Winter 2010


Lately I’ve had the opportunity to speak to many of you at SCL functions such as the Emmy reception and our annual membership meeting. In continuing to keep the quality high, I am pleased to see that our community is being fed by some really terrific programs across the country from Ron Sadoff’s at NYU, Dan Carlin’s at Berklee, Andy Hill’s Chicago Columbia Program and many more.

As I meet fresh faces embarking on a career in our business, I think about how dramatically the landscape has changed over the last thirty years. When I first began, there were less than one hundred of us working in the area of film composition. There were essentially three broadcast networks, so the main outlets as a film composer were network television and feature films. Cable television was in its infancy and it was well before the internet and certainly before mobisodes.

Although arguably there are twenty or thirty times more of us working in the industry today, there is also far more opportunity than there was thirty years ago. The advent of the Game industry has opened the door for excellent work in that genre and there are many hundreds of stations in all formats that need programming and your contributions. Of course with new opportunities come new challenges. As you know, digital services are trying to avoid paying us fairly, while using our creativity to build their businesses and enhance the experience of their websites; essentially expecting us to act as venture capitalists for their experimental business models. As the performing rights organizations continue to litigate for fair payment on our behalf, we are also taking our message to Washington. In September, inspired by what we do with the SCL, through the efforts of ASCAP and Disney we held an advanced screening of the film Secretariat with the composer Nick Glennie-Smith. In attendance, along with key players in the Washington community, were numerous members of Congress. Our purpose was to educate Washington on the dramatic difference that music can make in the film making process. Nick and I held a question and answer session and showed a scene with and without music. It was certainly eye opening for the members of the audience, many of whom had never thought about the aspect of music and the part it plays in the greater art of cinema. We also were able to show an example of the film composer and his role as the textbook small business owner. Nick elaborated on the many people involved with the production of a motion picture score. He articulated the function of orchestrators, arrangers, musicians, editors, copyists, programmers, engineers, studio personnel, contractors, agents and the vital role they all play in the delivery of the final product. I think that it was a good step in putting a face to what we do and those involved in the creative process.

The next day, along with several other colleagues, I met with some of the most conservative and some of the most liberal members of Congress at breakfast and lunch fundraisers as well as “walking the halls.” Members such as Jim deMint, Randy Forbes, Phil Gringley, Sam Graves, Bruce Braley and Chris Van Hollen probably agree on very few things, but we emphasized the non-political aspect of our ask: that if new media litigation fails to protect our interests in the digital realm, we will be back asking Congress for support in reaffirming and clarifying our property rights. I am pleased to report that on both sides of the aisle, we have found sympathetic ears to our predicament; both from the intellectual property point of view, as well as the role we play as a small business owner.

Every day I am also reminded of the importance of staying forever vigilant as our adversaries continue to mount large campaigns as they distort the facts and minimize the importance that your work has on our society. For all of the years that I have been active in this business, our performing rights organizations have played a significant role in spreading our message. You can also be assured that the SCL will be there as well, as we have clearly established ourselves around the world as the preeminent organization for media composers and lyricists. From 1982 when Arthur Hamilton, Jim di Pasquale and a handful of others started this group to the present, we continue to welcome new and bright talents into our community. We follow in the footsteps of two great organizations. The Screen Composers Association was begun in 1945 through the efforts of David Raksin and George Duning among others. Their progress was followed by the establishment of the Composers and Lyricists Guild of America, which included such icons as Henry Mancini and Elmer Bernstein, as well as our Oscar host and Advisory member, John Cacavas. I am proud that today the Society of Composers & Lyricists counts over a thousand members.

Through the years since those composers first gathered, the range of entertainment that needs great music and song has grown exponentially. Although the means of delivery has changed and will continue to evolve through the coming years, what doesn’t change is the importance and undisputable impact that your music and lyrics has on our profession. I am optimistic that we will be able to find solutions to the new challenges that we are faced with. The ability to create something new and unique is a special gift and we will continue to celebrate that fact, as well as to continue to foster greatness within this community.

Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXV, Number Four, Winter 2010]


Fall 2010


Music truly makes the world go around. I just heard from my friend, Bernard Grimaldi, a talented composer and my counterpart in France. He was on the way to Ubeda to celebrate film music with composers from around the globe, including SCL member and this year’s academy award winner, Michael Giacchino, who is serving as the honorary president of the festival.

Since last writing, the Performing Rights Organizations celebrated many of our friends at their annual television and film awards. Rachel Portman and Terence Blanchard received honors at the BMI Awards. Bruce Broughton and Dennis McCarthy received ASCAP special recognition Awards for their contributions to our industry and SESAC bestowed honors on several SCL members such as Board Member, Dennis C. Brown, Jeff Beal and Bruce Miller.

Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Chairman and CEO Hal David, once again did a stellar job acting as the host of this year’s show. I was privileged to be in the audience to see our SCL Ambassador, Johnny Mandel join with other icons to receive recognition for their body of work as they were inducted into this prestigious organization. SCL Ambassador and Songwriter Hall of Fame honoree, Charles Fox, put together an impressive show, with his third installment of the Songs of Our Lives for the Fulfillment Fund. In July, ASMAC honored the legendary arranger, Sam Nestico and our Advisory Board Member, Marc Shaiman at their annual awards gala in Universal City.

There has never been a more important time for us to celebrate the accomplishments of our colleagues and affirm the importance that their contributions hold in our society. The challenges of the digital era continue to take their toll on various sectors of our profession and it becomes more imperative to spread the message that our contributions are not only worthy, they are essential to the well-being of communities around the globe.

In May, I was proud to join for a second time with other SCL members to spend a day on Capitol Hill, “walking the halls” to spread the word that along with the accessibility the internet provides, there are inherent dangers in the freedom of access to intellectual property. Through the efforts of ASCAP, members of the Board of Directors and grass roots composers and songwriters from across the country joined together to enlist members of Congress to partner with us as we navigate the challenges of the digital era. I had the opportunity to meet with several Congressional members, such as Henry Waxman and voice the concerns that as the means of delivery moves from one platform to another, the creators need to be fairly compensated for their work. We were addressed by an entertaining Senator Al Franken, and he affirmed his support for our cause, citing his days on Saturday Night Live as a sometimes songwriter. The evening before, we had the opportunity to meet with Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barbara Boxer and a hall full of Congressional members, who were treated to an evening of music, entitled “We Write the Songs” at the Library of Congress, celebrating the one-year anniversary of gifts to their collection from the ASCAP Foundation. The show, with Paul Williams serving as Master of Ceremonies, featured such gifted songwriters as Hal David, Alan Bergman, Albert Hammond, Traci Chapman, Wayland Holyfield, Dion DiMucci and Bill Withers. Another evening is in the planning stages in Washington that would focus on the role and importance of the film composer.

