IFMCA members participate in the 2016 Harpa Awards for Best Nordic Film Score

harpaIFMCA members Stefanos Tsarouchas and Thor Joachim Haga were present at this year’s Harpa Awards in Berlin, Germany.

by Thor Joachim Haga

On February 15, the Nordic film music industry once again gathered to celebrate the best scores of 2015 during this year’s Harpa Awards and the Nordic Film Music Days in Berlin, Germany. This event has previously been hosted in different Nordic countries, but was moved to coincide with the Berlinale film festival this year.

Unlike the last Harpa award in Helsinki, Finland (read report here), there was no symphonic concert to cap off the proceedings, nor any seminars or international guest composers. Instead, a red carpet event was hosted at the Nordic embassies in the German capital. This is an exclusive gala event not open to the public – mostly intended as a mingling party for composers and industry – but still managed to attain a level of importance and a necessary window for the Nordic film music scene. Another new feature was a collaboration with the event Northern Lights Talents, promoting Nordic actors and actresses.

After the red carpet photo shoot (see a selection of photos below), there was the award ceremony itself. The film music nominees were:

Best Film Score of the Year:

  • Idealisten (Jonas Struck, Denmark)
  • Solan og Ludvig: Herfra til Flåklypa (Knut Avenstroup Haugen, Norway)
  • The Midwife/Kätilö (Pessi Levanto, Finland)
  • Flocken (Lisa Holmqvist, Sweden)
  • Rams/Hrutar (Atli Örvarsson, Iceland)

Honor Award (Best Overall Output of the Year):

  • Frans Bak (Denmark)
  • Ginge Anvik (Norway)
  • Lauri Porra (Finland)
  • Adam Nordén (Sweden)
  • Johann Johannsson (Iceland)

The ceremony was hosted by Danish composer Halfdan E and Linda Steinhoff of Northern Lights Promotion.

Unsurprisingly, given the popularity of Icelandic films and culture these days, the winners were Atli Örvarsson for Rams in the first category, and the Oscar-nominated Johann Johannsson in the second. While both are brilliant composers deserving of their award, it also begs the question if there is a tendency, more generally, to overrate the ‘exoticism’ of Iceland at the cost of a more levelheaded filmatic or musical evaluation. In particular, it seems like a “Nordic sound” (if there is one) is often associated with the more exploratory, ambient textures of the island nation. In the jury were Thomas Robsahm (Norway), Konrad Sommermeyer (Germany) and Christine Auf Der Haar (Switzerland).

After the ceremony, a big party was held at the second floor of the embassies, featuring a live performance of selections from Idealisten by composers Jonas Struck and Asger Baden.

Present at event were IFMCA member Stefan Tsarouchas and Thor Joachim Haga. Stefan interviewed several of the visiting composers, while Thor was there primarily as a member of the Norwegian pre-jury.

This year’s Nordic Film Music Days and Harpa awards was a leaner version than previous years, for which there might be economic reasons. I miss the seminars and the lush concert, and one or two international ‘film music stars’ to add a pinch of glamour to the proceedings. Still, as long as it’s an internal event, it makes the content more focussed and to-the-point. There are arguments to be made for both sides. In either case, the collaboration between the Berlinale and the Nordic Film Music Days seems to be set for the foreseeable future. We’re already looking forward to next year!

All photos below courtesy of Lea Buragiewicz / Marco Di Filippo (Lights Promotion)

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IFMCA Award Winners 2015

INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF 2015 IFMCA AWARDS; JOHN WILLIAMS WINS THREE AWARDS FOR STAR WARS

theforceawakensThe International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2015, in the 2015 IFMCA Awards.

The award for Score of the Year goes to composer John Williams for his work on the massively popular and successful epic science fiction fantasy “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” from director J. J. Abrams. IFMCA member James Southall said that “the Force remains strong in John Williams and long may it continue” and called the score “glorious,” while IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen called the score “a powerfully melodic and excitingly complex piece of grand artistry from an era of greatness that only John Williams in top form could deliver.” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is also named Best Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film, and wins the Film Music Composition of the Year award for the film’s conclusive end credits suite, “The Jedi Steps and Finale”. These are the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth IFMCA Awards of Williams’s career, and it marks the third time he has been awarded Score of the Year, after “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005, and “War Horse” in 2011.

