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An Interview With Composer and Musician Kyle Eastwood at the John Ford Ireland Film Symposium

Acclaimed jazz musician and composer Kyle Eastwood is in Dublin this weekend, performing at the Button Factory and taking part in the programme of events at the inaugural John Ford Ireland Film Symposium, participating in the panel discussion “Music for the Screen”.

Eastwood's compositions have been featured in numerous films, including Mystic River (2002), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Gran Torino (2008) and Invictus (2009), among others. He has recorded four critically-acclaimed albums, and toured worldwide to sell-out crowds.

I spoke to Mr. Eastwood about his musical career and current projects, composing film scores and, of course, his love of John Ford's films.

Robert Bodrog: Is this your first time in Dublin?

Kyle Eastwood: No, I've been here quite a few times, actually. And I've played here in Ireland before at the Cork Jazz Festival a few times over the years.

RB: What's the name of your band?

KE: The Kyle Eastwood Quintet. That's my jazz group.

RB: Although people know you as a musician, they might not know that you're an accomplished composer and have written a lot of music for films. Can you tell me about the first composing that you did?

KE: Well, I started out just writing a few pieces here and there for my father's films, as far back as 1990 or 91. And then from there, I kind of gradually worked my way up to doing whole scores.

RB: In terms of John Ford, what does he mean to you?

KE: My father is a big fan, and I grew up watching [Ford's] films.

RB: Do you remember the first John Ford movie you ever saw? How old were you and what kind of impact did it have on you?

KE: I was probably seven or eight. It was The Searchers. And also The Grapes of Wrath. I saw that at a young age... Back in the early days of betamax and VHS, he had a lot of old movies on tape.

RB: Do you know the first John Ford film he ever saw?

KE: That I don't know. But it probably was one of his earlier ones, I'm sure. My father was born in 1930, so probably something from the 40s.

RB: Can you tell me about some of your upcoming projects? Do you have any more gigs in Ireland after this weekend?

KE: No actually, I'm going back to Paris, and then after that, we've got a couple of concerts in Italy, then Istanbul, and then Germany. We'll be playing off and on through the end of August. Then we're going to start to record a new album in the middle of September.

RB: OK, Thank you very much. Enjoy the Ford symposium and your time in Dublin.

Kyle Eastwood's latest album is Songs from the Chateau (Candid Records, 2011). For more information: www.kyleeastwood.com

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