May 24, 2007
George S. Clinton Receives BMI's Film/TV Career Achievement Award
Lucas Richman honored for heading BMI Conducting Workshop by Jon Burlingame
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—George S. Clinton was honored with a career achievement award before a crowd of 700 composers and songwriters at the annual Film and TV Music Award dinner of Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Wednesday night, May 16, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Clinton, Grammy-nominated composer of all three Austin Powers films, such popular comedies as The Santa Clause 2 and 3, and notable television projects from Red Shoe Diaries to HBO's current Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, accepted the Richard Kirk Award from BMI President and CEO Del Bryant and Vice President for Film/TV Relations Doreen Ringer Ross.
In accepting, Clinton quipped that "nowadays, just having a career is an achievement." He was also honored with a video tribute featuring many of the directors with whom he has worked over the years, including John Waters (A Dirty Shame), who said "he hears us all and he knows where we're coming from"; Jay Roach (the Austin Powers films), who added that "he's all about the story."
Offering humorous moments in the video reel were funk musician George Clinton, who noted that "we get each other's checks"; and actor Cheech Marin, who recalled Clinton – the film composer – scoring the Cheech & Chong 1980s pot comedies Still Smokin' and The Corsican Brothers (with Clinton actually appearing in the latter).
Quincy Jones, whose 1962 "Soul Bossa Nova" was reintroduced in the first Austin Powers film and became a popular hit as a result, sent a note of congratulations to Clinton that said "keep that mojo working"; and Austin Powers star Mike Myers sent a note calling Clinton "a huge fun hang."
Honored with BMI's Classic Contribution Award was conductor Lucas Richman, music director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and conductor for such film scores as As Good As It Gets, Seven and The Village. Richman this year marks his 10th anniversary of leading the BMI Conducting Workshop in Los Angeles.
The workshop is an intense, two-week course for working film and TV composers who wish to hone their conducting skills. Richman told the crowd: "It's so important to me that the music you create is brought out in the best possible manner."
Ringer Ross also paid tribute to the late Basil Poledouris, Emmy-winning composer of Lonesome Dove and composer of such film-score classics as Conan the Barbarian, The Hunt for Red October and Robocop, who died of cancer in November. She called him "a deep, complex, passionate man... a musician and poet, a surfer and avid sailor... always a truth-seeker." She recalled being with him in Spain last year when he conducted the reconstructed Conan score before "700 adoring fans... it was his glorious swansong," she said.
Among the film composers honored were Gustavo Santaolalla (Babel), Teddy Castellucci (Little Man), John Murphy (Miami Vice), Aaron Zigman (Bridge to Terabithia), Theodore Shapiro (The Devil Wears Prada), Charlie Clouser (Saw 3), David Newman (Norbit), Christopher Young (Ghost Rider), Rupert Gregson-Williams (Over the Hedge), Alex Wurman (Talladega Nights), John Ottman (Superman Returns) and Tyler Bates (300).
Many television composers were also honored, among them David Schwartz (Rules of Engagement), Marty Davich (ER), Jeff Beal (Ugly Betty), Mike Post (Law & Order: SUV), Peter Manning Robinson (Without a Trace), Brian Kirk (NCIS), Bill Brown (CSI: NY), Mark Mancina (Criminal Minds), Kevin Kiner (CSI: Miami) and Edward Shearer (Masters of Horror).
According to Bryant, BMI now represents the music on more than 75 percent of all prime-time network TV shows.
©2007 Jon Burlingame