Articles

New John Williams theme for college football

Friday, January 6th, 2023 at 9:50 am

Ninety-year-old John Williams, who has hinted that his music for Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans and the forthcoming Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will be his last for films, still can’t seem to slow down. In December, he recorded a new three-and-a-half minute piece for ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff National Championship,… Read More

Women composers in film; popularity of TV themes

Sunday, January 1st, 2023 at 9:27 am

Once in a while my editors at Variety will commission an essay on a topic of current interest. They asked for two in December, and I found both fascinating: A long piece looking at the progress, or lack thereof, that women composers have been making in film and TV music; and a second, somewhat lighter… Read More

Best of 2022 in Classic Film Soundtracks

Thursday, December 29th, 2022 at 7:09 pm

The rest of the music world may have gone digital, but the record labels that cater to movie-music fans continue to produce first-rate soundtrack albums (actual physical product!) that focus on classic scores or previously unreleased ones. And many contain detailed liner notes that go into greater depth about the music than has ever been… Read More

The 2022 Oscar Shortlist

Wednesday, December 21st, 2022 at 12:08 pm

A few years ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ music branch — the approximately 400 composers, songwriters and music editors who decide the Oscar nomination slate for songs and scores — returned to an old practice: the “shortlist,” a way of winnowing down the vast number entered (this year, 147 scores and… Read More

Composers up for awards this season

Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 at 12:03 pm

Every year, mostly in November and December, Variety asks me to see a nonstop barrage of new movies and interview their composers. This year’s crop included Justin Hurwitz for Babylon, Marcelo Zarvos for Emancipation, Chanda Dancy for Devotion, Nicholas Britell for She Said, Ludwig Goransson for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Hildur Guonadottir for Tar, Terence… Read More

Grammys finally add a video game music category!

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022 at 12:16 pm

This year the Recording Academy finally added a category for game music soundtracks. It’s a far more important issue in the composer community than ever before, considering the vast number of games being played and the high quality of music now being composed for them, by some of the most talented people in the industry…. Read More

New “Charlie Brown Christmas” album!

Monday, November 7th, 2022 at 2:31 pm

I don’t often get to write about one of my favorite jazz artists: Vince Guaraldi, once famed for his Grammy-winning “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” but now best known for his scores for more than a dozen animated Peanuts specials of the late 1960s and early 1970s. His Charlie Brown Christmas album is said… Read More

Michael Giacchino directs a film… and it’s terrific

Friday, October 7th, 2022 at 12:27 pm

Werewolf by Night, which debuted on Disney+ in October, was among the best-reviewed Marvel projects in ages. It really was fun, and the surprise to many was the identity of the director: Michael Giacchino, Oscar- (Up), Emmy- (Lost) and Grammy-winning (Ratatouille) composer. He talked about the experience with me (he scored it, too!) for this… Read More

Notes for “The Sound of 007 In Concert”

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022 at 8:46 pm

One of the great thrills of this year was being asked to pen the notes for The Sound of 007 In Concert program, an all-star event held Oct. 4 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. David Arnold, composer of five James Bond film scores including Tomorrow Never Dies and Casino Royale, produced the evening (which later… Read More

Sci-fi and fantasy scores, from “Andor” to “Rings”

Monday, September 26th, 2022 at 12:40 pm

Some of today’s most compelling scores are on television, and for science-fiction and fantasy projects. This year’s crop was especially interesting, and I explored several of them in stories for Variety: Bear McCreary talked about his grand-scale music for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power; Amie Doherty and Ramin Djawadi discussed their… Read More