ISB Alumni Paul Taro Schmidt ('17) Working on a New Swiss Feature Film

Paul Schmidt ('17) recently had the opportunity to work with composer Michael Künstle on his new Swiss feature film, “Jagdzeit”. He transcribed and orchestrated the composer's music, which they then recorded at London’s Air Studios with musicians from the London Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra. We interviewed Paul recently to learn about his musical journey so far, and to hear his plans for the future.

When did you become interested in music?

Both of my parents are musicians, so music has always been part of my life. I was always fascinated with how my father played the violin.

What instruments do you play or what other things do you do within the music field?

I play the cello and the piano, and I’m involved in various musical activities. I conduct an orchestra called “Camerata Rhein” and we often perform new music. We recently premiered Leonard Bernstein’s Halil in Basel to mark his 100 year anniversary. I also play keyboards in an electro-pop band in Zürich. When I’m not performing, I usually compose music for theatre or for film.

How did you become involved with transcribing and orchestrating the music for the Swiss feature film?

The film is called “Jagdzeit”, directed by Sabine Boss. I got involved with the film through the composer Michael Künstle. Michael taught me film music before I entered my university and ever since we’ve become best friends and worked on various projects together.

How did you work with the composer?

Michael spent around two months writing the music. He then sent me the Cubase file with all the cues for me to orchestrate. I spent around a week working on the music. Michael and I have very similar tastes and this definitely helps in a collaborative project because if we have similar views Michael would give me a significant amount of creative freedom with the orchestration.

How is Air Studios different to other recording studios?

Air is one of the only places that you can see the biggest names in Pop or Rock working alongside the orchestra recording the next Hollywood blockbuster. The sound in Air Studios is distinctive. It has a superb recording environment, where any sound played in the room makes it warm and bright. This quality is sought after by many film composers such as Hans Zimmer and John Powell, and for this reason Michael wanted to record his music in Air Studios.

What are your next music projects?

I’m currently working on two short films and a video game. I’m also orchestrating music for different composers here and there to gain experience. Next year I’m scheduled to write my 3rd ballet for the members of “The Flux Crew” whom I had the privilege to work with for the last 3 years.

Did you play in any bands or ensembles at ISB? Did ISB have an influence on the development of your interest in music?

I was part of the String Orchestra, Instant Orchestra, and the Musical band. My IB Music teacher Mr. Norris had a strong influence on my musical development. His attention to the smallest detail, and striving for the best result still inspires me to this day.

What are you doing now, and what are your plans for the next few years?

I am currently taking a double major in classical composition and film music composition at the Zürich University of the Arts. I don’t have any major plans, but at some point I am planning to go to LA to work and study with some of my mentors such as Nan Schwartz.

You can find out more about Paul at his website:

Thank you to Paul for sharing his story with the ISB community. We love to hear from our alumni. If you would like to share your alumni story, please email us at

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