Film composers honored at Beverly Hills ceremony

Film composers Rachel Portman and Terence Blanchard took top honors at Wednesday night’s Film and TV Music Awards ceremony held by Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) in Beverly Hills.

Portman, the first woman to win an original-score Oscar (“Emma,” 1996), became the first female to receive BMI’s Richard Kirk Award in its 25-year history. The honor annually goes to a top film or TV composer for career achievement. “I hope I’ll be the first of many,” she said.

“Writing music is quite simply the best job to have on a film,” she added. “We composers get to come in at the very end and add a layer of emotion and energy that can literally transform a movie.” Portman has just finished scoring “Never Let Me Go,” a thriller slated for release later this year by Fox Searchlight.

Blanchard was presented with BMI’s Classic Contribution Award for his role as educator and mentor to young jazz musicians, primarily at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, now located in his hometown of New Orleans. “It’s really about what you do,” he said, “the lives you touch with your music.”

Blanchard said he was about to start his next project with director Spike Lee: a sequel to their 2006 documentary on Hurricane Katrina, “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.”

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