Kris Bowers | Photo by Molly Cranna

You heard his piano-playing in last year’s Green Book — those were actually his hands whenever you saw Don Shirley’s hands onscreen. He also wrote the score. Now, composer Kris Bowers is taking on an even more serious, real-life subject: the tragic story of five teenagers wrongfully convicted of a rape in Central Park in 1989. Contributing reporter Tim Greiving visited Bowers at his studio.

Hit play below to listen to our extended interview with Kris Bowers.


Ava DuVernay’s new Netflix miniseries used to be called Central Park Five, which is what the five innocent boys—all black or brown—were dubbed by the media. Now, it’s called When They See Us, which urges us as viewers to see them as human beings and individuals, not as a pack forever attached to a crime. To that end, Kris Bowers—a classically trained jazz pianist and composer who grew up here in Mid City, L.A.—made the score… personal.

When They See Us, a four-part series written and directed by Ava DuVernay, with an original score by Kris Bowers, is now available on Netflix.