The Film Music Society FMS FEATURE ARTICLE...

May 2, 2003
Patrick Williams, Hans Zimmer Honored
by Jon Burlingame

Two major figures on the contemporary film and television music scene were honored at separate events earlier this week in Beverly Hills, California: On Tuesday, Patrick Williams received the Golden Score Award from the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC); while on Wednesday, Hans Zimmer received the Henry Mancini Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Williams, an Oscar-nominated composer and Grammy-winning arranger, is perhaps best known for his television music, which has won him four Emmys. Fans of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the original Bob Newhart Show, Lou Grant and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd will remember his weekly scores for those small-screen classics.

He is also the only Hollywood composer currently working who has been nominated for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in music – for his 1976 "American Concerto," still one of the most successful efforts at combining jazz with symphonic music in a single coherent work.

Singers Patti Austin and Monica Mancini, and drummer Gregg Field, were among those saluting Williams at the dinner, attended by over 100 members of L.A.'s composing and arranging elite. Ginny Mancini, widow of famed composer Henry Mancini, spoke about Williams' latest high-profile gig as the artistic director of the Henry Mancini Institute.

The Institute offers talented young instrumentalists from around the country an opportunity to spend the summer working together as a professional orchestra, with Williams (and other major film and TV composers) as conductor and mentor.

At Wednesday's ASCAP Film & TV Awards, Zimmer became the first composer to receive the highest award given by both major performing-rights organizations. BMI had presented him with its Richard Kirk Award in 1996; shortly thereafter, he changed affiliations to ASCAP.

A six-time Academy Award nominee for such diverse films as Rain Man, As Good As It Gets, The Thin Red Line and Gladiator, he won an Oscar in 1994 for scoring The Lion King. He also has three Grammy Awards (two for The Lion King, one for Crimson Tide).

Joining Zimmer onstage were two frequent partners in filmmaking: director James L. Brooks (As Good As It Gets) and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg (The Prince of Egypt, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron). Both praised him as a musician and collaborator, and cited his Media Ventures studio as a place where he has made younger composers feel welcome and part of a team.

ASCAP also honored dozens of other composers for their contributions to film and TV in 2002. Among those picking up awards were James Newton Howard (Signs, ER), Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers), Marco Beltrami (Blade 2, The Practice), Dan Foliart (8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter), Sean Callery (24), Alf Clausen (The Simpsons), Bruce Broughton and Steve Bramson (JAG), Michael Skloff (Friends) and Russ Landau (Survivor, Fear Factor).

© 2003 Jon Burlingame