The next month I was in New York to participate in another top-level event, organized by our SCL colleagues in collaboration with Musicians Local 802. The dedication of the steering committee there has been inspirational, as has the support from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. This symposium, under the stewardship of Joel Douek, Chris Hajian and Greg Liska, was one that was dear to my heart. I have stated time and again that I wouldn’t have gotten past my first recording session without the talents of the world-class musicians that we have here in Los Angeles. New York’s talent pool is immense as well, and we had the opportunity to join with some of New York’s finest composers and musicians as we explored the opportunities and challenges in incorporating their talents into our scores in various media. We were proud to have many esteemed SCL members, such as Carter Burwell on the panels, along with experts such as Dennis Dreith from the Film Musicians Secondary Market and the RMA’s Phil Ayling who joined with 802’s, Tino Gagliardi to make it a memorable gathering.

As we move forward from here, although the path is uncertain, our contributions are not. Events such as those mentioned here, only go to affirm how integral our words and music are, as well as the musicians who perform them. It is important that we don’t sit on the sidelines during these challenging times. Many of you will be called upon to lend your expertise as situations present themselves. Know that the SCL, as well as continuing to inform, foster collegiality and be the wellspring of creativity, will also be at the forefront of spreading our message as we move into the future.

Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXV, Number Three, Fall 2010]


Summer 2010


I had the opportunity to see Hal David and Burt Bacharach’s spectacular revival of Promises, Promises a few months ago in New York. It brought back so many vivid memories of my first summer in Los Angeles, when I saw the production during its initial run. I recall being in Century City, driving up to the Schubert Theatre in my songwriting partner, Tom Shapiro’s battered mid-60’s sedan and having the valet service whisk the car away in lightening speed, saving their arriving guests an unseemly experience. Then I recall entering this magical place as the lights dimmed and the fabulous overture began and being transformed by the songs. Moving ahead in time many years, the magic is still there and those songs are still as fresh as they were then.

I know that there are those of you in your first summers, with your dreams and aspirations alive and their realization still ahead of you. If you are like me, writing’s not really a choice; it’s a passion that can only be satiated by your creative out pouring. Whether it is film, television, video games, theatre, commercials, trailers, or any variation thereof, our profession is rich in opportunity; you’ve only got to tap into it. I’ve welcomed countless SCL mentor students to attend my recording sessions at Capitol Studios over the past years and many of them have begun successful careers in our business, and others will in short order no doubt.

I think a real catalyst to success, however subliminal it may be, is having the chance to be in the company of some of the true legendary icons of our profession. Being able to mix with the likes of a Hal David, is part of the joy of the Society of Composers and Lyricists. This year’s Oscar reception reminded me of the value of having an organization that acknowledges the best work in our field and gives us the opportunity to celebrate with writers that have had such a great impact on our musical community and turned their dreams into reality. This year’s nominees were among the finest in our profession. Hearing friends and luminaries such as James Horner, Marco Beltrami, Hans Zimmer, Alexandre Desplat, Randy Newman, Maury Yestin, T Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham, Buck Sanders, Reinhardt Wagner, and Frank Thomas was an inspiration. I am particularly proud of all that Michael Giacchino has achieved this last year. His reverence for those who have come before is one of the real tenets of this organization. As I stood on the podium at the home of our advisory board member, John Cacavas and his lovely wife Bonnie, I reflected on the years before, having joined with Arthur Hamilton, Charles Bernstein, Richard Sherman, John Williams, Anthony Lloyd Webber, Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, David Raksin, Ennio Morricone, Ray Evans and countless others to celebrate the profession that truly adds an element that no other craft in the film making process can.

If my career is any indication, rest assured, our profession will go through many transformations over the course of your careers. As you traverse the uncertainties that are part of a creative profession, there will be choices that you make along the way. All of these decisions will add to your maturation as a writer and collective experience as a person. I recall a group of less than fifty members when I first joined the SCL. There were also less than sixty of us doing most of the work in the television field and when my opportunity came, I was privileged to join that selective community. Now the SCL counts over a thousand in its numbers.

There is one thing I can promise you, I still feel as excited and passionate about the music as I did that summer’s night many years ago. The joy of writing it has not diminished in any way or form. My partner, Tom has become one of Nashville’s most successful writers, and I assume he has better transportation today. I truly believe that we are fortunate and blessed to be able to write and create music and song. As I say, it’s not really a choice, it’s necessary for our souls. I know with dedication, a positive outlook and a little old fashioned luck your creative spirit will turn your own dreams into reality.

Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXV, Number Two, Summer 2010]


Spring 2010


As I customarily point out at our holiday dinner, the Society of Composers & Lyricists created the Ambassador Program to recognize and acknowledge a select group of composers and lyricists without whose valuable contributions our profession would be less than it is; without whose creativity our artistic community would be lacking and without whose gift, our society would be deprived of wonderful music and song expressed by their genius. Their achievements will be used as the ultimate standard for future generations of film composers and songwriters.

Last year’s event, which was held in the beautiful Crystal Ballroom of the Riviera country club, was significant for two reasons. Not only did we bestow our Ambassador Award on another two talented recipients, but also, Dennis Spiegel became the fourth person to receive our Lifetime Achievement Award. Besides his great talent as a lyricist, his warmth and generosity of spirit has made all who know him feel appreciated and welcome, whenever he is around.

This year’s dinner was particularly rewarding for me, as our two honorees were instrumental in setting an exceptionally high standard for me at the beginning of my career. Our first honoree was Jack Hayes. Among the many missions of the SCL, none is more important than celebrating and raising the awareness of those who have contributed significantly to our profession. Without Jack Hayes, the body of work left behind by many of our luminaries past and present, would be lacking one of the essential qualities that makes it what it is. That attribute is the magic that he so seamlessly brought and continues to bring to the scores with his unmistakable orchestrations. Just a small sampling of his amazing work as an orchestrator spans the history of cinema over the last 60 years. The Greatest Story Ever Told, Gun Fight at the OK Corral, Riverboat, Donovan’s Reef, Hawaii, Casino Royale and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In his introduction, Michael Giachhino spoke passionately about Jack’s talent and his contributions to his own scores. I think it was a fitting follow-up that Michael won the Golden Globe a month later for his music to the film Up, in which Jack contributed masterful orchestrations.

