In an effort to boost awareness of the role music composers play in television, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will sponsor its first-ever live concert on May 21 at UCLA’s Royce Hall.
A 70-piece orchestra and 40-voice choir are expected to perform music by at least nine active TV composers, including John Lunn (“Downton Abbey”), Jeff Beal (“House of Cards”), Bear McCreary (“Da Vinci’s Demons”), Trevor Morris (“The Borgias”) and Ramin Djawadi (“Game of Thrones” pictured).
ATAS’ event will follow a similar performance of Oscar-nommed songs and scores set for Thursday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences at the same venue. However, the TV Acad’s concert will come well before this year’s Primetime Emmy noms are unveiled on July 10.
For the performance, Lunn will fly in from London to conduct his “Downton” suite for orchestra. The rest of the participants are L.A.-based.
Also expected to be included are Alf Clausen (“The Simpsons”), Walter Murphy (“Family Guy”), Sean Callery (“Elementary”) and James Levine (“American Horror Story”). All are expected to conduct suites of their own music from current series and others of the recent past.
Mark Watters is slated to conduct a medley of recent TV themes other than those being performed by the named composers.
“X-Files” and “Blue Bloods” composer Mark Snow, a TV veteran and 15-time Emmy nominee, will receive a lifetime achievement award, said Michael Levine, ATAS music governor and one of the producers of the concert. A medley of Snow’s music will also be performed.
Levine said the concert would be free to Acad members and their guests, but also open to the public at no charge (an RSVP line is expected to be posted closer to the show). A host is yet to be named, but “celebrities from the individual shows will introduce each segment, some live, some on videotape,” he added.
The concept – in discussion for more than a year, Levine said – originated as part of the ATAS music branch’s desire to press for greater respect for composers and music in TV.
“Most people know that L.A. produces great film scores,” Levine said. “Not everyone is aware that great music composed for television is also produced and recorded here. This is music that connects the art of storytelling with its emotional core, that transforms a sequence of events into something soul-touching.”
Levine said he didn’t want to give away too many surprises, but he did note that they are planning “several exciting stunts” associated with the shows whose music will be performed that evening. He also said that if this first event is successful, hopes are to turn it into an annual event.
Levine, Watters and Lucas Cantor are exec producers; Spike Jones Jr. will be producer-director.