William Kersten, born 1955, lives in Sparks, Nevada and is a composer and filmmaker. He studied orchestration and French horn with John Lenz at the University of Nevada, Reno, and has played horn in concert bands, chamber ensembles and orchestras in the Reno area, including the Reno Philharmonic, Reno Chamber Orchestra and Nevada Opera Orchestra conducted by Ted Puffer. His compositions include the "Romantic Symphony" for orchestra, "Earth and Paradise - Song-Cycle for Soprano and Orchestra" which was premiered by the Reno Chamber Orchestra in 1992 with Lori Trustman, soprano, and "Invocation and Ritual for Orchestra" first performed by the Nevada Festival Ballet Orchestra in 1997. In 2009 the Vienna Symphonic Library recorded his aria "Prospice," based on the poem by Robert Browning, with the Viennese tenor Ferdinand von Plettenberg, and the recording is now available on their website as an Official Demo of their sound library. His other compositions include symphonic poems and chamber works including "Shadows of the Soul - Nocturnes for Orchestra" using an ensemble of strings, harp and woodwinds, and "Chivalry - A Symphonic Fantasy" which is featured on the Vienna Symphonic Library website and is orchestrated for a large orchestra including pipe organ.


His interest in film and the stage has led him to write scores for productions at the Reno Little Theater and Bruka Theater, and he composed and recorded several individual pieces and two full albums of production music now available at Production Music Online. Recently he composed the analog-electronic score for George Stadnik's abstract film "Illusions of Time" which was shown in New York, 2013. In 2015 his alternate score for "The Wolfman" was given an Honoroable Mention in the Vienna Symphonic Library/Warner Music International Film Music Competition. For the re-release of his 1998 film "Disembodied" he recorded a completely new music score with the Vienna Symphonic Library which will soon be released as a soundtrack album.


Kersten began making films as a teenager using a Keystone Super 8mm camera. His first feature film, "Warped" was shot on Super 8mm in 1984 and was an ambitiouos science-fiction time travel story with special effects and an "Outer Limits"-inspired electronics lab rigged up in a borrowed room at the University of Nevada Reno Physics Department. He later made the 16mm feature "Remember Tomorrow," another tale of time travel, shooting with a Bolex camera in a rented warehouse and the streets of Reno. The film had an orchestral music score composed at the same time the film was being shot, and was recorded with a live orchestra of strings, harp, percussion and flute in an illegally borrowed room at the University of Nevada. "Remember Tomorrow" took several years to complete but was finally premiered at the Keystone Cinema at the MGM Grand Hotel in 1998. The music score is now being re-recorded for a possible soundtrack album release.


In 1998 Kersten wrote, directed and filmed the surreal comedy-horror-sci-fi film "Disembodied," partly inspired by the notorious 50s film "Daughter of Horror." It was shot with several Bolexes and a large unwieldy Auricon sound camera in a rented warehouse and some of the seediest alleys of Reno. The film was briefly distributed in the southern US and Japan, but then went underground after the distributor turned ouot to be a criminal organization. After a long while Kersten dug the negative rolls out of his garage, had it ttransfered to HD, edited it and replaced the soundtrack and the music score. Since then, "Disembodied" was an Official Selection oat the Bloody Horror International Film Festival 2016 and Film Festival 2016, and winner of Best Sci-Fi in the Madhouse Movies Film Festival 2017. It was recently re-released by Brink Vision Films and is now available on Blu-ray.


In 2006 Kersten began experimenting with "Lumia" - abstract video inspired by the ethereal, cosmic works of Thomas Wilfrid and Jordan Belson. This resulted in over 9 hours of digital HD video which has not yet been released. At that time he also began work on a stop-motion animated film "Metaphysical Toymaking," inspired partly by the paintings of De Chirico. An early version of this film was featured at the International Surrealist Film Festival and Zero Film Festival in Los Angeles 2010.


In 2017 he began production on a long-standing project, "Althyria," a feature length psychological mystery filmed in a low-key black and white style inspired by the subtle horror films of Val Lewton in the 1940s. Shot in 4k digital video, it has a music score composed for orchestra in the "Leitmotiof" style of the studio films of the 40s with a symphoonic development of separate themes for the various characters and situations. It was completed in 2018 and the premiere of the film was at Reno Little Theater on November 26, 2018. It is scheduled to be released by Brink Vision Films in 2019.

SMP Press Sheet Music

Vienna Symphonic Library

Production Music Online




Join the email list!