Few, if any of our colleagues have enjoyed as much success in such a wide range of musical disciplines as last year’s second honoree, Charles Fox, who performed some of his memorable classics for us. If only as the co-writer of one of the most performed songs in the BMI repertoire, Killing Me Softly, his place in our musical conscience would be assured. But with Charles, that is only part of his illustrious story. His music to such favorites as Foul Play and Goodbye Columbus are filled with some of the most well crafted score cues of their era. His themes and musical compositions underscore some of the most successful television series of the past fifty years. I was fortunate to follow in his footsteps after he established the unmistakable sound for Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. This past July, Charlie conducted the Warsaw Opera Company Chorus and Orchestra in the premiere of his oratorio, Lament and Prayer based on the words of Pope John Paul II. For the next two years he will be the composer in residence with the Young Musician’s Foundation, and is also the author of a soon to be released book on his life in music.

Bringing Charlie to the stage was Richard Sherman, who along with his brother Robert, was our 2005 recipient of the SCL Ambassador Award. Richard’s charm will always hold a special place in the hearts of those fortunate enough to attend our 2005 event, where Richard performed his Oscar winning songs and other classics for his appreciative audience. His career continues to soar with citations and awards and other widespread recognition including the recent success of the restaging of his beloved Mary Poppins, which at this writing is having a sold out run, here in Los Angeles.

Also in the audience in December was Lalo Schifrin, one of our 2008 honorees. Few of our peers can truly be designated as icons in our profession, but Lalo Schifrin redefines the term. Lalo’s unmistakable creative touch has had a far-reaching impact on every area of our profession. From jazz composer, arranger and performer, to classical composer and conductor to consummate film composer, Lalo Schifrin’s talents have run the gamut, each time putting his unmistakable touch on each genre as no one else can. We heard solid renditions with the maestro at the piano of his music from Cool Hand Luke and the stirring Mission Impossible.

Lalo’s fellow inductee in 2008 was Hal David. As I pointed out in my introduction, It’s difficult to know where to begin when discussing a career as vast, long lasting and successful as Hal David’s has been. I am pleased to say that Hal has become a friend over the last few years, but I feel that I have known him all of my life. There’s nothing unusual about that as everyone I know feels the same about Hal. That is simply because his lyrics have been in our living rooms, in our cars in Trains and Boats and Planes and of course in our hearts and will continue to be for as long as a song is sung. And sing he did, with memorable performances of I’ll Never Fall in Love Again and Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.

A year earlier, 2007 Ambassador, Burt Bacharach paid homage to Hal in his performance of Alfie, saying this is one of the best lyric’s Hal David ever wrote; matter of fact, it’s one of the best lyrics anybody ever wrote. Earlier that evening, the other Ambassador from that year, Dave Grusin and Burt quipped about their early days of being in the south of France together, and afterwards Dave and Stephen Bishop did a moving version of Dave’s song written with lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman It Might be You, from Tootsie. The following day, Dave wrote me: thanks …for a wonderful warm evening.  When we talk about the importance of community, this group is such a prime example.  It was great to be in that environment. This is a testimonial that I will treasure, as I have always striven to achieve this, in a great part, through these evenings.

We’ll never forget the touching speeches of our first two inductees, Ray Evans and Earle Hagen. I applaud my colleague, Ray Colcord, and the Television Academy for also recognizing Earle Hagen as a granite figure in the annals of our craft. My wife, Cheryl feels that raising the awareness of the contributions of the Ambassadors has fostered more appreciation for their careers. I remember Ray Evans attending our Oscar receptions and on one occasion being engaged by a number of young writers who had attended our dinner (as well as Dolly Parton). Playing all through this and every holiday season at our home were the seasonal vocal albums of the Ray Charles Singers, led by the consummate arranger and conductor, 2004 Ambassador, Ray Charles.

One of the touching moments of these affairs was when 2006 Ambassador, Johnny Mandel looked into the audience and recognized the previous year’s winner, Van Alexander and paraphrased his earlier statement of I couldn’t have found a better teacher than Van, he threw me in the water and said, Swim! Johnny continues to be one of the most recognized and in demand arrangers in our profession and Van has just authored a book from Harlem to Hollywood.

In 2006, in introducing David Shire, I used these words to welcome him to the stage to perform some of his beautiful music: Tonight we are honoring a gentleman whose range, diversity, and general ability to do many things well is unparalleled in our profession. David Shire has written for the theatre, scored television, scored motion pictures and written hit songs and then music directed, played piano on Broadway and produced pop records. Doing them all to perfection.

Vic Mizzy was an inspiration to our community with his at times irreverent, but always light hearted demeanor; at 93 he still had that childish twinkle in his eye. He entertained us with his wit as he accepted his award in 2004. His works, including the theme and underscore to The Addams Family and Green Acres, will forever be apart of television history and lore.

As I look back over the years of my tenure as president of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, nothing has been more gratifying than the Ambassador program that the board and I implemented during my first term. To join with you as we celebrate and recognize a number of individuals that have helped make our profession the unique and rewarding one that it has always been for me, will forever be something that I will be most proud.

Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXV, Number One, Spring 2010]


Winter 2009


The last year has been one of financial challenges for many within our field. I know that some sectors of our profession have seen reductions in the amount of work that has been readily available, while others seem to continue along recession proof. Whatever category you fall in, I hope that you have found the Society of Composers and Lyricists to be a valuable resource as you move ahead in your careers.

I feel that the amount of information disseminated this year has been robust. We certainly can applaud our Senior Editor, Lori Barth for the fine work that has appeared in this celebrated publication and I want to personally thank all of you who participated with stories and insight into a myriad of topics germane to our industry. By the time that you are reading this, our new website will have been unveiled. I want to thank Billy Martin for his tireless work on facilitating this new design as well as his past decade of dedication to keeping it up and running. Besides being a talented composer he has added to the feeling of collegiality that I have tried to foster by organizing the SCL Golf Outings. Look for another one in the New Year.

I want to acknowledge our New York Steering Committee under the leadership of Joel Beckerman for the most fruitful year on the east coast in the history of this organization. Two seminars focusing on Where’s My Money brought some of the true experts in the field to elaborate on some of the issues on the front line as the paradigm of how we are paid and who pays us continues to evolve on a daily basis. The distinguished attorney, Jay Cooper and our first Lifetime member went above and beyond the call of duty to travel to New York University in the middle of a snow storm last March to join this year’s ASCAP Henry Mancini Award recipient, Carter Burwell as they explored how we can navigate these uncertain times.

