Celebrating the mighty orchestral soundtrack of Hollywood (and its 21 feet of tubing)

Written by
Musician and filmmaker Annie Bosler at the Colburn School, where she lives and teaches
Musician and filmmaker Annie Bosler at the Colburn School, where she lives and teaches (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Annie Bosler is living the dream. She’s a resident and teacher at the prestigious Colburn School downtown; she’s played with the likes of Paul McCartney, John Williams, and Josh Groban; and now she’s putting the finishing touches on a documentary, a decade in the making, about her life-long passion: the twisty wind instrument with 21-feet of tubing known as the French horn.

Bosler was raised on a cattle farm in South Carolina. She came to Los Angeles over a decade ago to study at USC, where she earned her master’s and doctorate in the instrument that’s consumed her ever since. (She even married a French horn player.)

Her film chronicles some of the great players of the instrument who have helped provide the soundtrack for countless Hollywood movies. It’s called “1M1: Hollywood Horns of the Golden Years.” What, we asked, does that first part of her title mean?

“If you’ve ever been to a studio session, they title the films with numbers and letters. The first number goes with the reel of the film, the letter M stands for music and the following number stands for the scene,” she explained as we talked on the third floor of the residence dorm at The Colburn School. “You get three shots to record. When it all goes very well, it’s one of the most thrilling experiences ever.”

The first meeting of the LA Horn Club

Bosler marvels at the golden age of Hollywood, when film soundtracks were recorded with one microphone. “They didn’t have the technology we have today to edit. If someone messed up, you had to go back and do it again. In today’s world, we have a lot more that helps us out within the editing process—striping. They’ll record the strings, the brass, and then they’re ready to move on.”

Bosler wanted to document the stories of the people, many of whom have been her teachers, who make up this distinctive part of Hollywood history. And to celebrate her instrument. “The average moviegoer, if they see 1M1, they walk away with, ‘Wow, now I know what a French horn sounds like.'”