Chris Ledesma, who served as music editor of The Simpsons for decades, has died at the age of 64. His passing was announced with a tribute card at the end of last night’s episode, “My Life as a Vlog.”
Ledesma had worked on The Simpsons from the start of the show until his retirement last May, working closely alongside the show’s longtime composer Alf Clausen. According to Wikisimpsons, he is credited on 735 episodes, along with the Disney shorts and the soundtracks.
In 2011, he launched a blog, Simpsons Music 500, where he provided a behind-the-scenes look at the show. There, he’d delve into production minutiae, such as this post about music spotting or this one about scoring sessions, becoming an invaluable resource for fans. He also used the blog to regularly answer Simpsons fans’ questions about music cues, and this generosity extended to his Twitter account. I recall he did a livestream prior to scoring session at least once, where he highlighted some of the players in the orchestra, although it doesn’t appear to be archived anywhere.
Writer/producer Carolyn Omine eulogized him in a tweet: “Chris Ledesma was a sweet man who loved his job and was really, really good at it. We miss him.”
UPDATE (1/5/2023): Updated to add more praise from the crew.
Showrunner Al Jean: A wonderful, hard working, very talented man who will be missed by all he knew.”
Showrunner Matt Selman: “Chris Ledesma poured his heart and soul into crafting the musical language of The Simpsons. Chris imbued every episode of the show over 33 seasons with his deep knowledge and even deeper passion for the music which has become a part of so many peoples’ lives.”
Former showrunner Josh Weinstein: “Chris Ledesma was one of the kindest, mega-talented people working on a crew full of kind, mega-talented people. I hadn’t worked with him in a while but his friendliness over twitter these last few years was truly felt.”
Jack Schaefer, Ledesma’s successor as music editor: “Chris Ledesma’s passion for music and for The Simpsons was an inspiration. I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with him this year. He was a great mentor and a genuine person.”
Former writer Ian Maxtone-Graham: “I worked closely with Chris and Alf Clausen on many Simpsons episodes, especially my later ones. Lots of late nights on the scoring and dub stages. A huge musical talent, great patience and skill as a voice director, a wonderful guy.”
Supervising director David Silverman: “We will all miss Chris Ledesma so very much. A terrific and wonderful guy who was terrific and wonderful at his job. A solid musician and music editor. Great conductor too. A real loss for all…”