Ron Sadoff continues his dedication to this organization by his much appreciated work in securing facilities at NYU, where he serves as Director of the NYU Film Scoring Program. I was privileged to join Hall of Fame songwriter, Jimmy Webb for an extraordinary evening in late May there as we discussed his craft and career at a sold out event. New York’s ASCAP and BMI offices hosted two events, the latter, an in-depth look at the live recording issues facing the composer working in New York. In October, SESAC was able to secure the legendary Bitter End for a performance of some the city’s celebrated songwriters working in the field of television and film moderated by Beth Rosenblatt, one of New York’s top music supervisors. By the time that you receive this, an informative evening with one of Broadway’s hottest composer’s Jeanine Tesori, once again at NYU, will have taken place. At the top of the list of who to thank for all of the above activities, in addition to their vigilance in protecting our rights as composers and lyricists, are our performing rights organizations, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Their support is critical to this SCL and to our well being as a community.

The SCL elected a new board of directors in March. As well as many continuing directors, several new faces have been added. I am proud to say that the new board has been full of energy and vitality and we are continuing to see growth as our membership continues to spiral above one thousand.

Our seminar committee under the able stewardship of Ashley Irwin, Benoit Grey and Ira Hershen has truly flourished over the past year. Notable are three video game seminars, two in Los Angeles and one in New York featuring the talented Tom Salta. Early in the year Russell Brower moderated a concentrated look at the Relationship between Composers and Large Corporations, which was followed up in September with a group of several top Audio Directors, moderated by Garry Schyman, who had worked with all of these panelists.

In Los Angeles, the SCL put together an impressive evening on the Writing of Musicals. Board member, Adryan Russ was able to lend her expertise, joining with past board member Peter Melnick, as they delved into the world where both have seen much success. AFI was the site of one of the most unique events in our history. Multiple Emmy winner, Sean Callery captivated a sold-out house as he deconstructed scores from 24 and Medium and actually composed cues on the spot for sequences in these hit shows. Long time friend of this organization Todd Brabec, joined with his brother Jeff as they investigated the Many Worlds of Composer and Songwriting Deals. Ed Roscetti and friends brought us World Beat Rhythms. Sally Stevens showed her artistry is not only limited to impeccable vocals as she invited the membership to her opening of a new show of incredible photos featuring many members of the SCL in the recording studio. In March John Rodd, enlightened the membership to the “Hollywood Sound” in an informative seminar on sound mixing. Board member Stu Phillips, celebrated his birthday and clearly demonstrated that 80 is the new 40 as he led the Golden State Pops Orchestra in some of his superb film work and the world premiere of his Variations for Piano and Orchestra.

As this article goes to press our annual membership meeting unites four talent composers: Steve Bartek, Jeff Beal, Lee Holdridge and Laura Karpman as they join board member Miriam Cutler to explore what fuels their creativity. We meet once again in the historic American Legion Post and walk in the footsteps of Bogie, Bacall and Louis Armstrong in old Hollywood. Recently, Dr. Thomas E. Backer led a seminar on the The Stresses of the Creative Process and the SCL spent an evening with Fletcher Beasley as he shared his experience on Logic.

Laura Dunn, continuing in her role as our indispensable Executive Director, also coordinated, along with our Public Relations friends and PROs, an amazing array of screenings and Questions and Answer sessions following the film. Just a sampling of these in the past year were: Bottle Shock (Composed by board member Mark Adler), Tale of Despereaux (William Ross), Captain Abu Raed, Grace (Austin Wintory), Seven Pounds (Angelo Milli), Valkyrie (John Ottman), Up (Michael Giacchino), the Stoning of Soraya M (John Debney) Adam (Christopher Lennertz), Milk (Danny Elfman), Revoluntionary Road ( Thomas Newman), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Alexandre Desplat), Flash of Genius (Aaron Zigman), Doubt (Howard Shore), The Reader (Nico Muhly), The Wrestler (Clint Mansell), High School Musical 3 (Adam Anders, Nikki Hassman and Steven Vincent), Igor (Patrick Doyle), and Appaloosa (Jeff Beal) At this writing numerous others are in the process of being organized, making this another outstanding year of screenings.

One of the programs that I am most proud of is our SCL Ambassador Award that we give every year to individuals that have made a significant and unique contribution to our profession. Sadly, our recipient from a few years ago, the unique, witty and talented Vic Mizzy recently passed away. In 2008 two of the true icons in our profession, Hal David and Lalo Schifrin were celebrated at our annual holiday dinner. This year two more distinguished legends, Charles Fox and Jack Hayes joined their ranks.

The SCL continues to honor our community with gatherings that have become some of the most anticipated events of the year. Our Oscar reception, hosted by Advisory Board Member, John Cacavas and his lovely wife, Bonnie and the Emmy reception, in collaboration with the Television Academy, are the settings where SCL members continue to collect the most coveted awards of the year. These events, held for our Gold Members and above, are lifetime experiences and I encourage you to join us. Our Premier Partners program continues to offer member discounts and special events like the one hosted by Melrose Mac earlier this year. This year’s evening at Hollywood Bowl, under the baton of David Newman, was one of the most enjoyable ones that I can remember and one that is open to any of our membership categories. Chris Farrell and Craig Stuart Garfinkle continue to bring in some of the best and brightest new talent into our Mentor Program.

Certainly with all of the above, nothing is more important than staying vigilant as we move into the challenges of the digital age. The SCL will continue to advocate copyright protection as your members did in Washington in May. Of top priority is the performance right in an audiovisual download, which is the most significant issue facing our members. We will continue to fight for our collective rights in the courts and in Congress and I will continue to keep you informed as this issue continues to evolve. In closing, I look forward to seeing all of you in the New Year and wish you the best in your composing and songwriting endeavors.

Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXIV, Number Four, Winter 2009]

Fall 2009


In May, ASCAP arranged for a group of composers and songwriters to walk the halls of Congress and express their views on a number of topics that are germane to the creative community. I was proud to be a member of this contingent that included many esteemed writers and also encompassed a wide spectrum of music creators who came from districts across the country to speak to their individual Congressional members. There were several issues at stake that will be dealt with in pending or potential legislation. Among these were the imbalance of trade with China and the fact that we are not being paid for our works when they are performed there. This imbalance is taking a significant toll on a potential income stream for creators. We, along with artists, are calling for a tax deduction for charitable works. Currently, living artists and other creators can only deduct the cost of supplies, rather than their fair market value. Proposed legislation would correct this inequality.

