The Simpsons might sound a little different when the Fox cartoon returns for Season 29 this fall.
Alf Clausen, who’s served as The Simpsons‘ musical composer for 27 years, has been fired, according to our sister site Variety. Clausen tells Variety he received a call from producer Richard Sakai, who told him the show was looking for “a different kind of music.”
The producers of The Simpsons provided the following statement to Deadline regarding Clausen’s departure: “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. 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 has been composing music for The Simpsons since 1990, making his debut in Season 2’s first-ever “Treehouse of Horror.” Virtually ever song and piece of music heard on The Simpsons since then is Clausen’s work, from background instrumentals to memorable songs like Season 5’s “Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart?” Season 6’s “We Do (The Stonecutters Song)” and the soundtrack to Troy McClure’s Planet of the Apes musical in Season 8. (Clausen won a pair of Emmys in 1997 and 1998 for his Simpsons musical compositions.)
So why fire Clausen now? It’s speculated that the move may be part of a larger cost-cutting effort at The Simpsons. (Clausen did use a 35-piece orchestra to perform the score for each Simpsons episode.) But don’t worry: The iconic Simpsons theme song should be staying put. That was composed by Danny Elfman, not Clausen.