Composer Is ‘A Sucker For Emotion’


August 12, 2009 5:20 a.m.

Canadian composer Jack Lenz creates music to move the soul while
keeping you in your seat.

The renowned composer has carved a niche for himself and his company,
Lenz Entertainment, producing music for more than a hundred television
programs and feature films.

His work has been nominated for three Gemini awards and he has created
music for Canadian television shows like Little Mosque on the Prairie,
Due South and Robocop: The Series.

He also created and produced music for Mel Gibson’s 2004 bible epic
The Passion of the Christ, a challenging job that took him across
the world searching for unique performers and unique sounds.

One of his favourite pieces from the movie, played as Christ is dying
on the cross, was recorded in a tiny Paris hotel room with Armenian
musician Levon Minassian playing a duduk, a woodwind instrument
invented more than 3,000 years ago, something Lenz says is proof that
music transcends both time and place.

Lenz co-wrote the Toronto Blue Jays’ theme song "OK Blue Jays"
with Tony Kininec and the song has become a staple anthem for the
baseball team.

His favourite work is the kind that forces him to discover the
emotional core of a piece of art and express its message through music.

"I want to write about things that are meaningful. I’m a sucker for
emotion – if something’s emotional, I love scoring to that to try
and find that same emotion in music that you’re seeing on-screen,"
Lenz said.

Lenz was born in Eston, Sask., to a father who was a farmer and a
mother who was a school teacher.

His mom bought Lenz an old upright piano and encouraged him to learn
to play. Lenz fell in love with music and got his first professional
music gig touring 200 days per year playing for soft-rock bands Seals
and Crofts and later Loggins and Messina.

He later worked as musical director for Canadian artists Anne Murray
and Buffy Sainte-Marie. In the early ’90s he decided to start his own
music production company doing commercials and advertising music. He
quickly branched out to scoring films and television shows as well.

Lenz studied music at the University of Saskatchewan but left before
finishing his degree, though he credits the time he spent there with
teaching him many of the skills he continues to use professionally.

A practicing Baha’i, Lenz says his faith plays an important role in
how he approaches his music.

"I believe you attract confirmations from beyond this world," Lenz
said adding, being able to pursue his love of music as a career is
a dream come true.