have some trouble finding performances, especially since the parts are way easy and consists of mostly loooong held notes (footballs, as film performers like to call them) that would bore most players. But this doesn't stem from lack of skill, since a lot of his other works can get quite complex. (I enjoyed listening to a lot of his faster works, like "The Night Ferris Bueller Died" and "Red, Fast, and Furious") So a 10 minus a little bit should be a fair compromise maybe?
As a film music score "With or Without You" is excellent in every way. If you're looking for a mellow and atmospheric track, or if you like film music in general look no further. I wouldn't stop at just this track, his website is an impressive collection of very well done film scores.
Review from "Riffage"
"A USC alumnus, Steven Gutheinz is at the forefront of a new generation of film composers. While trying to maintain the film scoring tradition of the past, Steven puts out incredibly vivid, colorful and inspiring works. His scores range from being cool and distant to tense and powerful, but either way they showcase his utter mastery of orchestration. Highest recommendations to fans of symphonic and chamber music."
Review from Asheron's Call Dev Soundtrack
"Review of "Cracking Shadows" - This is my personal and unofficial theme song for writing Jarilyn, a character who lost her daughter to the Shadows in my latest story for the Zone. I can't listen to this without getting sniffly and misty-eyed. It's so sweet, beautiful, and sad... Steven Gutheinz is GOOD."
Review of "Tristesse" - The first time I heard this, I got the image of a beautiful and sad young woman staring out a rain-streaked window, at a world gone grey. As it turns out, that's exactly what the movie Tristesse is about. Steven Gutheinz is REALLY good. I mean Thomas Newman (Little Women, How To Make An American Quilt) good. I actually don't know if he likes Newman's scores... but I do.
Review from "Going Places" 30 minute radio
Review of "With or Without You" - Steven Gutheinz is a young film composer working in Hollywood. There seem to be two kinds of composers for film these days; composers that really work as a "sound designer" (making lots of perfectly useful in-studio "atmospherics"), and those whose vison is in notes on paper played by real performers. I'm afraid that currently the former is overtaking the latter, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Gutheinz is proof of that, with sensitive writing that works just as well outside the film as in it. "With or Without You" is an excellent example: rather than tell you what the film this music came from was about, the first time through just LISTEN. The emotion is direct from the beginning (almost TOO so, we think); but what happens is an absolutely wonderful example of constantly delayed resolution, subverted expectation, and melodic ritual. A bit like you sped up some Morton Feldman and clothed it in a seemingly more goal-directed progression, but kept the transcendental spirit intact. If this (as the composer says) was his first film score, he's going to do O.K....
Review from "Pigeonholes Aside," an Internet music review station
Review of "Tristesse" - Described as being in the vanguard of the next generation of Hollywood film composers, Steve Gutheinz's music is something that today's movie going audiences can be very grateful for. Gone are the days where in old films film score was simply about a few bells and whistles here and there to go with the movements on screen. Of course, film score is just that, something to under-score- the action on screen. But it is perhaps thanks to the hunger of modern audiences for film music that can't be broken down to a formula, that we have score that is both functional and inspiring. Not surprisingly, it's this type of music that the audience takes away from the theatre with them, that they can listen to outside of the context of the film, and still be inspired. It's perhaps an emotive, crowd-pleasing theory, but hey, why shouldn't the crowd be pleased? At the end of the day, film is very much more than just light shining up on a canvass in a dark room. In today's world film and television are what people (like it or not) are using to make meaning of the world, and if music like this is inspiring people in their day to day lives, the future's looking pretty nice. Enjoy this beautiful yet intelligent track, and don't hesitate to check out his other pieces, all are equally inspiring.