Composer Michael Giacchino is named Composer of the Year, having written four outstanding works spanning multiple genres in the past year. His work in 2015 includes scoring the emotional Disney/Pixar film “Inside Out,” which is also named Best Score for an Animated Film; the ambitious science fiction adventure “Jupiter Ascending,” which was nominated in multiple genres including Score of the Year; the fantastical adventure “Tomorrowland,” which was nominated for Film Music Composition of the Year; and the massively successful action-adventure “Jurassic World,” which built on John Williams’s score for the first film featuring genetically modified dinosaurs running amok in a lavish theme park. IFMCA member Karol Krok called “Inside Out” “enjoyable and endearing,” while IFMCA member Charlie Brigden said that “Jurassic World” “displays just how much of a command [Giacchino] has over a modern symphony”. These are the thirteenth and fourteenth IFMCA Awards of Giacchino’s career, and it marks the third time he has been named Composer of the Year, following his previous wins in 2004 and 2009.

The IFMCA’s ongoing recognition of emerging talent in the film music world this year spotlights Italian composer Maurizio Malagnini, who is named Breakthrough Composer of the Year. Malagnini has been working primarily in world of British television since he first emerged onto the scene in 2010, writing scores for popular shows such as “Muddle Earth,” “The Body Farm,” “The Paradise,” and “Call the Midwife,” but really impressed IFMCA members this year with his first major film score for a new version of the classic Peter Pan story, “Peter & Wendy”. IFMCA member Jon Broxton called “Peter & Wendy” “undoubtedly one of the best scores of 2015”, while IFMCA member Peter Simons described the score as being “so infectious, so colourful, playful and utterly charming”.

The various other genre awards are won by James Horner for the epic Chinese-language drama “Wolf Totem”; Douglas Pipes for the mischievous and malevolent Christmas comedy “Krampus”; Joe Kraemer for the exciting retro action score for “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”; and Steven Price for his music for the BBC nature documentary “The Hunt”.

In the non-film categories, Argentine composer Federico Jusid wins the award for Best Original Score for a Television Series for the third year in a row, this time for his astonishing score for the Spanish historical TV drama “Carlos, Rey Emperador,” the sequel to the multi-award winning “Isabel,” while composer Austin Wintory wins the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media for his groundbreaking work on “Assassin’s Creed” Syndicate”, a score which not only includes classical dances used as action cues, but also a number of original ‘murder ballads’ penned in collaboration with Australian musical comedy group Tripod.

Oakland, California-based Intrada Records is named Film Music Record Label of the Year in recognition of their ongoing excellence in restoring and releasing the most beloved film scores of the past, while film music historian and writer Jon Burlingame wins the Archival Compilation award for the wonderful box set of music from the original 1960s “Mission: Impossible” he produced for La-La Land Records. Interestingly, both the Archival Re-Release and Re-Recording categories are won by different versions of Bernard Herrmann’s 1976 score for the psychological thriller “Obsession” – firstly, the outstanding release of the original score tracks by French label Music Box Records and producers George Litto, Laurent Lafarge, and Cyril Durand-Roger; and secondly, the magnificent re-recording of the entire score by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nic Raine, and produced by James Fitzpatrick for Tadlow Music.

Finally, the IFMCA has decided to bestow a rare Special Award on the late James Horner, for his classical work “Pas de Deux”. The piece is a double concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra, and was commissioned by the Norwegian brother/sister musical duo Mari Samuelsen and Hakon Samuelsen. The work was released through Mercury Classics and Universal Music in May 2015, and represented the first of several anticipated major excursions into pure classical music – what would have been a new and exciting phase in the composer’s musical career, especially since his first, abortive attempts in the late 1970s and early 1980s failed to ignite the public’s imagination. Sadly, with the composer’s tragic death in a plane crash in June, it also represents ‘what might have been,’ and this award is intended to be a tribute in recognition the composer’s life and work, and all the great unheard music that died with him.