Although these issues will have an impact on our creative lives, the most significant issue for our community concerns the existence of a performing right in an audiovisual download. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC along with a hand full of other groups, including the SCL, have joined hands in proposing legislation that would guarantee such a right, and have made that a priority in the 111th Congress.

Currently, there exists an ambiguity in the copyright law as to the existence of a performance right in the download of audiovisual works. This issue and its consequence was front and center as we met with over forty senators and representatives, focusing on members of the Judiciary Committee. We met with members of Congress with such disparate politics and ideologies as Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Orrin Hatch, Representative Howard Berman and Senator Diane Feinstein. The over-all goal was to speak to the issue of fairness as we attempted to clarify a sometimes-oblique matter of copyright to legislators who sit on committees concomitantly dealing with issues such as health care and national security.

One of our primary concerns is stressing that as the delivery of our works for the visual media are changed over time, we are duly compensated, or to coin a term by Ray Colcord, that the compensation effected by this delivery should be “technologically neutral.” As in my case with the current television series The Secret Life of the American Teenager, many of your works are made available within hours for downloading on the Internet. It is an undeniable fact that content delivery is transitioning from broadcast and cable to online platforms and from there to digital downloads. As evidenced by information released in recent Writer’s Guild and SAG negotiations, there is reason to believe that within a few years all or most of television content will be delivered exclusively in this fashion.

Due to a 2007 decision in ASCAP’s rate court litigation with AOL, YAHOO, and Real Networks in the Southern District Court of New York, the performing right in a download is in jeopardy. The late Judge Conner, who oversaw ASCAP’s amended consent decree, rendered this decision. The judge, many of whose rulings in ASCAP matters over the past 35 years were beneficial to the creative world, ruled that a download of a musical work did not implicate a performing right, because the downloaded transmission of the work was not “simultaneously perceptible” by the end user. That decision is on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second

Circuit, with the SCL submitting an amicus curiae brief on ASCAP’s behalf. Although this decision did not specifically address downloading of audiovisual works, our adversaries in license negotiations with the PROs are citing this ruling in their efforts to avoid paying appropriate performance fees.

Inherent in the plight of the composer or songwriter for audiovisual works are certain realities, many of which are misunderstood. Our opponents include the Digital Media Association, Tech America, the Consumer Electronics Association, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers, the Entertainment Merchants Association, the Net Coalition and the Internet Commerce Coalition. Of course, their motivation is simple; the companies they represent are very happy to exploit and profit from our work, but don’t want to pay public performance license fees for doing so. Unfortunately, we are in a transitional time that could allow for loopholes that could have dire consequences for our future.

Our opponents continue to argue vociferously that these rights that we are calling for are unfounded, and that in fact, we are trying to “double dip.” The misinformation being disseminated is great and our performing rights organizations are true champions in the battle. The fact is, we don’t receive domestic mechanical royalties and if our performing rights income were in jeopardy, we would in effect have a “zero dip” as Richard Bellis is quick to point out. The fact is, we haven’t made bad deals with the studios; it is one of the realties of signing work-for-hire contracts that the only right that we are afforded is that of the performing right. With the “up front” creative fees at an all time low in no small part because the studios argue that our compensation comes from the so-called “back end” this right is certainly one that must be fought for at all cost. Also of major concern to us is the foreign income that we receive as our works are performed around the globe. Most nations with strong copyright law recognize this right and if we are not able to obtain similar rights here in the US, the foreign societies could cut off that valuable income stream from our works performed overseas.

Walking the halls for the first time was an enlightening experience for me. I had the good fortune of being teamed with insightful and articulate minds such as Hal David, Roger Faxon and Jimmy Webb. We will continue to make our voices heard as the issue of performing rights in a download plays itself out. No doubt other issues will soon present themselves that will continue to challenge our way of making a living. Foremost, our activities in Washington will strive to illuminate the significant role that your unique contributions play in enhancing the lives of people throughout the world.

Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXIV, Number Three, Fall 2009]


Summer 2009


Recently, the Society of Composers and Lyricists was fortunate to have our Honorary Lifetime Member and distinguished attorney, Jay Cooper join composer and this year’s ASCAP Henry Mancini Award recipient, Carter Burwell and music contractor, John Miller on a panel at the Black Box Theatre at New York University. As moderator, I asked each to discuss how the changing technology and the economic environment will shape and determine how all of us will do business in the coming years. In the audience were some successful composers and songwriters, as well as college students about to embark on a career path that is at best treacherous and at its worse seemingly impenetrable.

I am frequently asked how I would suggest one maintain a career or get started in a field that is highly competitive and that can be paradoxical; capricious at times in the rapidity one can launch their career and laboriously slow, taking years for others to get a foothold and make their mark. I think that the answer is that there is no answer, really. However, perhaps my biggest word of advice is to stay optimistic and positive, because someone is going to make it, so it might as well be you.

I am taking talent as a given in this scenario. Today there are many more talented composers and songwriters entering the work force than when I began my career. How one separates him or herself from the field is part of the challenge. What we do to prepare ourselves can determine the outcome because as everyone knows, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Networking and Common Sense. “Does this person make me feel comfortable enough to spend some time with, or will my life be negatively impacted with having to deal with this person on a continuum?” Not that I have any uncanny insight into the future, however I think that I can tell in most cases who will have an easy path or who may have more difficulty in establishing a career. It is amazing how many decisions have been made, based on a trust and comfort factor, because as we know, working on a project can mean a lot of one on one time. What does this entail? First, as important as something may appear to be to you at the time, try to put that in the perspective of the person you may be dealing with. I have come close to compromising a job or two by being obsessive about details that just weren’t that critical to really getting the work done. There are certain individuals that I’ve met that are absolutely self-absorbed and in the end, I would prefer they just mark me off their list. I remember a musician who would systematically call me the same time every month and when I finally took his call, I asked him to send me an example of his playing. Having hardly time to have received his submission, he started interrogating me about listening, finally culminating with his harassing me about returning the CD. You get the idea. It’s called using some common sense. Some are born with it, but others can do what they can to hone their skills at it.

