From composing the Theme song for Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods”, to premiering his "Requiem" with the NYU University Singers to scoring the Fringe festival hit “Williamsburg! The Musical” – Kurt Gellersted enjoys spinning many musical plates.
Kurt's recent interview for the podcast "Bad Headshots with Kurt Larson":
Kurt has built a solid resume scoring music for over 25 indie films. Recent credits include work in NY and LA on projects large and small. His music can be heard in "Petunia" (Starring Thora Birch, Christine Lahti, Brittany Snow and Michael Urie), "Coyote" (Starring Robert J. Steinmiller Jr. and Carlos Pratts), "Mangus!" (Starring Jennifer Coolidge, Heather Matarazzo, Leslie Jordan and John Waters), and most recently Kurt Larson's "Son of Ghostman." Kurt has just begun composing the score for Ash Christian's "Love On The Run" (Starring Jen Ponton, Annaleigh Ashford and Frances Fisher).
Though the Chicago native spent his youth performing in the usual High School and Community theatre productions, his teen years were also about playing drums, writing songs and singing in punk/art-rock bands (Birdfeeder, Plane Rides for Five Minute Drives), playing all-ages shows alongside Cap’n Jazz, Friction, Gauge, and Braid. Several now-infamous hand-pressed cassette tapes were distributed from the garage-turned-practice space in his parents’ suburban home.
Kurt pursued a Degree in Classical Vocal Performance and Composition at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, world-renown for its focus on Choral music. Between traditional orchestration and theory classes, Kurt would jot down lyrics and play acoustic guitar in his dorm room. While on summer break in 1997, he recorded "The Cat Hair Chair", an album of quirky folk originals on his 4-track recorder.
Kurt chose NYU’s Steinhardt School for his Graduate work in Music Composition, studying with Dr. Justin Dello Joio. In Spring 2002, his 8-movement "Requiem" received a world premiere performance from NYU’s University Singers accompanied by a 23-person chamber orchestra. Upon hearing the piece, Luther College Choir Director Weston Noble proclaimed "Bravo! A gifted orchestrator". "Requiem" was later featured on NPR's "Theme and Variations."
Since receiving his M.A. in Music Composition, Kurt premiered new chamber works at Merkin Concert Hall, recorded his second self-released pop/rock record "Scribble Scrabble" and embarked on a 10-city tour with avant-garde Cellist/Composer Erik Friedlander. Kurt's work with Friedlander began as his assistant for the PBS documentary “The Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites”. Kurt has since worked with Erik on jingles, recording sessions and transcriptions.
Not long after, Kurt landed an internship at Man Made Music, a busy post-production house in Midtown. The experience tuned his ear to the very specific world of writing for television. In July of 2007, his theme for “Bizarre Foods” debuted on the Travel Channel. Additional themes include "The Governors Wife" (A&E) and "Family Values" (Pilot starring Rob Riggle). Kurt’s underscoring work has been heard on the “Martha Stewart Show” (NBC), "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" (TRAVEL) and “Bringing Home Baby” (TLC).
Since 2002, Kurt has been collaborating with book writer Will Brumley and composer/lyricist Brooke Fox on several musical theatre projects. In 2007, Kurt wrote the music and played guitar for “Williamsburg! The Musical”, which enjoyed a sold-out run at the Village Theatre for the NY International Fringe Festival. Frank Scheck of the NYPost hailed the shows “Witty Songs” and the show took home a Fringe NYC Overall Excellence Award for Music and Lyrics.