Daniel Carlin

Chair, Screen Scoring Program

Professor of Practice

  • Program:
    Screen Scoring
  • Division:
    Contemporary Music


Daniel Carlin, Professor of Practice at USC Thornton and chair of Screen Scoring programs, is a 30-year industry veteran who has collaborated on hundreds of film and television projects. An Emmy-winning music editor and an Emmy-nominated music director, Carlin’s “greatest hits” include the Academy-award-winning films: The Last of the Mohicans (music supervisor and conductor), The Black Stallion (music supervisor, conductor, soundtrack producer), An Officer and a Gentleman (music consultant and conductor), and Days of Heaven (music editor); the Golden-Globe winning films: Quest For Camelot (music production supervisor) and Steel Magnolias (music editor); the Oscar-nominated films: What’s Love Got to Do with It (music supervisor, song producer), The Bodyguard (playback supervisor), The Preacher’s Wife (music production supervisor),and Coming to America (music editor); and the Emmy winners: The Temptations (Emmy-nominated music director, conductor, soundtrack producer), Lou Grant (music editor, conductor), St. Elsewhere (music supervisor/music editor), Moonlighting (music editor/playback supervisor), and Copacabana (music editor/playback supervisor).

For 25 years, Carlin was the CEO of Segue Music, the industry’s largest and most successful provider of on-set and post-production music services in Hollywood history. Music editors and supervisors at Segue worked on well over one thousand projects with such honored composers as Burt Bacharach, Elmer Bernstein, Bruce Broughton, Ralph Burns, Paul Chihara, John Debney, Georges Delerue, George Duke, Danny Elfman, Jerry Fielding, David Foster, Charles Fox, Elliot Goldenthal, Dave Grusin, Maurice Jarre, Trevor Jones, Michael Kamen, Fred Karlin, Johnny Mandel, Alan Menken, Ennio Morricone, David Newman, Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, Jack Nitzsche, Basil Poledouris, William Ross, Lalo Schifrin, Stephen Schwartz, Marc Shaiman, Alan Silvestri, Jack Smalley, Shirley Walker, Patrick Williams, Hans Zimmer, and many, many more.

In 2004, Carlin segued into full-time music education, serving first as executive director of the Henry Mancini Institute. In 2007, he became Chair of Film Scoring at Berklee College of Music, where he remained for five years before taking over Thornton’s Screen Scoring program.

Long an advocate for composers, performers, and other industry workers, Carlin served two elected terms as Chair of The Recording Academy (the GRAMMY organization) and 25 years (thus far) on the Motion Picture Academy’s Music-Branch Executive Committee. He helped design, create, and fund the composer program at the Sundance Institute, was a charter member of UCLA’s Film Scoring Advisory Board, and helped found the Alliance for Women Composers.

Carlin’s formal education is in anthropology, in which he earned bachelor and master degrees before performing fieldwork in China during the Cultural Revolution and passing his Ph.D. exams. He also served four years in the US Air Force as an intelligence analyst. After entering the film-music industry, he became a conducting student of William Kettering. A frequent lecturer, interviewer, panelist, jurist, concert producer, and event host, Carlin has appeared formally at many renowned universities, conservatories, institutes, and concert halls in North America, Asia, and Europe. For the past seven years, he has been active with the annual Krakow International Film Music Festival, chairing the jury, advising for the education program, and supervising the masterclass recording sessions. In addition to USC and Berklee, Carlin has taught at UCLA, University of Connecticut, and Belmont University. He also works independently as a musicology consultant, including for Disney Theatrical Productions on their Tony-Award-winning Broadway musicals Lion King, Mary Poppins, and Newsies.