Longtime “Simpsons” Composer Alf Clausen Fired After 27 Years

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Composer Alf Clausen, who did music for The Simpsons for 27 years and won two Emmys for his work, was suddenly fired recently. Clausen told Variety that he got a call from Simpsons producer Richard Sakai that his services would no longer be needed, and that they were going with “a different kind of music.”

This is pretty shocking stuff if you are a Simpsons fan. Clausen’s work—along with his 35-piece orchestra—really defined the long-running animated series. You can get a good taste of that in the 1997 album Songs In The Key Of Springfield, which features a variety of Clausen’s diverse compositions for the show.

For Clausen to get so summarily shit-canned after 27 years and 23 Emmy noms is kind of disheartening, though the Variety article indicates there are rumors of budgetary cuts for the series. Maybe it was as simple as the producers not wanting to pony up for a 35-piece orchestra.

But perhaps the move reflects a general downward spiral for the beloved series that might have started many seasons ago. In the video essay “The Fall of The Simpsons: How it Happened,” it is suggested that the quality of the show possibly dipped as far back as the Season 9 episode “The Principal and the Pauper,” in which it is revealed that core Simpsonverse character Principal Skinner was living a lie. YouTuber Super Eyepatch Wolf links this to an exodus of key staff in the show around the same time period.

As for Clausen, his last complete score for The Simpsons aired at the end of Season 28; it is unclear who will be scoring the upcoming new season.

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