Laura Karpman

Oscar nominated, five-time Emmy award winning composer Laura Karpman creates powerful, imaginative scores that push the boundaries of storytelling. Her bold, incandescent works span film, television, theater, interactive media and live performance, reflecting an audaciously creative, prodigious fresh spirit. Karpman collaborates with some of the most renowned filmmakers of our time, including Eleanor, Francis Ford and Sofia Coppola, Cord Jefferson, Nia DaCosta, Alex Gibney, Misha Green, Rory Kennedy, Kasi Lemmons, Laura Nix, Sam Pollard and Steven Spielberg.

2023 was perhaps her most prolific year to date, with six film and TV projects alone - American Fiction (Amazon MGM), starring Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown, written, directed and produced by Cord Jefferson, which has garnered five Oscar nominations including Best Picture, and for which Karpman has received her first Oscar nomination for her original score, The Marvels (Disney), Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed (Max), What If? (Disney+), Ms. Marvel (Disney+), and 61st Street (The CW). 2024 promises season 3 of What If?, two unannounced video game projects, and a musical based on Dorothy Arzner’s MGM film, Dance Girl Dance. Concert music premieres include the world premiere performance of BALLS, an opera chronicling Billie Jean King’s epic 1973 “Battle of the Sexes”' tennis match, with words by New York Times writer Gail Collins, and a commissioned work for the Juilliard School. Karpman was proud to have her theme from The Marvels performed at closing night of the BBC Proms.

Karpman’s scores span HBO’s acclaimed hit Lovecraft Country, the Oscar-nominated feature film Walk Run Cha-Cha and the docuseries Why We Hate. Other recent work includes Miss Virginia, Set It Up, Paris Can Wait, The Cotton Club Encore, Step, Black Nativity, Underground, LA’s Finest and the Peabody Award-winning series Craft in America. Karpman has recently received two additional Emmy nominations for Ms. Marvel, and won an HMMA award for The Marvels. For her American Fiction score, to date she has received Academy Award, SCL, NAACP Image Award, and HMMA nominations, as well as inclusion in the 2024 BAFTA Longlist.

Other awards include a 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award from She Rocks, a Critics’ Choice Award for her song “Jump” (from the film Step), co-written with frequent collaborators Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson, sung by Cynthia Erivo. Her animated work includes Sitara, directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, executive produced by Darla Anderson and Gloria Steinem, and her Annie-nominated score for Monkey’s Tale. Her celebrated scores for interactive media and blockbuster video games include Guardians of Middle Earth, Everquest 2, Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, Kung Fu Panda 2, Project Spark and Kinect Disneyland Adventures.

Across concert halls, Karpman is well known for her Grammy Award-winning album, “Ask Your Mama,” a multimedia opera based on the iconic cycle of poems by renowned author Langston Hughes. For this Carnegie Hall commission, Karpman collaborated with The Roots, soprano Jessye Norman, performer De’Andre Aziza, and jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon. Other notable works include “All American,” commissioned and performed by The Los Angeles Philharmonic

at the Hollywood Bowl; “Brass Ceiling,” commissioned and recorded by the U.S. Army Band; “And Still We Dream,” commissioned by Lyric Opera of Kansas City, honoring 100 years of suffrage; “Wilde Tales,” commissioned by Glimmerglass Festival, and a pandemic opera for Opera Theatre of St. Louis with libretto by Taura Stinson & Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum.

Karpman is a fierce champion for DEI in Hollywood. After founding the Alliance for Women Film Composers, she was elected the first female Governor in the Music Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. During her two consecutive three-year terms, she implemented sweeping change, facilitating the admission of dozens of underrepresented voices, co-founded the Academy Women’s Initiative, co-chaired the LGBTQ+ Affinity Group, helped to create the Code of Conduct, and updated the bylaws with more inclusive, representative language. Her leadership in creating opportunity and advocating for inclusion is unparalleled.

Karpman was an advisor for the Sundance Film Institute and was on the faculty of the USC Film Scoring Program. She received a doctorate from The Juilliard School, where she studied with 20th century icon Milton Babbitt.

She lives and works in Los Angeles with her wife, composer Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum, their son and two dogs.