One would think that, after 23 Emmy nominations (with 2 wins) and 568 episodes worth of musical effort under his belt, composer Alf Clausen would have been safe at The Simpsons for years to come. Instead, the award-winning musician was fired from the Fox show just yesterday after 27 years of adventurous accompaniment.
As Variety reported, Clausen fielded a call from The Simpsons producer Richard Sakai who informed him that Fox was seeking “a different kind of music” and that his services would no longer be needed going forward. The change was made rather quickly, too; Clausen’s last complete score was for the Season 28 finale which aired in May. Season 29 premieres on October 1st but it’s unclear just who will take The Simpsons in “a different kind” of musical direction from here.
However, a composer of Clausen’s talent and renown is not to be thrown aside; he’ll still be involved with the show in some capacity. Here’s the follow-up statement released by The Simpsons producers today:
“We tremendously value Alf Clausen’s contributions to The Simpsons and he will continue to have an ongoing role in the show. We remain committed to the finest in music for The Simpsons, absolutely including orchestral. This is the part where we would make a joke but neither Alf’s work nor the music of The Simpsons is treated as anything but seriously by us.”
Reportedly, Matt Groening had insisted on a 35-piece orchestra, which Clausen bent to his conductor’s baton, from the beginning of the series. In light of the show’s presumably profitable turns for Fox and executive producer James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films, this seems like an odd change. Now, perhaps due to cost-saving measures associated with recording studios and post-production, many of those musicians might be following Clausen out the door. Danny Elfman‘s iconic theme song, however, is expected to stay just the way it is.
Will you miss Clausen’s musical style or are you open to a new sound? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!