Yesterday, the 17th World Soundtrack Awards were awarded in Ghent. Jóhann Jóhannsson and Rupert Gregson-Williams won Best Film Composer of the Year and Best Television Composer of the Year respectively, while David Shire received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his entire career. Guest of honour during the concert following the awards ceremony was jazz composer Terence Blanchard.
Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who previously scored such films as ‘Sicario’ and ‘The Theory of Everything’, was awarded Best Film Composer of the Year for Dennis Villeneuve’s feature ‘Arrival’. Best Television Composer of the Year went to Rupert Gregson-Williams (‘Veep’, ‘Wonder Woman’) for scoring the Netflix-original drama series ‘The Crown’.
The track City of Stars from ‘La La Land’, written by ‘Whiplash’-composer Justin Hurwitz, was awarded Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film, while Nicholas Britell was voted this year’s Discovery of the Year for his Oscar-nominated score for ‘Moonlight’. The budding composer’s portfolio also includes music for ‘The Big Short’, Natalie Portman’s directorial debut ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ and ‘Battle of the Sexes’ among others.
Having scored Hilde Van Mieghem’s feature ‘Speechless’, Belgian jazz pianist Jef Neve won the award for Best Original Score for a Belgian Production, while American composer Gavin Brivik took home the SABAM Award for the Most Original Composition by a Young International Composer. Finally, the Public Choice Award was presented to ‘Slumdog Millionaire’-composer A.R. Rahman for creating the music for Gurinder Chadha’s ‘Viceroy’s House’.
David Shire was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award, acknowledging his considerable and varied contribution to film music. During his impressive career, Shire worked with such great American directors as Francis Ford Coppola (‘The Conversation’), Alan J. Pakula (‘All the President’s Men’), George A. Romero (‘Monkey Shines’), David Fincher (‘Zodiac’) and Martin Ritt for whom he wrote the Oscar-winning music score of ‘Norma Rae’. Although his scores are often jazz influenced, Shire regularly showed proof of his versatility by scoring films like ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘Raid on Entebbe’.
The Awards Gala was followed by a concert performed by Brussels Philharmonic, conducted by Dirk Brossé and accompanied by film fragments on the big screen. Central guest was jazz composer Terence Blanchard, known for his long-running collaboration with director Spike Lee for whom he scored such films as ‘Malcolm X’, ‘Clockers’ and ‘Inside Man’. During the concert, Blanchard also performed work from the HBO documentary ‘When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts’ and ‘Red Tails’. In addition to Blanchard, 2016's Discovery of the Year winner Joe Kraemer (‘Jack Reacher’, ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’) and Shire also performed.
Held on 19 October, the Symphonic Jazz in Film Concert sees the best symphonic jazz soundtracks of the past century accompanied by film clips on the big screen, performed by Brussels Philharmonic and Brussels Jazz Orchestra. Together, they’ll perform catchy scores from ‘The Pink Panther’ over ‘Bullitt’ to ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’.