HI! I'M MELISSA
The short of it:
Melissa Orquiza is a musician and composer, obsessed with food, working primarily in film music and living in Los Angeles. When she's not thinking about food, music, and it's accoutrements, you'll find her binge watching TV with her family or attempting to get back on a surfboard. She plays the piano and cello. Thanks for stopping by!
For the more serious:
Johanna Melissa Disini Orquiza is a composer and musician who has worked on over 100 feature films and over 50 tv shows as an independent contractor in music preparation for Booker White, head of music preparation for Walt Disney Studios. Highlights include working on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, “Frozen”, “Moana", “Coco”, and “The Incredibles 2”. Most recently, she has worked on additional orchestration for “The Lion King" and the music prep for "Frozen 2" and "Soul." She has a song arranging credit in "McFarland, USA" and her music has appeared in motion picture advertising and reality shows such as "America's Next Top Model." Her first job was working in music licensing for 20th Century Fox under Ellen Ginsburg, working with mechanicals, syncs and royalties. She later worked as a music coordinator for The Ant Farm where she helped music supervise motion picture advertising.
She is a sponsor of Education Through Music Los Angeles which helps provide music education for underserved communities. Her grandmother was a widowed concert pianist who went back to rice farming to support her four children. She is a proponent of LAB, Los Angeles Baroque with music directors Lindsey Strand-Polyak & Alexa Haynes-Pilon and FASO, the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra, with maestro Robert Shroder, director Arlene Ferrolino, and composer Louie Ramos. She started piano lessons at the age of 3, wrote her first piece at the age of 8, and was runner up for the MTNA National composition contest at the age of 14. Her first synth was a Casio keyboard at 5 (thanks Dad!), a Kurzweil at 11, and a combination of Kurzweil, Roland, Yamaha and computer based synths in her teens. Both her parents are retired physicians: her mother was a pediatric oncologist and her father was a NIH scholar - a radiologist whose specialty was in nuclear medicine with both parents immigrating to the US during the 1970's due to a doctors' shortage. She decided to go into music instead of accepting her admission to Stanford (which horrified her family).
She received a Deans Scholarship to the University of Southern California and graduated with a degree in Music Composition with a specialty in Film Scoring. She holds a Master of the Arts in Music Composition from UCLA where she received the Elaine Krown Klein Scholarship. She is currently working on a clarinet concerto and orchestral inspirations based on Filipino culture.
Melissa Orquiza was named one of the most influential Filipinas in 2015 by FWN's Marily Mondejar, Gloria Caoile, and Thelma Boac due to her speech, "What Happened to the Filipino Composer?" (which you should check out on Youtube just to think about.) Her writing also appears in the organization's book, "Disrupt 2.0: Filipino Women: Daring to Lead" edited by Maria Africa Beebe.
She posts about life and laughter in her blog, #RockingintheBachhouse, where Food, Music, and Culture Collide. Please follow her on Instagram, Twitter, or FB.