On Wednesday night, the ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel was filled with so many talented heavyweights and the power players behind them that Doreen Ringer-Ross, mistress of ceremonies at the BMI Film/TV Music Awards, referred to the assembled as “a film music geek’s wet dream.”
And yet there was the name of Jon Burlingame, Variety’s go-to expert on film composers, positioned in the program just below the evening’s headliner, movie maestro Mychael Danna (“Life of Pi”), who was due to receive the Richard Kirk Award, the performing rights organization’s equivalent of a life achievement kudo.
Burlingame, a journalist and author of such books as “The Music of James Bond,” bathed in the adulation — including a filmed tribute that included Oscar-winning grand master John Williams — from a room full of people intimately familiar with his work.
“I just love what you guys do, I always have,” said Burlingame in accepting his BMI Special Citation of Appreciation. “It reaches all the way back to my childhood, listening to Jerry Goldsmith and Lalo Schifrin and John Williams and Pat Williams and Charlie Fox, first on TV and later in the movies.
“All I ever wanted to do was call attention to the part of the industry that didn’t seem to get any.”
Burlingame was obviously preaching to the converted, which included such composer heavyweights as Alexandre Desplat, Danny Elfman, Mark Isham, James Newton Howard, David Newman and Mark Mothersbaugh.
Also among those showing their support were Guild of Music Supervisors president Maureen Crowe, Universal’s head of music Mike Knobloch, agents Richard Kraft, Laura Engel, Vasi Vangelos and WME’s head of Music for Visual Media, Amos Newman, among many other notables.
As for the awards, whether it was Junkie XL receiving his first BMI award or Mike Post getting his 51st, all the working composers in attendance got a chance to emerge from the recording cave, in many cases their own, to let their hair down among peers.