Preparation. There is no excuse, particularly if you live in a larger metropolitan area, not to have a great education. In prior articles, I have written about the exceptional programs that are available, led by accomplished educators, many of whom have had a great deal of experience in the business. When I began, there were far fewer avenues for learning about the technique of film music or songwriting, but today they are literally hundreds of opportunities for better educating yourself and I feel strongly that a good education can be an important key to a successful career. There has been a great deal of literature written about film music that you can access even if you’re not in a large city. The legacy Earle Hagen’s books on scoring are indispensible and Richard Bellis has written about his experiences and observations in a fabulous book entitled, The Emerging Composer. Perhaps harder to find, Film Music, A Neglected art by Roy Prendergast gives a great overview on the history of our profession and the Film Music Notebook, published by the Film Music Society, as well as all of the great writing by Jon Burlingame, to name only a few, are ready references to fulfilling your palette in the intricacies of our profession.

Stay up on what’s going on. The trades are readily available, and are a valuable resource to what may be your first break. There are also other industry books that may help you find that first job. I had some success early on with a few cold calls, and you may unconsciously approach someone at just the right time. Also stay up on the evolving trends in technology. This is a little more seamless if you’re just getting out of school, but also important for those who want to sustain their careers.

Find your own voice. As I conduct question and answer sessions after our SCL screenings, I am astounded at the creativity that exists among our colleagues. There is so much imitation out there, that it really behooves you to strike out on your own and do something that is identifiable as you. Of course, once you’ve established that sound, it may be difficult not to copy yourself next time out, but what I’m talking about here is to reach beyond what everyone else is doing. Maybe there’s an alternative to the obvious textures that we are hearing time and again.

Perhaps most important to our community at large is to use integrity as you move through your career; integrity mandated by your own standards, as well as integrity to our profession as a whole. Keeping focused, driven and involved is good medicine for moving into uncertain times. Being a part of the SCL community, I can promise you, will also serve you well. The challenges to our industry are going to be monumental in the next few years. There are many of your colleagues who will be voicing our shared concerns in Washington. Many will be doing all they can to convince a sometimes disinterested and uninformed populace that what we do is worth being protected, worthy of respect and absolutely indispensable to the greater good of society. In my opinion, composing music and writing songs is the best thing that one could do to assure that it is an enlightened one. So keep up the good work.

Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXIV, Number Two, Summer 2009]


Spring 2009


At this writing, I watched as we all did the history defining Inauguration of our new president, Barack Obama. The fresh start his presidency has given our country is mirrored in new opportunities that I am optimistic it will afford all of us as we move into 2009. Among the many attributes that I know that he will bring to his administration is a worldview that will elevate the impression of our country around the globe. On the heels of the election, I was already the beneficiary of that enhanced perception.

In mid-November, I had the great pleasure of representing the Society of Composers and Lyricists at a conference celebrating one hundred years of film music. Designated as the First European Film Music Days, the event was sponsored by the Federation of Film and Audiovisual Composers of Europe or FFACE as they are known, and ably stewarded by its president, Bernard Grimaldi and Delegate to the Committee for the Centenaire de la Musique de Film, Gilles Tinayre. I had met many of the participants when I attended Cannes in 2007. The SCL is seen as a world leader in the art of film music and that was one of the primary reasons that I was asked to participate.

Held at the prestigious Cite de Musique in Paris, the event was attended by composers, journalists, managers, publishers and other professionals involved in the music and film industries. Attendees from France, Spain, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the UK joined for two days of dialogue germane to our craft. Also in attendance from the US was Dennis Dreith, Fund Administrator for Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund.

Among the speakers and panelist was Bernard Miyet, who serves as President of GESAC, which represents thirty-four of the most important collection societies throughout Europe, as well as serving as president of the French performing rights organization, SACEM. Bernard echoed a consistent theme, which was not to underestimate the importance of enhancing the perception of film music and its value as we move ahead into the future. Both Ruth Hieronymi, a member of the European Parliament and Mercedes Echerer, a former Parliamentary member spoke of the challenges composers and artists are faced with and how critical it is to put a value on our talent. They pointed out, that as rulings critical to the composer’s best interest are being made, more awareness is essential in enhancing our position. The rights of the creator, which have traditionally been significantly broader in their scope than privileges we know in the US, are being eroded, and part of the mandate of this conference was to exchange ideas that could aid in countering these trends.

I had the opportunity to serve on two panels. The first one dealt with new practices regarding music for pictures, where I joined agent Maggie Rodford, who spoke eloquently about the changes that she has seen for her clients over the past several years. The second panel, which was moderated by Jean-Francoise Michel, Secretary General of the European Music Office in Belgium concerned education, and the role it is playing in the perception of film music as an art form. I was able to speak of the fine programs that have been put into place around the United States, such as Ron Sadoff’s program at NYU, Andy Hill’s program at Columbia in Chicago and the exceptional work being done at Berklee as well as local universities such as USC and UCLA. Not only was it apparent that the education of the young composer was important to our European colleagues, but the education of young directors in the discipline of film music seemed of equal concern. I pointed out that this has been the cornerstone of an ASCAP sponsored program put in place at Columbia in New York.

The first evening festivities included a live performance to picture of the 1908 film, The Assassination of the Duke of Guise performed by a superb local orchestra with music by Camille Saint-Saens. The same night, our Gold Member and composer extraordinaire, Patrick Doyle received their prestigious Film Music Trophy for his stellar body of work. Maggie Rodford, as well as the legendary Francis LaI, was there to celebrate both Patrick and John Powell, another of the evening’s award recipients.

On the last evening of the conference we traveled about two hours south of Paris to attend the final event of the Festival International Musique & Cinéma in Auxerre. It was a symphonic concert with 100-voice choir with Stephane Lerouge as head of programming and conducted by Laurent Petitgirard. Among the evening’s highlights was the performance of Non Nobis Domine from Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V by Patrick Doyle, with the composer featured as solo vocalist with orchestra and choir. There was also a rousing encore of SCL Ambassador Lalo Schifrin’s Mission Impossible theme. The most heartfelt number of the evening, I’m Dreaming of Home, was written for the French film Joyeux Noel by our own Senior Editor of the Score, Lori Barth and her collaborator Phillipe Rhombi.

Traveling back to the US, it reminded me of the similarity between the challenges we as composers and lyricists have with our European colleagues. More discourse and interaction with our friends around the world will undoubtedly lead, not only to respect, but will address mutual concerns and allow us to work together to ensure artists’ rights continue to be a top priority.

The issues we are faced with as a nation, particularly in financial terms, have been felt in our industry and in our careers over the past year as well. The strikes that have embroiled our profession have been precipitated by the uncertainties that plague our careers in the face of new technology. Ironically, the advent of the Internet has offered more opportunities for creators and our music will undoubtedly play a significant role as we move ahead.

