Louis F. (Lou) Natale
January 5, 1950 – March 31, 2019
Lou Natale’s musical life began with listening to his eldest sister, Mary, playing classics and popular standards at the living room piano, followed by his own piano studies at age 8, adding accordion at 12 and guitar and percussion in his teens, when he began writing songs and singing and playing in local bands.
Lou is a graduate of McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, N.Y. and St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. After university, he studied under Darwin Aitken, one of Canada’s premier symphonic piano teachers, and jazz theory and composition with saxophonist/band leader Ted Moses.
Lou entered the world of film scoring in the early 1980s when asked by a friend, screenwriter Steve Lucas, if he had ever thought of composing for film. Lucas knew Lou as a songwriter and had just had a script accepted by the then fledgling Atlantis Films. After meeting with Atlantis co-founders Seaton McLean, Janice Platt and Michael MacMillan, Lou began work on the short film The Bamboo Brush, directed by a young Sturla Gunnarsson. The next film Atlantis produced was an adaptation of the Alice Munro story, Boys and Girls. Natale was hired to score under the direction of Don McBrearty, and the film went on to win the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. Atlantis was on its way, as was a 20+ year successful composer – producer relationship between Natale, McLean, Platt and MacMillan.
Lou founded Natale Music Inc. in 1981. Since then, he has garnered a Genie Award for Best Song (“Cowboys Don’t Cry,” directed by Anne Wheeler), six Gemini nominations, and has scored many other award-winning shows, including Atlantis Films’ Oscar winner Boys & Girls (1984) and the classic A Child’s Christmas in Wales, narrated by Denholm Elliot. One of North America’s most versatile film composers, Lou’s other credits include the Canadian series Traders, Blue Murder, PSI Factor, Ray Bradbury Theatre, and The Twilight Zone (1988), the U.S. series Mutant X, Playmakers and Tilt, as well as many television movies and feature films, including Eugene Levy’s Sodbusters, the CBS thriller Adrift (Christian DuGuay, director), ABC’s To Brave Alaska, with Alyssa Milano, Madonna: Innocence Lost for Fox, NBC’s Journey Into Darkness: The Bruce Curtis Story and Christmas in America (featuring country/pop singer Kenny Rogers), Showtime’s reworking of the Kurt Vonnegut classic, Harrison Bergeron (starring Sean Astin and Christopher Plummer), ESPN’s Hustle: The Pete Rose Story directed by veteran Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon), and most recently, CTV’s The Horses of McBride, directed by Anne Wheeler and starring Aidan Quinn.