Latest Articles

The Emmy race begins…

Friday, June 1st, 2018 at 10:30 am

It’s only a matter of weeks after Oscar season ends that Emmy season begins. I know, it’s hard to believe, but within the industry — especially the many publicists we deal with on a daily basis — the calendar year has become one long awards season. Still, Emmy season is a great way to catch… Read More

Powell, Franco honored at ASCAP screen awards

Thursday, May 24th, 2018 at 7:01 pm

Composers John Powell and Germaine Franco took top honors at this week’s ASCAP Screen Music Awards. Powell won the Henry Mancini award for lifetime achievement as a film composer (for such scores as How to Train Your Dragon, The Bourne Identity and Solo: A Star Wars Story), while Franco (songwriter for Coco, currently scoring TV’s… Read More

John Powell talks about his “Solo” score

Thursday, May 24th, 2018 at 1:59 pm

Composer John Powell, the much-respected Oscar nominee for How to Train Your Dragon (and such other delightful animated scores as Happy Feet, Rio and Ferdinand), reviewed the entire Solo: A Star Wars Story experience with me for this Variety story, which ran the day before the film opened. It’s a fascinating odyssey that involves collaboration… Read More

The R-rated “Deadpool 2” score

Thursday, May 17th, 2018 at 5:00 pm

According to the Sony Classical label which released it, the soundtrack album for Deadpool 2 is the first score soundtrack in history to be released with a “parental advisory” warning on its front cover. That alone was reason enough to check out the movie, the score and the album, and composer Tyler Bates was kind… Read More

John Williams accepts top BMI award

Thursday, May 10th, 2018 at 6:06 pm

Composer John Williams has won practically every award possible in his long and distinguished career — Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, even the Kennedy Center Honor and the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. So Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), one of the nation’s leading performing-rights societies — which had already given him its top honor in 1999… Read More

New Oscar “shortlist” for songs, scores

Friday, May 4th, 2018 at 5:54 pm

The Academy never stops tinkering with the music rules. The latest addition is actually a throwback to an earlier era: There will now be an Oscar “shortlist” for best song and best score of the year, a 15-film list for each category from which the final five nominees will be chosen. It’s a process the… Read More

Lalo Schifrin honored by SACEM

Friday, April 27th, 2018 at 6:45 pm

The great Argentinian composer Lalo Schifrin — creator of such classic film and TV themes as Mission: Impossible, Mannix, Cool Hand Luke, Bullitt, Dirty Harry and others — was honored by Steinway and SACEM the same evening in Beverly Hills. First, composer-pianist Jean-Michel Bernard performed many Schifrin tunes for a private audience in the Steinway… Read More

Hans Zimmer’s Euro concerts; award in Vienna

Saturday, April 21st, 2018 at 6:25 pm

This year, many cities in Europe will be treated to “The World of Hans Zimmer,” a concert featuring orchestra, choir and soloists performing some of the famous composer’s greatest works for film (everything from Gladiator and Inception to The Lion King and The Dark Knight). For the program, was pleased to be asked to write… Read More

Music in the new “Lost in Space”

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018 at 5:37 pm

Christopher Lennertz, veteran composer of Supernatural, Revolution and other series, has pulled off his greatest TV assignment to date: the Netflix reboot of the 1960s classic Lost in Space. He not only recorded with an orchestra in London’s Abbey Road studio, he incorporated John Williams’ original TV theme (actually, Williams’ second theme for the series,… Read More

The music of “Krypton”

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 at 6:42 pm

I’ve been fascinated by the backstory of Superman’s home world as long as I’ve been reading DC Comics (which I did, a lot, back in the 1960s). So I was understandably curious about the new series Krypton, which debuted last night on the SyFy channel — and about what kind of music might accompany it…. Read More

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In Person

  • Interviewing John Williams at BMI

    May 10, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    It’s always an honor to spend time with the legendary John Williams. I had a few moments with the maestro before he received BMI’s latest honor, named after him, and added a few tidbits about his current schedule in the Variety story I wrote the next morning. He was especially excited about the piece he’s written for cello and harp to celebrate the Leonard Bernstein centennial later this year at his beloved Tanglewood.

  • Quoted in TV Guide!

    April 30, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    You never know when an old colleague will reach out and ask about something within your particular area of expertise. I’ve known TV critic David Bianculli for many years, ages ago at the New York Daily News and now as frequent host of NPR’s Fresh Air and editor-in-chief of I have enormous respect for him, and when he called a while back to talk about the theme for TV’s Twilight Zone, I had no idea that it would wind up as part of his tribute to television themes in the current TV Guide. But I am delighted, and it’s the first time (in over 30 years of writing about TV) that I’ve been quoted in that venerable publication.

  • “Counterpart” Q&A with composer Jeff Russo

    April 25, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Composer Jeff Russo (Fargo, Star Trek: Discovery) has scored the intriguing new sci-fi thriller Counterpart for the STARZ network. I moderated an hour-long Society of Composers & Lyricists discussion about the show and its music with Russo and executive producer Jordan Horowitz. Russo’s main-title theme and score are surprisingly intimate, with a chamber-music sound owing to his use of a string quartet for much of the series.

  • Interviewing composer David Amram

    March 15, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    The extraordinary composer David Amram was in town this week, so the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Film Music Foundation took advantage of his presence to add him to their Visual History archives. I was asked to conduct the interview, which meant an intense research weekend immersing myself in his films (among them The Manchurian Candidate, Splendor in the Grass and The Young Savages), re-reading his autobiography, and listening to as much of his music as possible. It may be a while before the interview is available for viewing, but rest assured he talks about Elia Kazan, John Frankenheimer, Jack Kerouac, Leonard Bernstein, Charlie Parker, and many of the other amazing people with whom he has crossed paths over his 87 years.

  • On “CBS Sunday Morning”

    March 4, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    For Oscar Sunday, the CBS newsmagazine Sunday Morning decided to profile the famous Newman family of film composers. They interviewed composers Randy, David, Thomas, Maria and Joey, representing the second and third generations of Newman composers in Hollywood; and discussed Alfred and Lionel, from the first generation, along with visiting their old haunts on the 20th Century-Fox lot. I was delighted to help provide some historical context for the piece, which you can find — at least for the next few days — here.

  • Discussing the song nominees on NPR

    February 22, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Again this year the nice folks at Boston’s Here & Now, which airs on many NPR stations, asked me to chime in on this year’s Oscar music race. Here is a link to our 11-minute discussion of the five nominated songs from the movies Coco, The Greatest Showman, Marshall, Call Me By Your Name and Mudbound, along with snippets from each of the songs. I have some thoughts about the race that may help you fill out your Oscar ballots!

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