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COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS

FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • Michael Giacchino

BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • Maurizio Malagnini

FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR

  • “The Jedi Steps and Finale” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM

  • Wolf Totem, music by James Horner

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM

  • Krampus, music by Douglas Pipes

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM

  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, music by Joe Kraemer

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Inside Out, music by Michael Giacchino

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY

  • The Hunt, music by Steven Price

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION SERIES

  • Carlos, Rey Emperador, music by Federico Jusid

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, music by Austin Wintory

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RELEASE OF AN EXISTING SCORE

  • Obsession; music by Bernard Herrmann, album produced by George Litto, Laurent Lafarge, and Cyril Durand-Roger, liner notes by Daniel Schweiger, album art direction by David Marques (Music Box)

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RECORDING OF AN EXISTING SCORE

  • Obsession; music by Bernard Herrmann, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Nic Raine, album produced by James Fitzpatrick, liner notes by Christopher Husted, album art direction by Matthew Wright and Damien Doherty (Tadlow)

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – COMPILATION

  • Mission: Impossible – The Television Scores; music by Various Artists, album produced by Jon Burlingame, liner notes by Jon Burlingame, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (La-La Land)

FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR

  • Intrada Records, Douglass Fake, Roger Feigelson

SPECIAL AWARD

  • Pas de Deux, classical work by James Horner, commissioned by violinist Mari Samuelsen and cellist Hakon Samuelsen

IFMCA Award Nominations 2015

INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED; OCTOGENARIAN VETERANS JOHN WILLIAMS AND ENNIO MORRICONE LEAD THE FIELD, MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS FOR MICHAEL GIACCHINO, LATE JAMES HORNER

FEBRUARY 4, 2016. The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2015, for the 12th annual IFMCA Awards. The most nominated composers are industry veterans John Williams and Ennio Morricone, as well as Michael Giacchino, and the late James Horner.

83-year old John Williams receives four nominations, all for his score for the smash hit sci-fi adventure “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” directed by J. J. Abrams, which is nominated for Score of the Year, Best Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror score, and Film Music Composition of the Year. Williams also receives a personal nomination as Composer of the Year. Williams has previously been nominated for 31 IFMCA Awards, winning on 12 occasions, including Score of the Year for “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005 and “War Horse” in 2011.

87-year old Italian legend Ennio Morricone receives four nominations; three for his score from director Quentin Tarantino’s dark western “The Hateful Eight,” which is recognized in the Score of the Year, Best Drama score, and Film Music Composition of the Year categories, and one for himself as Composer of the Year. Morricone has been nominated for IFMCA Awards on seven previous occasions; his last Score of the Year nomination was in 1999, for “La Leggenda del Pianista sull’Oceano [The Legend of 1900]”.

Michael Giacchino’s nominations are split between three works: the moving Disney-Pixar animated film “Inside Out,” which is nominated for Best Animation score; the ambitious science fiction epic “Jupiter Ascending,” which is nominated for Score of the Year and Best Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror score; and the fantasy adventure “Tomorrowland,” which is nominated in the Film Music Composition of the Year category. Giacchino has previously been nominated for a total of 31 IFMCA Awards, winning twelve of them. He won the Best Score award in 2004 for “The Incredibles,” in 2009 for “Up,” and was named Composer of the Year in both those years.

James Horner, who was tragically killed in a plane crash this past June, receives three nominations for his score for the Chinese-language drama “Wolf Totem” directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, which is recognized in the Score of the Year, Best Drama score, and Film Music Composition of the Year categories. Horner is also nominated as Composer of the Year, and in so doing becomes the first composer to be nominated in this category posthumously. Prior to this year, Horner’s lifetime IFMCA tally stood at 14 nominations, with one win, for “The Mask of Zorro,” in 1998.

The other nominee for Score of the Year is Patrick Doyle’s score for the romantic Disney fantasy “Cinderella,” while the other composer vying for the title of Composer of the Year is Daniel Pemberton, who wrote several outstanding scores in 2015, including the big-screen reboot of the 1960s spy thriller franchise “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” and “Steve Jobs,” a dramatic look at the inner workings of the Apple corporation across several decades.

