Composer Laurence Rosenthal is set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 23rd edition of the World Soundtrack Awards, which takes place as the concluding event of Film Fest Gent on Saturday 21 October. The 50th edition of the festival crowns two grandmasters of the world of film music in its anniversary year. Earlier, it was announced that Italian composer Nicola Piovani will be a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award as well.
A veteran composer for film, television and theatre, Laurence Rosenthal has been a musical force for decades and has built a distinguished career since the fifties. In his more than six decades-spanning career, the American composer has written music for over a hundred films and television shows, such as George Lucas’ The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992) and its subsequent TV movies, earning him critical acclaim and countless accolades, including three additional Emmys, to go with his previous four.
Born in Detroit in 1926, Rosenthal began his music studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Upon graduation, he moved to Paris to study composition with Nadia Boulanger and to Salzburg to learn conducting at the Mozarteum. Later, while serving in the U.S. Air Force, he was chief composer in the Air Force Documentary Film Squadron. After his military service, he went back to New York and began composing for Broadway theatre and motion pictures. Rosenthal’s early work for feature films include the scores for Daniel Petrie’s A Raisin in the Sun (1961) and Arthur Penn’s Oscar-winning film The Miracle Worker (1962).
In the 60s, Rosenthal had a strong creative partnership with actor-director Peter Glenville, for whom he wrote three original film scores, starting with a film version of Becket in 1964 that earned Rosenthal an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score, and continuing with two other successful features, Hotel Paradiso (1966) and The Comedians (1967). Rosenthal’s first collaboration with Glenville was an exotic score for a Broadway theatrical version of the classic Japanese film of Kurosawa, Rashomon. The composer picked up a second Oscar nomination in 1972 with the score for Arthur Hiller’s Man of La Mancha. Other highly acclaimed film scores include The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977), Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979), Clash of the Titans (1981), and the last film of both Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott, Inherit the Wind (1999).
Rosenthal has composed extensively for television, winning seven Emmy Awards. His first Emmy win was his score for the NBC documentary Michelangelo: The Last Giant (1965). His compositions for TV mini series Peter the Great (1986), Anastasia (1986) and The Bourne Identity (1988) also won Emmy Awards. Rosenthal’s arguably best-known work for television however, is the triple Emmy-winning music for the popular series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and its complementary TV films, along with the iconic Fantasy Island (1977). Rosenthal’s classic original Fantasy Island theme is once again being heard in the 2021 reboot of the series from Fox, now in its second season.