In a continuing effort by Sony Music Group to fund social justice initiatives, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Bleeding Fingers Music have established a Screen Scoring Diversity Scholarship for Black composition students within the Screen Scoring Master’s Program at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. The scholarship aims to encourage inclusivity and expand opportunities for Black composers, which are vastly underrepresented in film and scoring.
The fund has the support of Quincy Jones who said: “I’ve wanted to score films since I was 15 years old, but it didn’t seem likely at that age. Now, as the first African American to have been nominated twice in the same year for the Best Song and Best Score Academy Award, I know that ‘first’ often means ‘only.’ To help change that narrative, I’m honored to support the new Screen Scoring Diversity Scholarship for Black Composers at USC’s Thornton School of Music. We’ve got to inspire these rugrats to know that their talents are valuable, help provide access to the tools they need, and show them that there is PLENTY of room for Black composers…and it makes my soul smile to know that’s exactly what this scholarship serves to achieve!”
Covered in the scholarship is the full cost of USC Thornton’s Screen Scoring Master’s program, including tuition, housing and meals as well as additional ancillary services. Bleeding Fingers, a top custom scoring company working across music and visual media, will also offer an apprenticeship. The company was founded by Hans Zimmer, Steve Kofsky and Russell Emanuel, who serves as president and CEO, production music.
Said Sony/ATV chairman and CEO Jon Platt: “We are proud to partner with Bleeding Fingers and USC Thornton to establish this scholarship as we work to break down barriers for Black composers. We look forward to bringing a wide range of new, creative voices to the film and scoring community, and throughout the music industry.”
“There are many barriers to becoming a composer, not least is the expense of studying at a top school,” added Zimmer. “We want to break down this wall and find some truly gifted individuals that will become role models of the future.”
“USC Thornton’s Division of Contemporary Music and Screen Scoring program are so encouraged by the commitment and generosity of our colleagues at Sony/ATV and Bleeding Fingers,” said Sean Holt, vice dean of the Division of Contemporary Music. “We are enthusiastic about the opportunity and the lasting impact this scholarship will have on our efforts to build a more inclusive screen music community.”
“This scholarship from Sony/ATV Music Publishing is extraordinary and most gratefully received,” said Daniel Carlin, director of the Screen Scoring program. “Equally important is our partnership with Bleeding Fingers Music, Hans Zimmer and partners. Recent alum Austin Hammonds is now a composer at Bleeding Fingers and already earning great success at the premier screen-music company. Such funding and working opportunities for talented Black students enhance both the Thornton music community and our professional industry. We feel blessed and truly grateful.”
Prospective applicants can learn more about the program on the USC site.