Each year the IFMCA goes out of its way to recognize emerging talent in the film music world, and this year is no exception. The nominees in the Breakthrough Composer of the Year category include the alternative pop group Cat’s Eyes – comprising English musician Faris Badwan and Italian-Canadian soprano/composer/instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira – who wrote a dream-like score for the experimental British erotic film “The Duke of Burgundy”; British composer Gareth Coker, for his immensely popular score for the video game “Ori and the Blind Forest”; Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson, who brought the spirit of Rocky Balboa back to life with his score for the boxing drama “Creed”; Italian composer Maurizio Malagnini, whose scores for the British fantasy film “Peter and Wendy,” as well as the popular TV series “Call the Midwife,” caught the attention of the group; and Spanish composer Diego Navarro, whose score for the animated film “Atrapa la Bandera [Capture the Flag]” was a rousing celebration of the heroism of space exploration.

As it has in previous years, the IFMCA takes pride in honoring composers from across the film music world; this year’s international nominees include French composer Armand Amar for his score from the expansive documentary feature “Human,” Hungarian composer Robert Gulya for his charming music for the adventurous Mark Twain adaptation “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,” Argentine composer Federico Jusid for his superb work on the Spanish TV series “Carlos, Rey Emperador” (the sequel to the multi-IFMCA Award-winning “Isabel”), veteran French composer Michel Legrand for his delightful score for the comedy “La Rançon de la Gloire [The Price of Fame],” Spanish composer Fernando Velázquez for his chilling work on the beautiful gothic horror film “Crimson Peak,” and French-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared for his score for the poetic and philosophical animated film “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet”.

Several other composers are receiving their first ever IFMCA Award nominations this year, including Jessica Curry (“Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture,” Video Game), Bryce Dessner (“The Revenant,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), Darren Fung (“The Great Human Odyssey,” Documentary), Tom Holkenborg (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror), Joshua Johnson (“I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story,” Documentary), Joe Kraemer (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), Matthew Margeson (“Kingsman: The Secret Service,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), Alva Noto (“The Revenant,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), and Ryuichi Sakamoto (“The Revenant,” Action/Adventure/Thriller).

The International Film Music Critics Association will announce the winners of the 12th IFMCA Awards on February 18, 2016.

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FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR

  • Cinderella, music by Patrick Doyle
  • The Hateful Eight, music by Ennio Morricone
  • Jupiter Ascending, music by Michael Giacchino
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams
  • Wolf Totem, music by James Horner

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • Michael Giacchino
  • James Horner
  • Ennio Morricone
  • Daniel Pemberton
  • John Williams

BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • Cat’s Eyes (Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira)
  • Gareth Coker
  • Ludwig Göransson
  • Maurizio Malagnini
  • Diego Navarro

FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR

  • “L’Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock” from The Hateful Eight, music by Ennio Morricone
  • “Brothers in Arms” from Mad Max: Fury Road, music by Tom Holkenborg
  • “The Jedi Steps and Finale” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams
  • “Pin-Ultimate Experience” from Tomorrowland, music by Michael Giacchino
  • “Return to the Wild” from Wolf Totem, music by James Horner

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM

  • Carol, music by Carter Burwell
  • Creed, music by Ludwig Göransson
  • Far From the Madding Crowd, music by Craig Armstrong
  • The Hateful Eight, music by Ennio Morricone
  • Wolf Totem, music by James Horner

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM

  • Krampus, music by Douglas Pipes
  • The Lady in the Van, music by George Fenton
  • La Rançon de la Gloire [The Price of Fame], music by Michel Legrand
  • The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, music by Thomas Newman
  • Spy, music by Theodore Shapiro

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM

  • Kingsman: The Secret Service, music by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E., music by Daniel Pemberton
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, music by Joe Kraemer
  • The Revenant, music by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto, and Bryce Dessner
  • Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, music by Robert Gulya

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM

  • Cinderella, music by Patrick Doyle
  • Crimson Peak, music by Fernando Velázquez
  • Jupiter Ascending, music by Michael Giacchino
  • Mad Max: Fury Road, music by Tom Holkenborg
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, music by John Williams

