×

Terence Blanchard Jazzes Up BMI Film/TV Awards With Icon Honor

Jazz artist and film composer Terence Blanchard was presented with the BMI Icon award at Wednesday night’s Film, TV and Visual Media Awards of performing-rights society Broadcast Music Inc. in Beverly Hills.

Blanchard, composer for many of Spike Lee’s films (including “Malcolm X,” “Inside Man” and the recently Oscar-nominated “BlacKkKlansman”), was honored for his “unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers,” said BMI president-CEO Mike O’Neill (pictured above, right). “His music makes powerful statements about American tragedies that must not be forgotten, while also encouraging all of us to heal.”

Said Blanchard, “We just want to express ourselves in an artistic way. We have a burning desire to say something that’s in us, and sometimes we don’t even know what it is that we’re trying to say. These projects give us room to do that.

“You are my heroes,” he told the black-tie crowd of film and TV composers. “Everything that I’ve written for the screen, you’ve inspired, whether you know it or not.”

Blanchard told Variety earlier in the evening that he had just returned from rehearsals for his opera, “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” opening June 15 in St. Louis and based on a memoir by New York Times journalist Charles M. Blow.

Its libretto was written by Kasi Lemmons, the director with whom Blanchard has collaborated on films including “Eve’s Bayou” and who is now working on a film about abolitionist Harriet Tubman that Blanchard will score later this year. Lemmons appeared in film clips congratulating Blanchard, as did directors Lee and Ron Shelton and jazz great Herbie Hancock.

Also honored was William Ross, with BMI’s Classic Contribution Award “for his outstanding work as an arranger, orchestrator, conductor, music director, composer and mentor to emerging talent.”

“Few musicians working in Hollywood know as much about the orchestra as Bill Ross,” said BMI vice president, creative, fllm, TV and visual media Doreen Ringer-Ross (above, left). “Bill has been a go-to arranger and conductor for artists in many fields,” she added, citing a who’s-who of top singers including Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Josh Groban and Michael Bublé, along with such composers as John Williams and David Foster.

Alan Silvestri, for whom Ross orchestrated dozens of films including “Forrest Gump” and “Polar Express,” called him “a consummate musician and a consummate storyteller, one of the hardest-working human beings you will ever meet.” Williams, for whom Ross adapted and conducted “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” appeared in a video, calling him “a great contributor to the music of our contemporary world.”

Earlier in the evening, Mike Steinberg, executive VP of creative & licensing, said that BMI distributed more than $1 billion in royalties to its members last year.

Much of the ceremony was devoted to presenting awards to other composers for their contributions to top-rated TV, cable and streaming programs and top-grossing movies. Atli Örvarsson received four crystal statuettes for his work on TV series “Chicago P.D.,” “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire” and “FBI.”

Other multiple winners included Tyler Bates (“The Punisher,” “Deadpool 2”), Brian Tyler (“Crazy Rich Asians,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Magnum, P.I.”), Ludwig Göransson (“Black Panther,” “Creed 2,” “Venom”), Nathan Barr (“Sneaky Pete,” “The House With a Clock in Its Walls”), Harry Gregson-Williams (“The Equalizer 2,” “The Meg”), Rob Simonsen (“The Upside,” “Blue Bloods”) and Mark Mothersbaugh (“Lego Movie 2,” “Hotel Transylvania 3”).

Standing ovations went to legendary “Mission: Impossible” composer Lalo Schifrin, who recently received an honorary Academy Award for his entire career, and Silvestri, whose “Avengers: Endgame” has already made over $1 billion worldwide.

O’Neill made oblique reference to the BMI/ASCAP dinner conflict with the line “I was across town at another party and it wasn’t as good as this one,” which drew knowing laughter from the crowd.

More Music

  • Dave NavarroGuitar Legends For Heroes Benefit,

    Primary Wave Music Publishing Acquires Stake in Dave Navarro's Catalog

    Primary Wave Music Publishing has acquired an interest in Dave Navarro’s music publishing catalog, master revenue streams, and writer’s share royalties, the company announced today. Navarro is credited as a songwriter on such hit songs as Jane’s Addiction “Been Caught Stealing” and “Jane Says” as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Aeroplane.” Said the [...]

  • This photo shows composer Hans Zimmer

    Hans Zimmer on Recreating Iconic Score: 'The Lion King' 'Brought People Together'

    Composer Hans Zimmer is seated at the mixing board at the Sony scoring stage, head bobbing to the music being performed by 107 musicians just a few yards away. He’s wearing a vintage “Lion King World Tour” T-shirt, frayed at the collar. On the giant screen behind the orchestra, two lions are bounding across the [...]

  • Dreamville Dreamers doc

    J. Cole's Watchful Eye, All-Nighters and Weed: Inside Dreamville's 'Revenge' Doc

    Having the No. 1 project in the country is old hat for J. Cole, but the instant success of Dreamville’s highly-anticipated “Revenge of the Dreamers III” collection, which features collaborations with more than 25 artists, writers and producers (among them: Cozz, Omen, Bas, J.I.D., EarthGang and Ari Lennox), took many by surprise. The first installment [...]

  • Kanye Kim Kardashian Selling Bel Air

    Kanye West, Kim Kardashian Lobbied Trump for A$AP Rocky's Release, Source Confirms

    Kanye West and Kim Kardashian lobbied President Trump to help release A$AP Rocky from jail in Sweden, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. The news was first reported by TMZ. A$AP Rocky (real name: Rakim Myers) has been behind bars in the country since July 2 after being involved in an altercation [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs

    Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs Permit Yet Again

    For better or worse, Woodstock 50 isn’t giving up on Vernon Downs, despite being rejected twice already: The producers have applied for another permit to hold the festival at Vernon Downs, according to the Utica Observer Dispatch. Town Attorney Vincent Rossi confirmed the application was submitted Wednesday. This is the festival’s third application; previous applications [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content