The New Year gives us the opportunity to reassess our own goals and priorities, to nurture new working relationships and as always, to continue to perfect our craft. All of the turmoil not withstanding, I have never felt a more united front within our own numbers. This unity will allow us to work together, here and abroad, to find solutions for our particular challenges, as I am confident that the new administration will have success in achieving on a global basis.

Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXIV, Number One, Spring 2009]


Winter 2008


By the time you receive this publication, a hotly contested presidential race will have presented us with new leadership. As we look ahead to the New Year, my hopes are that this new regime will be favorable to copyright and the dilemma and challenges of the creative artist.

I am happy to report that the Society of Composers and Lyricists membership continues to grow and we have you, our members, to thank for this. Your recommendations to your fellow composers and lyricists have brought our numbers to well over a thousand. I remember when I joined the SCL back in the mid- eighties, you basically knew everyone in the room, and we’d be lucky if there were more than a handful of new members every year. New board member, Adryan Russ, has done an exceptional job of finding new ways to grow our membership. New high profile members such as Mac Davis, Paul Williams and Michael Lloyd have joined many young composers whose careers are just beginning. Another reason for this is that the number of composers working in our ranks has grown exponentially over the last twenty years. My career began in earnest thirty years ago. I am sure that there were only sixty or so of us doing all of the scores. Now there are probably thousands of composers and I’d like to think that the work is being done at a very high level for the most part. The way our jobs are accomplished is dramatically different than when I first got started, but I still feel that the inner spark that leads one to be able to create and deliver an effective score or song is still the critical ingredient in a composer’s make-up, irrespective of the advanced tools we have the luxury to employ in the current day.

This last year has been filled with numerous highlights. I believe that our screening series was the best ever, as our membership had the opportunity to see every music and song nominated score. The opportunity to hear insights from composers such as Michael Giacchino, Patrick Doyle, Mark Isham, Alexandre Desplat, Carlo Siliotto, Dario Marianelli, Thomas Newman, Alberto Iglesias, Marco Beltrami and our second Vice-President, Mark Adler, as well as many more was invaluable. We also had the chance to hear Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken as well as Academy awards winners Glen Hasard and Marketa Irglova talk and even perform their songs for us. I personally want to thank Executive Director, Laura Dunn, as well as the numerous volunteers who went to great efforts to make these events what they were and continue to be.

Honoring those who have added greatly to our profession continues at our Holiday Dinner. Last December, Burt Bacharach and Dave Grusin were the latest members of our SCL Ambassador Program. I am pleased to say that Hal David and Lalo Schifrin will be following in their footsteps for 2008. Ron Grant, as head of our Media committee, has acquired some historic footage of these events over the past five years.

Sadly, this year marked the passing of a number of SCL members and .our thoughts go out to their friends and families. Recently Neal Hefti, my close friend and legendary arranger and composer, left us, and our first SCL Ambassador, Earle Hagen passed away last summer. Earle leaves a deep void in the annals of television music, where he was the undisputed king. It is some consolation that our organization as well as the music branch of the Television Academy, was able to celebrate him during his time. Thanks to Ron Grant, we are fortunate to have wonderful footage from that evening when Earle received his award.

Several of our members were recognized not only with Oscar and Emmy nominations, but awards as well. A number of others were recognized by their respective performing rights organizations at gala functions in their honor. Charles Bernstein, Lori Barth and Laura Dunn organized a world class Oscar reception at the home of Bonnie and John Cacavas last February, and the plans are to do the same for our Gold members again in the new year. The multi-talented John has become the newest member of our distinguished Advisory Board. His list of credits are monumental, with series such as Kojak and the Airport movies added to the countless band scores he has composed and arranged. Perhaps most important for this community was his involvement as president of our predecessor organization, the CLGA, and his service on the ASCAP board for many years.

The prominence of our members in the area of Game Music hit new heights when our board member Garry Schyman was honored with the Outstanding Composition Award during the Interactive Achievement Awards last February. Board Members Russell Brower and Billy Martin continue to bring their experience and expertise to the table as well. We are planning a major seminar in January to deal with advancements in that area. Our members such as Sharon Farber and Peter Melnick also continue to make significant contributions in the areas of concert and theatre music respectively, and we’re happy to be able to welcome new members into our ranks with these specific talents as our organization continues to grow.

Our Score magazine continues to be the ultimate source of information in our profession. Lori Barth continues her outstanding work as Senior Editor. She has delivered over twenty years of service to this organization in that capacity and we applaud her dedication to the SCL in the area of journalism. The SCL mentor program invariably fosters some new and unique talents. Chris Farrell, after a number of years of exceptional work, has passed the torch to Craig Stuart Garfinkfle, who will be steering some fabulous new talent through this term’s program, which include SCL members and students from the Berklee School of music in Boston.

This last year has not been without its concerns in the area of copyright and performing rights. As the Internet becomes the springboard for more production and as our works began to move from traditional broadcast to the Web, a joint concern of the performing rights organizations and the SCL is that we be adequately compensated for our work.

The SCL has secured meetings with Congressmen Howard Berman and Adam Schiff, as well Mary Beth Peters, the Registrar of Copyrights, in order to educate them as to our specific needs as composers working in the audio-visual medium. I feel that we have made significant strides in raising the awareness of the need to protect our interests as the means of delivery changes in our field Unfortunately, Congressman Berman will be stepping down as head of the sub-Committee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet and we are hoping that someone as sympathetic to copyright such as Congressman Jerrold Nadler from New York may be his successor.

At the time of this writing, I have planned to meet with the union of European composers know as FFACE in an effort, among other things, to engage in dialogue that could shed some light as to how other countries are dealing with some of our shared challenges. In celebration of the Centenary of Film Music, as it is being designated, our European counterparts have organized two days of discourse between composers around the world. Our colleague, Bernard Grimaldi, who now serves as the president of the group, felt that it was important that the SCL play an active role in these discussions. SCL Vice-President Arthur Hamilton was key in securing our organization’s place in this conference. The Europeans have always put the utmost importance on the role that music plays in cinema. Former SCL president Bruce Broughton served as the honorary president of the Ubeda Film Music Conference last summer and the event has featured our member’s works every year since its inception.