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Atrapa la Bandera [Capture the Flag], music by Diego Navarro
  • Gamba, music by Benjamin Wallfisch
  • The Good Dinosaur, music by Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna
  • Inside Out, music by Michael Giacchino
  • Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, music by Gabriel Yared

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY

  • The Great Human Odyssey, music by Darren Fung
  • He Named Me Malala, music by Thomas Newman
  • Human, music by Armand Amar
  • The Hunt, music by Steven Price
  • I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story, music by Joshua Johnson

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION SERIES

  • Carlos, Rey Emperador, music by Federico Jusid
  • Fargo, music by Jeff Russo
  • Outlander, music by Bear McCreary
  • Texas Rising, music by Bruce Broughton and John Debney
  • Wolf Hall, music by Debbie Wiseman

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, music by Austin Wintory
  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, music by Jessica Curry
  • Ori and the Blind Forest, music by Gareth Coker
  • Revelation, music by Neal Acree
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide, music by Geoff Knorr, Griffin Cohen, and Grant Kirkhope

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RELEASE OF AN EXISTING SCORE

  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence; music by John Williams, album produced by Mike Matessino, liner notes by Jeff Bond, album art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)
  • Braveheart; music by James Horner, album produced by Dan Goldwasser and Mike Matessino, liner notes by Jeff Bond, album art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)
  • Dances With Wolves; music by John Barry, album produced by Didier C. Deutsch, Mark G. Wilder, and Ford A. Thaxton, liner notes by Randall D. Larson, album art direction by Mark Banning (La-La Land)
  • Jaws; music by John Williams, album produced by Mike Matessino, liner notes by Scott Bettencourt, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (Intrada)
  • Obsession; music by Bernard Herrmann, album produced by George Litto, Laurent Lafarge, and Cyril Durand-Roger, liner notes by Daniel Schweiger, album art direction by David Marques (Music Box)

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RECORDING OF AN EXISTING SCORE

  • Back in Time: 1985 at the Movies; music by Various Artists, performed by the Varèse Sarabande Symphony Orchestra cond. David Newman, album produced by Robert Townson, liner notes by Robert Townson, album art direction by Robert Townson, Bill Pitzonka, and Matthew Joseph Peak (Varèse Sarabande)
  • Concert Suites/Music For Films; music by Fernando Velázquez, performed by the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra and Landarbaso Chorus cond. Fernando Velázquez, album produced by Fernando Velázquez and José M. Benitez, liner notes by Fernando Velázquez, Koldo Serra, Juan Antonio Bayona, and Oskar Santos, album art direction by Nacho B. Govantes (Quartet)
  • Obsession; music by Bernard Herrmann, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Nic Raine, album produced by James Fitzpatrick, liner notes by Christopher Husted, album art direction by Matthew Wright and Damien Doherty (Tadlow)
  • Sodom and Gomorrah; music by Miklós Rózsa, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Nic Raine, album produced by James Fitzpatrick, liner notes by Frank K. DeWald, album art direction by Matthew Wright, James Fitzpatrick and Ginko Digi (Tadlow/Prometheus)
  • The Music of Patrick Doyle for Solo Piano; music by Patrick Doyle, performed by Patrick Doyle, album produced by Patrick Doyle and Robert Townson, liner notes by Patrick Doyle, album art direction by Robert Townson and Bill Pitzonka (Varèse Sarabande)

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – COMPILATION

  • Alan Silvestri: World Soundtrack Awards; music by Alan Silvestri, album produced by Sian Bolland and Reynold d’Silva, liner notes by Raf Butstraen, album art direction by Stuart Ford (Film Fest Gent/Silva Screen)
  • Double Indemnity: Film Noir at Paramount; music by Various Artists, album produced by Lukas Kendall, liner notes by Scott Bettencourt, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (Intrada)
  • Lost in Space: 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Collection; music by Various Artists, album produced by Jeff Bond and Neil S. Bulk, liner notes by Jeff Bond, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (La-La Land)
  • Mission: Impossible – The Television Scores; music by Various Artists, album produced by Jon Burlingame, liner notes by Jon Burlingame, album art direction by Joe Sikoryak (La-La Land)
  • Walt Disney Records: The Legacy Collection; music by Various Artists, album produced by Randy Thornton, liner notes by Various, album art direction by Lorelay Bové (Disney)

FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR

  • Intrada Records, Douglass Fake, Roger Feigelson
  • La-La Land Records, MV Gerhard, Matt Verboys
  • Quartet Records, José M. Benitez
  • Tadlow Music, James Fitzpatrick
  • Varése Sarabande, Robert Townson

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The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) is an association of online, print and radio journalists who specialize in writing and broadcasting about original film, television and game music.

