Oscar-nominated, Grammy- and Emmy-winning composer Alan Silvestri received BMI’s Icon Award Wednesday night at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. His was the top honor among dozens distributed by the performing-rights society. The evening was a who’s-who of composers, songwriters and music supervisors active in films and TV. Variety asked me to cover the event, so I managed to sneak in a little time with the composer of Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, TV’s Cosmos and so much more. Among others in attendance: Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy), Brian Tyler (Fate of the Furious), the legendary Mike Post (Law & Order), W.G. Snuffy Walden (The West Wing) and many others. Excerpts from my red-carpet interviews are included in this video.
One of the most fun things I get to do involves presenting film-music events for the American Youth Symphony, one of the country’s finest ensembles of young musicians. Saturday night, at UCLA’s Royce Hall, they performed — under the baton of the brilliant music director David Newman — the entire score for Back to the Future, live to picture. It was a pleasure to conduct the pre-concert Q&A with writer-producer Bob Gale and composer Alan Silvestri, both of whom were informative and funny in discussing their work on the 1985 classic starring Michael J. Fox. The feeling in the sold-out hall was positively electric, and those involved with the event said that they had never seen such an enthusiastic response to Back to the Future – Live in Concert.
Talk about a fun assignment: Last night, the Los Angeles Philharmonic played Alan Silvestri’s music for the 1985 film Back to the Future “live to picture,” with the estimable David Newman conducting. It was a near-sellout with more than 16,000 people attending, and the crowd cheered every iconic moment in the time-travel romp starring Michael J. Fox. I interviewed the composer about his memories of scoring Back to the Future — which was only his second opportunity to write for orchestra — and why he wrote another 20 minutes of music specifically for these live presentations.