Composer Fil Eisler (Revenge, Empire) came up with a unique approach to scoring Newtown, the new documentary about the Sandy Hook elementary-school shootings and their aftermath: ask 16 colleagues — all of whom felt equally strongly about the need for a solution to gun violence in America — to contribute music, while he worked closely with the director to apply the various musical moods to the film itself. I attended the scoring sessions just before Christmas, and wrote about it for Variety just as the film is about to debut at Sundance.
Alexandre Desplat and Chris Montan (the Oscar-winning composer of The Grand Budapest Hotel and president of music for the Walt Disney Company, respectively) took top honors at this year’s BMI Film and TV Music Awards dinner. Here is my overview of the evening’s speeches and additional awards. Part of the fun, though, was doing the on-camera interviews on the red carpet — some of which are now showing up online. This link will take you to my brief chats with Desplat, Montan, Brian Tyler (talking about doing Marvel movies), Fil Eisler (Revenge) and Gwendolyn Sanford (Orange Is the New Black).
My editors at Variety asked me for a slightly different spin on TV music this year. I had been fascinated by how many composers felt strong support for orchestral scores at ABC, singling out Dawn Soler, the head of music for ABC Studios. Here‘s the story.