Since its inception the IFMCA has grown to comprise over 65 members from countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Previous IFMCA Score of the Year Awards have been awarded to Hans Zimmer’s “Interstellar” in 2014, Abel Korzeniowski’s “Romeo & Juliet” in 2013, Mychael Danna’s “Life of Pi” in 2012, John Williams’s “War Horse” in 2011, John Powell’s “How to Train Your Dragon” in 2010, Michael Giacchino’s “Up” in 2009, Alexandre Desplat’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2008, Dario Marianelli’s “Atonement” in 2007, James Newton Howard’s “Lady in the Water” in 2006, John Williams’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005 and Michael Giacchino’s “The Incredibles” in 2004.

For more information about the International Film Music Critics Association go to www.filmmusiccritics.org , visit our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter @ifmca, or contact us at press@filmmusiccritics.org.

IFMCA members attend Gent Film Festival, World Soundtrack Awards

ghentlogoThe beautiful city of Gent once again hosted the Film Fest Gent, with the World Soundtrack Awards taking place for the fifteenth time this year. Various members of the IFMCA flocked to the Belgian city like bees to honey. Those ‘flocking bees’ included Eleni Mitsiaki (Kinetophone), Thor Joachim Haga (Celluloid Tunes), Bregt de Lange (MainTitles), Thomas Glorieux (MainTitles), Olivier Desbrosses (Underscores), Paul Stevelmans (Score) and Pete Simons (Synchrotones).

The WSA ceremony and concert took place on Saturday 24th October. Its central guest was Alan Silvestri, whose “Back to the Future” is celebrating its 30th anniversary (you may have seen something about ‘back to the future day’ in the media…), whilst his latest film “The Walk” had its premiere at the start of the festival, with the music making its live debut during the closing concert. To commemorate to occasion, the WSA in collaboration with Silva Screen Records have released a compilation album. It was recorded with nearly 90 members of the Brussels Philharmonic and a 24-piece Flemish Radio Choir. On paper, that doesn’t read like a big choir, but they’ve got a good set of lungs between them! In a surprise move, the producers turned to crowd-funding to raise monies towards the recording. It’s a little sad to think that this was deemed necessary, and even sadder to see that only seventy-two people backed the project, raising only a third of its target. The recording went ahead anyway, and was released with nice packaging and liner notes from various contributors.

The concert deviated slightly from the album, and programmed the following titles:

01. The Polar Express (“Suite”) – The performance was assured and vibrant, which the choir sitting prominently in the mix. It was a faithful rendition of the original version, though the “Spirit of the Season” section was slowed down just a little.
02. Forrest Gump (“Suite”) – A nine-minute suite that followed the original suite. It was performed flawlessly, with the choir lending the “The Crimson Gump”-section an epic character.
03. Mousehunt (“Suite”) – It’s such a playful piece, so colourfully orchestrated; and Brossé and his orchestra did it great justice. Kudos to the bassoonists here!
04. The Quick and the Dead (“Main Theme”) – Great to see this in the line-up, as it’s a wonderful but slightly overlooked score. The performance was spot-on with a particularly big sound coming from the brass section.
05. Back to the Future (“Suite”) – Celebrating its 30th anniversary, of course this one was present. It received a confident performance, with the brass section giving it their all. Though, the structure of the suite was a little messy.
06. The Walk (“Suite”) – conducted by Alan Silvestri, this one received a extra-lengthy suite, offering all the themes, all of the beauty and all of the restrained epicness.
07. Predator (“End Title”) – It was quite surprising and a little daunting to see this on the playlist, as many orchestras have struggled with that odd metered rhythm. However, The Brussel Philharmonic got it exactly right and really kicked ass with this one.
08. The Mummy Returns (“Main Title”) – this seemed to follow the original end titles, with its soaring string lines, ethnic percussion and some seriously evil brass and choir parts. Simply put, Brossé and his posse absolutely nailed this cue.

