New Israeli citizen Lena Glikson takes home music editing Emmy for ‘Stranger Things’

Glikson was ultimately surprised to win the Emmy as part of the Stranger Things team, but for her, it’s the validation of all her efforts in her career.

 ‘IT’S THE most significant award a music editor can ever win,’ says Lena Glikson (photo credit: ECE MUNIROGLU)
‘IT’S THE most significant award a music editor can ever win,’ says Lena Glikson
(photo credit: ECE MUNIROGLU)

Lena Glikson has had her name attached to a number of successful projects over the years, but the Russian-born Jewish film music editor can now claim two other accomplishments: An Emmy award and Israeli citizenship.

Glikson took home her Emmy on September 4 for “Outstanding Sound Editing For A Comedy Or Drama Series” in season 4 of the Netflix series Stranger Things

In her capacity working on the Duffer brothers-directed sci-fi smash hit, Glikson was behind cutting and remixing the 1985 song “Running up that Hill” by British singer Kate Bush.

As a result of her work, the 80s-era song experienced an unprecedented resurgence in popularity, bringing it right back up to the top of the charts around the world.

In particular, the song’s use in Stranger Things received high praise for its use throughout the season, in particular in two key scenes in Episode 4 and Episode 9.

Blending music and imagery

Glikson herself considers the use of the song in Episode 9 as a prime example of the blending of music and imagery to enhance one another.

My job is to build and sculpt the piece of music to the scene, to emphasize all the important events that are happening,” she recalled. “When I showed it to the Duffer brothers, they were amazed and super excited and asked me to get a version out to Kate Bush immediately.”

The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018.  (credit: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON/FILE PHOTO)The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. (credit: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON/FILE PHOTO)

This is fortunate as throughout much of the production it wasn’t clear if Bush would even let them use the song at all. Indeed, the singer rarely gives permission to use her music.

“When we were working on Season 4, we didn’t quite know if Kate would approve of it or anything,” Glikson explained. “We knew we had to be careful to make sure we would get the rights and we wanted to impress her.”

But luckily, it worked. Something helped in no small part by how impressed Bush was with the work and with Bush already being a fan of Stranger Things from the start.

But Glikson had no idea just how much of a hit this new version of “Running up that Hill” would become.

“I understood the significance but I never could have imagined how popular it would become,” she recalled.

Emmy win a validation of efforts, Glikson says

GLIKSON WAS ultimately surprised to win the Emmy as part of the Stranger Things team, but for her, it’s the validation of all her efforts in her career.

“It’s the most significant award a music editor can ever win,” she explained. “As a person who spends pretty much all their life at work, it’s very nice because it’s recognition of the time and effort you put into what you do.”

Glikson has been in the industry for years, after studying music editing at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and being classically trained back in her hometown of Voronezh, Russia. Afterward, she would get an internship with music editor Nick South, who became her mentor.

Throughout her career, Glickson has worked on a number of hit projects. These include The Suicide Squad, Ad Astra, King Richard, Joker and A Star is Born. The latter film, a musical, was especially significant as it allowed Glikson to combine two of her skill sets: Music editing and singing.

“I have a background in musicals,” Glikson explained. “I do a lot of on-camera lip sync and vocal work because I have a combination of musical editorial and singing skills.”

But after years of living and working in Hollywood, Glikson has now embarked on the next part of her journey: Becoming Israeli, having just made aliyah a few months ago.

For her, this is part of her journey to get back in touch with her Jewish roots, something she had been unable to do for many years while growing up in Russia.

“I always wanted to become a part of Israel,” Glikson said. “I always wanted to learn Hebrew. That’s what I’m doing right now. It wasn’t an easy decision but it’s important to know that there’s a place where you feel at home.”

Here, Glikson hopes to be able to break into the Israeli film industry, too, once her Hebrew improves enough to do so. But until then, she still has other upcoming projects.

One of these is Babylon, an upcoming film set to hit US theaters on December 25 and internationally on January 6. The film, directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, will depict the golden age of Jazz in the 1920s, as Hollywood begins to embrace talkies over silent films.

“Justin Hurwitz is the composer,” Glikson explained, referring to the Jewish-American film composer who also worked on other Chazelle films like La La Land. “It’s going to be a very exciting movie.”

The Emmy Awards took place overnight Monday night in Los Angeles.