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Longtime 'Simpsons' composer Alf Clausen, who grew up in ND, fired after 27 years

Jamestown native Alf Clausen will no longer be composing the music for "The Simpsons" after 27 years with the show. Forum file photo

When the 29th season of "The Simpsons" premieres in the fall, it will, for the first time in decades, be doing so without its longtime musical contributor, Alf Clausen.

Clausen, who composed the Fox animated show's incidental music, was told that the show was looking for "a different kind of music" moving forward, according to Variety.

Clausen confirmed his firing via Twitter.

Clausen was born in Minneapolis but raised in Jamestown, where he attended high school, according to a 2012 Forum article. He studied music theory at North Dakota State University and earned a degree in arranging composition from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

The composer's orchestral scores supported the family's foibles since the show's primitively drawn early days. And although "The Simpsons" theme song was penned by Danny Elfman, the sonic feel of the series has been defined by Clausen's grandiose, often epic productions.

He's responsible for scoring Mr. Burns' breakout "See My Vest" moment and crafted the tunes for the Springfield musical theater company's "A Streetcar Named Desire" adaptation. Ditto "The Planet of the Apes" musical.

In short, nearly every classic music moment of "The Simpsons" has featured Clausen's fingerprints.

On Twitter, fans thanked Clausen for his work while expressing outrage at the circumstances surrounding his departure. "Fired over the phone, yet," wrote one user.

Clausen quickly corrected him with a one-word reply: "Email ..."

On Aug. 31, producers for "The Simpsons" issued a statement to Variety. It stressed that Clausen will continue to contribute to the series:

"We tremendously value Alf Clausen's contributions to 'The Simpsons' and he will continue to have an ongoing role in the show. We remain committed to the finest in music for 'The Simpsons,' absolutely including orchestral."

The statement concluded: "This is the part where we would make a joke but neither Alf's work nor the music of 'The Simpsons' is treated as anything but seriously by us."

Clausen earned two Primetime Emmy Awards and five Annie Awards for his work, according to the Forum article. In 2011, he earned a Golden Note Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Forum staff reports contributed to this article.

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