Most of these were lengthy suites, with “The Walk” replacing “Cosmos”, “Cast Away” and “The Avengers”. The composer took to the stage himself to conduct “The Walk” in a calm, almost understated manner; as opposed to Dirk Brossé’s more flamboyant style of conducting.

The performance by the Brussels Philharmonic and the Flemmish Radio Choir was outstanding, as the accompanying CD will prove. They effortlessly worked their way through Silvestri’s often fast-paced, energetic compositions. With the selected titles, the WSA have highlighted Silvestri’s versatility, spanning several genres from comedy to western to drama and adventure.

The evening started with several awards, after all that’s why there’s an A in WSA. There were a few genuine surprises, with Antonio Sanchez winning both the awards for Discovery Of The Year and Best Film Score Of The Year for “Birdman”. He thanked this Academy for the recognition, putting a strong emphasis on ‘this’, as if to suggest there is another Academy that didn’t recognise his work… John Paesano took home the Public Choice Award for “The Maze Runner”, whilst Paul Williams and Gustavo Santaolalla won the Best Original Song category with “The Apology Song” from “Book of Life”. Earlier in the evening, Peer Kleinschmidt won the SABAM Award for Most Original Composition by a Young International Composer (this was part of a composing competition that the WSA organises each year).

Michael Giacchino won Composer of the Year and, in his pre-recorded acceptance speech, made a point of saying he would love to come to Gent. The ever jolly Patrick Doyle received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Dirk Brossé explained that the award was not simply about the number of years someone’s been active, but that it’s about legacy and the cultural footprint that a composer has left behind.

The first half of the concert included music from Lifetime Achievement Award winner Doyle, who had two lively pieces from “Cinderella” performed, as well as “Nom Nobis” from “Henry V” and the full 10-minute “Grand Central” from “Carlito’s Way” synced live to picture. It was a master-class in film scoring. Last year’s Discovery of the Year Daniel Pemberton also had three wonderful pieces performed from “The Counsellor”, “Steve Jobs” and “The Awakening”.

The Meet and the Greet

Earlier that day, just a mile or two up the road in the beautiful Kinepolis cinema, a “meet and greet” took place with composers Alan Silvestri, Patrick Doyle and last year’s Discovery Daniel Pemberton. Conductor and composer Dirk Brossé also took part. Patrick Duynslaegher hosted a panel discussion, which prompted several hilarious stories. Doyle talked about his friend Stanley Meyers and how Stanley had been left heart-broken after being fired from “Soapdish”, not realising that Silvestri ended up scoring that film. It left Silvestri blushing, trying to hide under his black leather jacket. Doyle also spoke of director Brian Da Palma and how little direction he gives to composers. Doyle mused “he told me to go away [and write the music] and come back later”. Silvestri retorted “I’m envious. He told me to go away, and then told me to go away again”, referring to his rejection from “Mission: Impossible”.

Both dismissed the notion of any significant changes in film music, when an audience member asked about their thoughts on the ostinati and ‘horns of doom’ that dominated current movies. Doyle explained that there is nothing new in film scoring these days, and that ostinati have been around since Bach’s time. Only the emphasis on certain techniques may vary over time. He mentioned that “it’s all music” and that they, as composers, have to pick their projects. Doyle noted he picks those projects where he feels he can have fun. He insinuated he frequently declines projects because he feels he wouldn’t enjoy the process. Silvestri added that they are writing music today, for today’s audiences and today’s sensibilities. Brossé did admit that modern directors seem scared of melodies and that even three notes can be too much for some. When asked to describe Silvestri’s and Doyle’s musical styles, Brossé complimented the composers on their orchestral writing, saying that just reading the score feels like coming home (he was referring to his background in classical music).

