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]