The Film Music Society FMS FEATURE ARTICLE...

April 23, 2004
ASCAP Honors Shore, Eastwood
Rings composer and famed director feted by peers and colleagues

by Jon Burlingame

Composer Howard Shore, ASCAP President Marilyn Bergman and Director Clint Eastwood
Photo courtesy of ASCAP
Composer Howard Shore, ASCAP President Marilyn Bergman and Director Clint Eastwood

Photo courtesy of ASCAP
The Lord of the Rings composer Howard Shore received the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ Henry Mancini Award for lifetime achievement at the performing-rights organization's annual Film and Television Awards dinner Wednesday night in Beverly Hills, California.

Hundreds of ASCAP composers and music publishers attended the black-tie gala, which included awards for several other composers based on the popularity of their themes and underscores in movies and TV shows.

Also honored, with ASCAP's Opus Award, was director Clint Eastwood, "for recognizing the singular contribution of music to film."

Shore, who has three Academy Awards and two Grammys for his music for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, said that he was honored to receive the award in large part because of his admiration for Mancini.

He revealed that Mancini had originally been scheduled to score Ed Wood but that the composer, who was ill with cancer at the time, could not undertake the assignment and it went to Shore. Shore dedicated the score to Mancini, who died in 1994.

Before the dinner, Shore said that he had completed 50 minutes of new music for The Return of the King DVD; that he expects to score Martin Scorsese's The Aviator later this year; and that he is continuing to conduct his Lord of the Rings symphony at concerts around the world.

Director David Cronenberg (with whom Shore has done 10 films) sent a congratulatory note. Video greetings were supplied by producer Lorne Michaels (for whom Shore did the first few seasons of Saturday Night Live) and directors Scorsese (who praised his "range and sensitivity") and Peter Jackson (who lauded Shore's "commitment and artistic vision... brilliant work under extreme pressure" for the LOTR trilogy).

Director Penny Marshall appeared in person and delivered a comical speech about working with Shore on Big.

ASCAP President Marilyn Bergman praised Eastwood as "a director who has shown a deep understanding of the contribution of music to film." Herbie Hancock, Eastwood's composer on Round Midnight, spoke about the experience, and Jack Sheldon's big band played "Claudia's Theme" from Unforgiven, which Eastwood wrote.

In accepting his award, Eastwood acknowledged the work of his longtime friend and composer Lennie Niehaus by saying, "You can be a composer, but you've got to have a great arranger."

A series of clips from recent films featuring Eastwood's own compositions included Unforgiven, A Perfect World, True Crime, The Bridges of Madison County and Mystic River.

Monica Mancini, honoring her father (who would have been 80 last week), sang "Two for the Road" and "Dear Heart."

Among the many composers accepting awards for their music in current films was director-composer Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over), who told the crowd that "the score represents the soul of a movie. Don't let it become an afterthought. Demand on your projects that you be brought in earlier."

For a complete list of award recipients, visit

© 2004 Jon Burlingame