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‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Rocks Awards Season

Recording Expert: Film Score Reveals Complexity of Queen’s Music

Brandon Vaccaro works with Vivek Patel '18 on the sound board Photo by Greg Mahan '18
Brandon Vaccaro, left, works with Vivek Patel '18 on the Sound Recording Technology Program's audio board.

02/13/2019

Contacts: Annmarie Seldon, 617-448-7416, Annmarie_Seldon@uml.edu or Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944, Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu
 
Fans have made the film “Bohemian Rhapsody” – the story of rock ‘n’ roll frontman Freddie Mercury and the band Queen – the most popular music biopic of all time, earning more than $608 million around the world to date. This awards season, the film snared Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards and is in the running for Best Picture and four other honors at this year’s Academy Awards presentation, to be held on Sunday, Feb. 24. 

Why is a new generation embracing Queen’s music and the movie? Brandon Vaccaro, a film-score expert and assistant teaching professor of music at UMass Lowell who coordinates the university’s sound recording technology program, says it’s a combination of Mercury’s undeniable presence and a well-produced film.

“With multiple songwriters in the band Queen, they covered a lot of musical ground,” he says. “The group was one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s and '80s. Mercury’s voice is instantly recognizable and indelibly stamped in the memory of anyone who listens to it.” 

From a sound perspective, Vaccaro says Mercury’s songs tend to draw on diverse influences and are musically complex. 

“There is a lyric quality to his melodies that makes the complexity feel effortless, the shifts in genre and style are completely natural and intrinsic to the song,” Vaccaro says.

The film’s popularity stems in part from its production quality and a brilliant performance from actor Rami Malek as Mercury, according to Vaccaro. 

“Roles in biographical dramas can be among the most challenging and demanding for actors and a strong performance in one tends to be well regarded in the industry,” Vaccaro says. “There is also a history of highly successful biographical films about popular music stars. In recent years, examples include ‘Ray,’ the story of musician Ray Charles, and ‘Walk the Line,’ about country star Johnny Cash. 

Vaccaro is available for interviews to discuss the impact and legacy of Queen’s music. To connect with him, contact Annmarie Seldon at 617-448-7416, Annmarie_Seldon@uml.edu or Nancy Cicco at 978-934-4944, Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu.

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 18,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe. www.uml.edu