Our efforts in New York continue to grow and I’ve met with members of that community over the past year as well as speaking to a group of SCL members and students at NYU last May. It is my hope that a viable presence can help unite the film music community there, much as it did in the early days of the CLGA. Members, Joel Beckerman and Michael Patterson continue to aid in this agenda.

In closing, as we move forward into the future it has never been more important to be united as a community. We have seen how division within the ranks of our brother and sister organizations can lead to a malaise that is destructive on many levels. The Society of Composers and Lyricists has been—and will continue to be—the leading voice for composers and songwriters in the visual media. I am proud to be a part of this organization that is steeped in tradition, continues to award excellence in the field, and is a fore-runner in addressing issues that impact the well-being of our profession.

Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXIII, Number Four, Winter 2008]


Fall 2008


New York City… I remember visiting the city with my roommate, Ladd Spiegel when we were both freshmen at Amherst College. I recall staying at the Waldorf Astoria, going to the theatre, seeing Gladys Knight and the Pips and realizing as Jerry Herman said, there was a whole world outside of Yonkers, or in my case Oklahoma City. I remember getting to go there again after graduation, staying at the Plaza going to see Words and Music by Sammy Cahn, going to see Kander and Ebb’s 70 Girls 70 hearing Errol Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, and Buddy Rich. The pulse of the city was infectious and I had my whole life in front of me and I knew that New York would play an important role in it.

Well, I still love it and when I became involved with the Society of Composers and Lyricists, I was surprised to learn that we didn’t have a chapter there, even though some of the most gifted composers and lyricists working in our industry call the city their home. As I researched further, I realized that at one time, there was a presence there that was equal to ours here in Los Angeles. But that was years ago in the early fifties and was headed by Arthur Schwartz, the composer of such classics as Dancing in the Dark andThat’s Entertainment. As a result, I’ve made it a priority to embrace that community and try to move things forward.

Over the past few years, the SCL has co-hosted a number of events, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of talented composers and songwriters who continue to make huge contributions to our profession. Recently I had the opportunity to present an evening of my music at NYU as part of Ron Sadoff’s Film Scoring Program, under the aegis of ASCAP and the SCL, which was moderated by Joel Beckerman. Joel has been instrumental in trying to bring the SCL to New York. His illustrious career and tireless energy have made him a key player there in our efforts to enlist the New York community. There are certain segments of our industry that are thriving on the East Coast. I asked Joel to give me his take on the state of the business there. I include some of his thoughts:

Sports still thrives. The one challenge in that area is that ESPN, arguably the leader in sports cable does NOT have a blanket license with the Performing rights organizations and often tries to get composers to give up their performance royalties.

Children’s programming certainly is big, mainly on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel.  News is perennial but certainly growing
with more channels like Fox Business launching.  Talk and reality on cable are certainly big.  The success of John Stewart
has led the way for others.   We all know that original talk in syndication has taken a beating lately, and except for Ellen and Oprah, is on the ropes at the moment.

Certainly there are many composers who are busy in advertising in New York, although not as many as in the past.

I would say that cable television in general is certainly a growth area for composers, especially as more and more cable networks (like Sci-Fi, TNT, USA, WE Channel, Bravo, etc, etc) have moved to do more original series.

The challenge is how to do the same high level of creative work with diminishing budgets.  A lot of composers are doing shows, which are hybrids of original music and library.

The SCL, along with ASCAP, presented Young Frankenstein with John Morris, a few years back. John has made his home in New York for years, as have other great composers such as John Barry and our SCL Ambassador, David Shire, our Advisory Board Member, Alan Menken and his 2007 Oscar nominated collaborator, Stephen Schwartz. I was honored to be a part of a celebration of our Advisory Board member, Charlie Fox at the BMI offices, which was attended by a number of influential New York writers along with, Del Bryant, Doreen Ringer Ross, Linda Livingston, Alison Smith and Charlie Feldman from BMI. Charlie Fox treated us to some of his greatest hits and his engaging personality made this truly an event to remember.

ASCAP’s Michael Kerker has been instrumental in helping us enlist the Broadway and Cabaret community. We were fortunate to have Marcy Heisler on a panel that included other esteemed writers such as Mark Snow, Maria Schneider and Rob Mounsey, with Cheryl Foliart representing the studio perspective entitled, Launching and Growing Your Composing/Songwriting Career. Marcy shared her travels through the world of Cabaret that have led to a Broadway play co-written with her partner, Zina Goldrich, along with Doug Hughes and Rob Ashford entitled, Ever After. I attended the opening of our talented board member Peter Melnick’s ADRIFT IN MACAO (book & lyrics by Christopher Durang), which garnered rave reviews and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Music during its 2007 Off-Broadway run. Michael Patterson, artist in residence at NYU, and a composer. arranger and producer who, like Maria Schneider has achieved celebrity in the field of jazz in New York, has been another key figure in moving things forward in the city. I asked him to share a few thoughts, which I include here:

A composer’s point of view does change once he lives in New York for a while. New York is a live performance city! The concept of giving concerts is prominent in the psyche of the musicians here and of course this plays very strongly in the mind of the composer. Going to hear several concerts a week is not unusual. The quest for excellence in performance is part of the culture of both performer and composer. This has an interesting effect upon the artist. Not only is he required to know his craft, but is challenged to find his voice. Knowing your craft is just the beginning. I have found that the real learning goes on through my work with these amazing musicians. The default in this city seems to be to always get better at what we do. SCL is a good way to stay current and to network, and of course that is our intent here, as you know. I think the work is the prime thing here, whether it is theater, film, jazz or concert music, and bringing excellence to whichever field you are in seems to be the focus and concern here in NY- and the city is a great place to be for all artists. the city is international and you feel it when you walk out of your apartment!

Composer, Carter Burwell participated in a special event hosted by ASCAP, the Film Musicians Secondary Market, AFM Local 802 and the SCL at Columbia University entitled, Aesthetics and Collaboration. It provided a thought provoking forum that included a dialogue between Carter, director Steve Shainberg and Moderator, Alex Steyermark surrounding the movie, Fur, scored by Carter.

As the challenges to our way of doing business become more acute and our adversaries become more united in their quest to minimize the compensation for our work, it is critical that we join together in a global sense and do what we can to increase our odds of being heard. I thank those of you living outside the boundaries of California for your support of our organization and for those members on the East Coast, I would encourage you to attend our events and join with your colleagues as we continue to plan more activities in your area. New York is a special place and I applaud our colleagues that continue to make it the creative center it has historically been.

Published in THE SCORE quarterly newsletter [Vol. XXIII, Number Three, Fall 2008]