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Peter Lam

Class of 2012, Composer

Peter was at Freemen’s between 2010 to 2012 for his A-levels and went on to read music at King’s College in London, followed by a film scoring postgraduate degree at the University of Southern California.  

Peter composed music for a dozen short films and independent projects in Los Angeles before taking up his first “official” job as a music proofreader for the animated film Smurfs: The Lost Village. 

He has since been part of the music team on a dozen of US TV series, such as Narcos: Mexico (Netflix), Jane The Virgin (CBS), Titans (DC Universe), and most recently the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney +. His score for the film Where Dreams Rests was nominated for Best Original Score at the Madrid International Film Festival last year. 

Music has always been a part of Peter’s life. “I grew up learning to play instruments and playing in orchestras and bands etc., I guess it is hard not to enjoy music when you are so immersed in it! I was a big fan of the composer Hans Zimmer during my teenage years. I was blown away by his music in the Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman films, which made me realize that there is such a cool industry of composing for film and media. It was around then that I wanted to learn to compose, and create such dramatic and evocative music. It was during my time at Freemen’s that I decided to pursue a career in music.” 

Peter has fond memories of his years at Freemen’s, almost a decade ago, and credits Freemen’s for providing him with a great environment for personal growth. Not surprisingly, Music was his favourite subject at School. “Mr. Dodds and Mrs. Eaglestone gave me a lot of support and freedom in my musical development both as a performer and composer, including allowing my first orchestral piece to be performed by the Freemen’s Orchestra at the Annual Class Act Concert at the Dorking Halls. I will always remember spending a lot of time at the music department after school to work on my own music, and Mr. Dodds was always supportive with the resources available then (how I envy the new music building though!). I certainly wouldn’t be a composer today if those early stages of musical trials (and failures) didn’t happen.”  

Peter recounts the annual House Music Competitions as his top Freemen’s memories. “As House Music Captain in my L6 year, I was in charge of programming and rehearsing all the different musical acts. It was great fun making music with housemates across different years, and I gained a lot of experience in arranging and rehearsing music throughout the process. It was also a sweet victory at the end as we swept away the major prizes!” 

Peter’s most memorable professional experience to date has been his work on a short film towards the end of his film scoring postgraduate programme at USC. “As a composer, the ultimate quest is to find one’s “voice” or musical identity. There are already lots of great music and content around, and you do constantly ask yourself what hasn’t been done yet and what I can add to the scene in a unique way. I am still working on it, but it does challenge me to continue to be creative!” 

Peter’s advice to current Freemen’s students is to make the most of their time at School – to explore their interests and strengthen talents. “Looking back at my life, I would say that I was the most free during my time at Freemen’s - free to explore and equip and improve. The school has great resources and really supportive staff, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or opportunities that could widen your horizons. If you want to work in the entertainment industry, it is important to realize that it is a very competitive and stressful business, so a lot of the time you just have to enjoy the ride and don’t take things too personally. Connections and relationships are very important, so your attitude and professionalism is priority. As my professor at USC always said, the key to success is “work hard, be nice, and get lucky”!