Emmy Award-nominated Canadian composer Robert Duncan is always on the hunt for sounds with personality. On any given day he is tinkering away in his studio searching through his trove of musical oddities, global instruments, deconstructed pianos and industrial salvage, metal brushes, a hot rod exhaust pipe, a fire extinguisher, and many other odds and ends to find something that can add a fresh sonic identity to a score. He was honored by the Television Academy with a fourth Emmy nomination in 2016 for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for his work on Whispers for Amblin Television.
For all eight seasons of ABC’s hit series, Castle, Duncan delivered new and unique musical compositions to the show. During that time he received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score).
In 2013, Duncan scored the Sony/ABC series The Last Resort, a sweeping action thriller about the crew of a U.S. nuclear submarine who become fugitives after refusing to fire their nuclear missiles. In creating the show’s musical palette, Duncan boarded a decommissioned Cold War era submarine in San Diego with his engineer and recorded experimental sounds to utilize within the score. He earned his third Emmy nomination for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score) for his work on the series
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Duncan grew up in a musical family and composed his first piece when he was a sixth-grader at the Claude Watson School of the Performing Arts. In an experimental music class, the 11-year-old Robert was encouraged to take apart and explore a piano in order to make new sounds. In high school, at age sixteen, his first job was scoring a promotional video for the local Board of Education. In addition to piano, he studied pipe-organ and trumpet before earning a degree in music composition from York University. After graduating, he apprenticed for five years with two composers and participated in the ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop before setting his sights on Hollywood.
Shortly after moving to California, Duncan was hired as series composer on the enduring fan-favorite hit series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (FOX/UPN). When that series ended, he composed music for Tru Calling (FOX), The Unit (FOX/CBS), Into the Blue 2: The Reef (MGM), Lie to Me (FOX), The Gates, (ABC), Terriers (FX), Chicago Code (FOX), The Family (ABC), Shattered (Lionsgate), The Entitled (Anchor Bay) and many others.
Fluent across genres, Duncan’s work has been performed by a diverse range of artists from Smashing Pumpkins front-man Billy Corgan to Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops.
Robert Duncan Music