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In Ghent, film composers are the new rock stars

Ghent-badalamentiAt a time when the classic film score would appear to be an endangered species, the recently wrapped 37th Ghent Film Festival, with its movie music focus, revealed a vitality often lost in Hollywood circles.

Sure, the film composing community is a beleagured lot, all too frequently pulled into the postproduction process at the 11th hour, when budgets are almost tapped out and they are forced to create under impossible deadlines. But at Ghent, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of the World Soundtrack Awards last Saturday, the atmosphere was purely celebratory. Granted, many of the talents who were on hand represent the creme of the crop, and don’t face the struggle for recognition — and gigs — of many of their contemporaries.

If composers might be viewed as the new rock stars (and in some cases partied like rock stars), the 10th WSAs could have been viewed as the Woodstock of film music concerts, with no less than five Oscar winners represented in the program, all of them present. And while the Brussells Philharmonic has acted as Ghent’s house orchestra for some years now, with the classy Dirk Brosse wielding the baton, the audience was still able to see some of these composers outside of a scoring stage and on the public stage performing as soloists, including Gabriel Yared (“The English Patient”), Angelo Badalamenti (“Twin Peaks”) and Nico Muhly (“The Reader”) on piano, and Gustavo Santaolalla on ronroco and acoustic guitar.

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