String arranger & composer for hire

One Man Orchestra is me, Carsten Altena, a music composer, string arranger and midi programmer from The Netherlands. I offer string arrangements and compositions any music producer, artist, band or composer can afford. The final product is performed by an authentic sounding virtual orchestra, optionally layered with live players for enhanced realism. If you want to hire a composer or string arranger, feel free to contact me!

Contact Carsten for a free quote

String arranger

I’m proud to have worked for successful pop/rock/metal/edm artists and bands from Holland and abroad in the past 10 years: Miss Montreal, Urfaust, Van Dik Hout, Paceshifters and DJ Alexander Brown to name a few. Most string arrangements you hear in the music player (“intimate strings”) are performed by high quality sampled strings VST’s that fool most listeners, sometimes layered by solo performances of real violin, viola or cello players. If you need professional session strings, contact me.

Epic music

One Man Orchestra has also produced bespoke “epic music”, inspired by soundtrack composers such as Hans Zimmer and John Williams or movie trailer music composers such as Two Steps From Hell and Clint Mansell. Often for metal acts such as Sinister, Urfaust, Izegrim, but also other genre acts such as industrial band Schwarzblut and Icelandic rock band Katla, I composed epic intro tracks for albums and live shows, or did orchestra arrangements for album tracks and remixes. If you need that “epic orchestral music” sound on your next music production, drop a line!

Virtual Orchestra

The “One Man Orchestra” is a virtual orchestra of the best virtual instruments on the market. I use orchestral VST brands such as Vienna Orchestra Library (VSL), Spitfire Audio, Embertone, Impact Soundworks, Soundiron and more. A big part of making the orchestra sound realistic is by knowing how to orchestrate, and how to idiomatically write for brass, strings, woodwinds, choir etcetera. As a midi orchestrator I’m always looking for ideas, studying scores by orchestrators such as Conrad Pope (John Williams, James Newton Howard) or André Caplet (Debussy).

How I work

  1. Contact me with a short briefing outlining the project goal. If possible, email me an mp3, MusicXML or midi file of your track, and examples of other artists as inspiration.
  2. If I can help you, we can do a Skype/Hangout call or stick to e-mail, whichever you prefer. We’ll define the scope of the project and I will give you a fixed price.
  3.  After you agree I will start working as soon as possible and send you the first mockup(s), you give your feedback, and we’ll iterate this process untill we’re both happy.
  4. When you’re happy, I’m happy; I’ll send you an invoice and of course high quality stems and other deliverables we’ve defined for the project.


The price I charge depends on the scale of the project.

  • String arrangements: for a typical pop/rock song on average $400,–. Deliverables are stems of the arrangement. For a small fee you can get the midi, notation or musicXML files  (cleaning up the sequence and making sure notation is OK takes a little time).
  • Hiring professional string player(s): depends on the player, but usually at least $75,– per track per player. The recordings can be used as a layer on top of the samples or on its on. For a typical pop string arrangement, it can be enough to just have 1 real player (for instance violin or cello) to make the production sound 100% real. But even without a real player you can get very realistic results. It depends on the song and mix.
  • Epic music: intros or longer tracks range from $500,– to $1500,– or more (depends on the length of the track).
  • Midi mockup programmer jobs: totally depends on what you want. Contact me

Carsten Altena, string arranger