Gatton Alumnus Combines Creativity, Business Basics in Career as Composer

There is one lesson University of Kentucky alumnus A.J. Hochhalter has learned in his career as a Lexington-based film producer and composer that sticks out more than anything else.

"You're never going to do anything great when you're comfortable," Hochhalter said.

That philosophy, which he believes began while he was a UK student, launched his career as a music composer.

"That scenario that was set up in college," said Hochhalter, a graduate of UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics. "With the freedom to be a business major, but also be interested and active in other things, helped me become a composer who knows business that is now trying to get into other things. I could do intramurals and do random classes, and scuba diving. I was able to have the time to try a lot of stuff and if I didn't have that opportunity, I don't think I'd be as confident now, doing what I do, trying things in my career that I wouldn't normally try."

In fact, that inclination led to a surprise in 2016, when a documentary he composed music for, "Body Team 12," was nominated for an Academy Award! 

We recently chatted with the Louisville, Kentucky, native about what it was like to be nominated for an Oscar and how his UK experience prepared him for a career that would blend business experience with his natural creativity.  

Click to read more about A.J. Hochhalter, and see a video about his story.