Doyle and Silvestri both talked about director collaborations, especially those with Brannagh and Zemeckis respectively. However it was a story of Doyle working with Brian da Palma that got everybody laughing. “He started reading the score. Not listening. Reading! I was shitting myself”, told Doyle. “If you’re working for someone like that, you had better up your game”. Silvestri talked of Bob Zemeckis and how he changed his live “artistically and financially”. He talked about how clever Zemeckis really is, how every little detail in the film works towards conveying a message and that the music is very much part of that. He talked about “The Walk” and explained how he avoided the actual ‘walk’ sequence of film. “I was scoring every other scene, just to avoid the actual walk. But what you hear during the walk needs to be reflected earlier in the film. Bob told me… you gotta go on the wire”. He explained it was a difficult sequence to score. “This is the action piece of this movie, yet we’re hundreds of feet up in the air with only the sound of wind and occasional dialogue”.

However, Daniel Pemberton was seemingly not allowed to talk about long-standing working relationships, as he clearly can’t have any yet, if moderator Duynslaegher is to be believed. He put his hand on Pemberton’s arm and said “we’ll ask you this question in a few years’ time”. Presumably it was all in good jest, but from the audience’s point-of-view Duynslaegher’s moderation came across as clumsy and sometimes awkward. It seemed like Pemberton was being treated like a fifth wheel, yet when you hear his music for “Steve Jobs” and “The Awakening” it becomes abundantly clear that he is a tremendously versatile and talented composer.

Things got a little awkward when a member of the audience asked whether he could do an internship with any of the present composers. Doyle jokingly called him “a cheeky bastard… you got the job!” The Scot went on to give a, surprisingly, sensible answer saying you need to have a good, basic understanding of music, harmonies, counterpoint, etcetera. Silvestri smirked “the only thing I would add to that is: no”. Pemberton explained he does everything himself so doesn’t need an assistant. “Besides”, he said, “why would you want to clean up someone else’s mess? Make your own mess. It’s more fun and you learn much more.”

Doyle was asked why he abandoned all of Williams’ themes when he scored “Harry Potter”? Doyle kind of talked around the answer, but mentioned he considers each project very carefully and assesses what his role is going to be. Can he bring his own ideas or is he merely going to be an orchestrator? He also joked that his kids forced him into accepting the job, just so they could go to school and say “guess what my dad is doing? Only Harry ****ing Potter!”

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IFMCA member Brian Satterwhite Celebrates 500th Show of Film Score Focus

180556_10150104826072871_2387641_nHost and producer Brian Satterwhite will celebrate his 500th episode of radio show ‘Film Score Focus’ on Friday, November 13th at 8 p.m. on KMFA 89.5.

This special anniversary show will be an extended two-hour episode, and will feature a retrospective look at the show’s history, candid interviews from the local film community, and fan giveaways.

“When I recorded my first episode of ‘Film Score Focus’ back in 2005, I never could have imagined I would eventually go on to produce 500 shows,” said host Satterwhite. “I was simply doing my best to get through one!”

10 years later, ‘Film Score Focus’ continues to take the listener on a weekly tour of film music from around the globe. Every show is organized with a central theme or “focus” that offers the listener a unique perspective into the world of film music. The show has covered topics such as a tribute to late film composer James Horner when he passed away in June of 2015, music from movies nominated for Academy Awards, and even an exploration of scores from movies about food.

“Luckily for all of us,” Satterwhite said, “there is still so much more film music to enjoy which makes getting to 1000 shows a genuine possibility.”

Producer and host Brian Satterwhite is also a film composer himself. He has written scores for over one hundred short and feature films, including “Artois The Goat” (2009), “Quarter To Noon” (2008) and the award-winning IMAX™ film “Ride Around The World” (2006).

“Film music is a unique art form deserving of its own attention and praise,” said Satterwhite. “During the past ten years, KMFA has been its steadfast champion and I feel wholly blessed to have had the opportunity to share my passion with Austin, and thanks to the internet, the entire world.”

‘Film Score Focus’ airs Friday nights at 9 p.m. on KMFA 89.5, with an encore episode on Saturday at 5 p.m. Shows are archived online for on-demand listening, and are available on kmfa.org.

This report was originally published at http://www.kmfa.org/pages/809-producer-brian-satterwhite-celebrates-500th-show-of-film-score-focus