Meet the Airwolf Composers

MEET the four Airwolf Composers graphic
Sylvester Levay composer photo

Sylvester Levay

Born: 16 May, 1945 - Vojvodina, Serbia

Sylvester Levay was the show's main composer on Airwolf producing 'that' iconic theme and was ultimately responsible for creating the lion's share of the episodic music on the show. Having the lion's share he created music for Airwolf's entire 1st Season, more than half of the 2nd Season and the middle half of the 3rd Season.

Born in Serbia, he currently lives outside Munich, Germany with his family, and nowadays works solely on German language musicals (such as 'Elisabeth', 'Rebecca' and 'Mozart!') with his long-term writing partner, Michael Kunze after finishing composing film and television soundtracks around the turn of the Millennium. He would be considered in the same league as Andrew Lloyd Webber but for German language musicals.

Sylvester Levay has worked with many famous people from Elton John to Sylvester Stallone and composed soundtracks for movies like 'Cobra' (1986); 'Cat People' (1982), 'Hot Shots!' (1991), 'Navy Seals' (1990), 'Mannequin' (1987), 'Burglar' (1987), 'Courage Mountain' (1990) as well as being the arranger on 'Scarface' (1983) and 'Flashdance' (1983).

'Airwolf' (1984-1986) was Sylvester's first big "Hollywood" gig by his own admission, but he went on to write for a plethora of other TV shows and TV movies including: 'Time Bomb' (1984), 'Otherworld' (1985), 'Annihilator' (1986), 'Werewolf' (1987), 'Three O'Clock High' (1987), 'Probe' (1988), 'Hardball' (1989) and 'Medicopter 117' (1998-2007).

Airwolf Themes 2CD soundtrack contains a 20-page interview with Sylvester Levay.

Udi Harpaz composer photo

Udi Harpaz

Born: 13 March, 1952 – Tel Aviv, Israel

Israeli-born composer and Conductor, Udi Harpaz was brought in by Airwolf's Associate Producer, Carol Gillson after mid-2nd Season episode, 'NATURAL BORN' and continued composing episodic music for the show right through to early 3rd Season with 'CROSSOVER' when Sylvester Levay came back on board for weekly duties.

Having worked with orchestrating and composing on 'Turbo Teen' (1983) and 'Knight Rider' (1983) and other popular animated shows such as 'The Centurions' (1985) in the mid-80s before 'Airwolf' (1985), his work since then has included 30+ generic themed "symphonic" CDs that can be licensed for a range of productions and genres including having been used on 'Oprah', 'America's Got Talent', 'Dancing With The Stars', TV adverts and other ways; as well as composing many stage shows including the acclaimed 'Masada' (which he conducted the Moscow Symphony Orchestra to create over a two-week gig), 'WOW - Black Light Theatre in Prague' (2002), 'Aladdin' (1998), 'Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves' (2003) and 'Night of the Sultans' (2004) amongst others.

Airwolf Extended Themes 2CD soundtrack contains a 24-page interview with Udi Harpaz.

Ian Freebairn-Smith composer photo

Ian Freebairn-Smith

Born: 4 March, 1932, Seattle, USA
(his parents were both British though)

Ian began work as a singer in a group, then starting arranging music for choirs, orchestra and eventually for TV and films. Winning a prestigious Grammy Award for 'Evergreen' with Barbra Streisand, he worked on 'Magnum, P.I.' for Belisarius Productions before coming onto 'Airwolf' briefly for just the first two episodes of the 2nd Season whilst Sylvester had other work commitments, with a rocked-up Emerson, Lake & Palmer-style fanfare approach to the synth-based music for 'SWEET BRITCHES' (1984) - who can forget that awesome final aerial? - and 'FIRESTORM' (1984) before Sylvester Levay returned to the 2nd Season for a while with 'MOFFETT'S GHOST' (1984).

Ian's music is distinctive due to his favouring late 70s & early 80s synth sounds instead of the lush mid-80s synth pads by the other composers on the show.

Plus his version of the Airwolf Main Theme only contained Bass & Drums, and not the distinctive helicopter-esque 12-note Bass Melody written by Sylvester Levay.

Bernardo Segall composer photo

Bernardo Segáll

Born: 4 August, 1911 - Campinas, Brazil
Died: 26 November, 1993 - Los Angeles, USA

The Brazilian pianist, Bernardo Segáll, emigrated to the USA in his twenties, married an American dancer, and made his living writing music for musicals and movie soundtracks in Hollywood. He is almost forgotten in both Brazil and the USA.

Bernardo Segáll was a very good Bach pianist. He composed music for the soundtracks of the movies: 'The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery' (1960), 'The Luck of Ginger Coffey' (1964), 'Custer Of The West' (1967), 'Loving' (1970), 'Night Slaves' (1970), 'The Jesus Trip' (1971), 'El jardín de tía Isabel' (1971), 'Moon of the Wolf' (1972), 'The Girl Most Likely To' (1973), 'Homebodies' (1974), 'Murder By Mail' (1980), 'Turn Over Smith' (1980), 'New Adventures Of Pipi Longstocking' (1987)