SAE Institute Chicago Audio Technology Program Instructor Jon Pierre is the composer of the music score for the documentary film “Lakay”, which opened in select markets around the U.S. in October ’14. “Lakay”, which received five star reviews from HollywoodChicago.com and film fan site Fandango.com, is the story of two U.S. immigrant brothers – and filmmakers – who return to their native Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
“Because I’m Haitian, the film was very emotional for me to score,” says Pierre, who’s a winner of multiple Telly Awards for his compositions. “I wanted all audiences to connect to the images on the screen, so I chose a melodic palette that most people could relate to while trying to tell the story with the music. That’s my job as a composer: to serve the film.”
Pierre was born and raised in the north suburbs, south suburbs, and downtown of Chicago. His family was musical: his father taught himself to play guitar while he was growing up in Haiti, and both of Pierre’s siblings play a variety of instruments (Pierre plays saxophone, drums, bass guitar, and keyboards). He played in the wind ensemble, jazz band, and marching band of Illiana Christian High School in Lansing, IL and graduated in 1999.
In 2000 he entered University of Illinois as a computer science and math major, and in his spare time composed music in his dorm room. Realizing that music was his true calling, he changed his major to music composition and enrolled at Columbia College in Chicago. During his first semester, he was hired as a composer and producer in training at Dupee Productions, one of Chicago’s top music production companies, where he worked with artists on Hidden Beach/Sony Music including Darius Rucker, Jill Scott, and Kindred the Family Soul. After graduating Columbia College with a degree in Music Composition in 2004, he left Dupee and started Jon Pierre Music, where he’s been producing independent records and scoring full-length feature films and documentaries, video games, TV commercials and promos, and movie trailers.
When SAE Chicago opened in 2011, Pierre applied for an opening as a part-time instructor. Having worked at the school for over three years, he holds the SAE Audio Technology Program’s curriculum, as well as the quality of SAE’s students, in high regard.
“SAE’s winning philosophy on creative media education is reflected by the quality of equipment and award-winning faculty that they provide to their students,” says Pierre, whose music has been featured in Fox TV’s “So You Think You can Dance?”, “American Idol”, and over 100 other TV programs. “I’ve taught at other schools, and SAE’s facilities, instructors, and resources surpass them all by a long shot. SAE’s students are the best because the majority of them know what they want to do, they’re very focused, and they’re ready to work hard when they get here. They love challenges and want to use the opportunity that SAE is giving them to gain as much experience as possible. This makes it a pleasure to teach them.”
Currently, Pierre is developing a library of EDM, R&B, and hip hop tracks, as well as orchestral cues and trailers, for licensing. He’s also working on a pop project for an actress who was formerly a star on the Disney Channel.
“My advice to SAE students who are interested in pursuing work as film composers would be to start right now,” says Pierre. “Get your hands on any film scoring projects that you can find. At the beginning, you’ll most likely score student films for free, but that’s okay because you’ll be developing your skills so they can be showcased later. Start building a solid network of people in any area of the film industry and try not to burn bridges. Don’t be afraid to move to the West Coast so you can assist film composers out there, especially big name ones if you can manage to track them down and convince them to give you a shot. Most importantly, be humble, work hard, hone your craft, and everything will turn out just fine.”
SAE Institute provides aspiring creative media professionals with a foundation of practical theory and valuable hands-on training in their chosen areas of concentration. Under the guidance of our faculty, which is comprised of working industry professionals, students gain the essential experience they need for entry-level jobs in the entertainment business. Our students are supported in their job searches by SAE’s international network of alumni, many of whom are leaders in the music, film, game arts, and live performance arenas. We offer programs in audio technology across our seven US campuses, along with a music business program at select locations, all fully accredited and focused on preparing students for employment when they graduate. Bachelor’s Degree programs in Animation, Audio, Film, Game Art & Graphic Design are available at the two locations of Ex’pression College, which is owned and operated by SAE Institute Group, Inc. SAE Institute Group, Inc. is a part of Navitas LTD. Learn more at USA.sae.edu.
Navitas is an Australian global education leader, providing pre-university and university programs, English language courses, migrant education and settlement services, creative media education, student recruitment, professional development, and corporate training services to more than 80,000 students across a network of over 100 colleges and campuses in 27 countries. Learn more at Navitas.com.