Franck Sarkissian

Composer / Arranger / Orchestrator

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Paris….the year 1968 … the age 7 …..the trigger….. hearing “Bossa Nova”, a blending of samba and cool jazz popularized in the early 1960’s … here was young Franck mesmerized by the fascinating sounds of Tom Jobim (of Girl from Ipanema fame) and Joao Gilberto. Granted he was also weaned on jazz, pop and classical (thanks to his parents), however it was the distinctive rhythm of bossa nova that triggered falling in love with the sound of the guitar. 

Franck’s eclectic musical journey started formally at the age of 7 with classical guitar and during his youth Franck was privy to the best traditional classical training offered in Paris where his passion grew for the great masters… Bach, Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky. At the Conservatoire National de Région in Paris (CNR), with a comprehensive musical training in solfege, harmony, analysis and piano as a second instrument, he earned diplomas in Guitar and Harmony. Following, he was accepted to the prestigious Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (CNSM) in the writing classes (Harmony, Counterpoint and Fugue) with an intense study of the styles from Bach (baroque) to Schoenberg (dodecaphonism).

In parallel Franck was composing and arranging for Big Bands, classical and jazz ensembles and gigging at a slew of Jazz venues in Paris where he was an insider at a host of bars and clubs such as Le Petit Journal, Sunset, Duc des Lombards and others…. As an entertainer he could master the guitar, piano, bass, and vocals performing his own compositions as well as Brazilian and Jazz standards.

At 25, a respite from intensive studies in Paris took him the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, world renown for unique training in jazz and film music. Franck’s intent was the four-year degree program but this was foiled upon his arrival during the placement level audition by the Chairman of the Arranging Department Bob Freedman. He was so impressed with Franck’s audition and composing capabilities he fast tracked him to 4th year level courses. Bob challenged this young talent to compose, arrange and conduct a piece for the Berklee Recording Orchestra (BRO), the signature band composed of 24 exceptional and seasoned (4th year) students. The separate parts for each musician were penned and flew off his desk with the performance of an original Brazilian Jazz composition one week later.

Highlights from this memorable year for Franck was coursework in analyzing the psychology and musical-emotional relationships in the Hollywood films. Another skill honed at Berklee was mastering quick turnarounds, handling pressure and meeting deadlines. In addition to the demanding coursework, many were the requests from colleagues (talents from across the globe) to play in their bands, write, compose, arrange….. fill in their project/talent gaps.

Following the one year at Berklee, Franck returned to Paris, wrapped up his formal classical studies and parlayed back to composing, arranging and gigging. In parallel, Franck dived into a major project, the culmination of his long time admiration, borderline obsession, for Arnold Schoenberg who developed the twelve-tone technique and brought a wider vision of tonal music. His method of music composition influenced many 20th century composers and Franck who was enlightened at 10 when he discovered this new dimension. He embarked on a 2 year project of research, study, analysis on incorporating this broader vision of tonality to different musical languages and improvisation.  A book could be in the pipeline.

In addition, with a desire to share his knowledge, Franck taught harmony and composition at a Music Conservatory near Paris, where he conducted an Ensemble Class for advanced students focusing on performance and improvisation in jazz and modern music.

Initially reluctant to take on something regular that might take him away from his new found structure-free lifestyle he took on a 6-month contract, that ended up being a 3 year stint, at the Paradis Latin, the world famous cabaret and burlesque show. Franck arranged and conducted the band, also performed and sang standards in different languages for the international audience.

Moving into the 21st Century Franck found an ideal environment for his versatility, quickness and talent composing and producing for Kosinus. Regarded around the world as a creative, distinctive and highly effective production music catalogue, Kosinus, developed under the skillful hand of the producer Eric Mallet, creates, produces, and licenses music for use in film, TV, advertising and broadcast. Since 2009, the label is under the umbrella of Universal Music