Jóhannsson, Britell WSA Winners

Jazz Concert at WSA Ghent

Closing night jazz concert at Ghent. (Photo courtesy World Soundtrack Awards)

Jóhann Jóhannsson, Nicholas Britell and Rupert Gregson-Williams were the big winners at 17th World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent, Belgium Wednesday. Jóhannsson took honors as best film composer of the year for Arrival and Gregson-Williams, who scored The Crown was voted top television composer.

David Shire received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his entire career. Guest of honor during the concert following the Oct. 18 awards ceremony was jazz composer Terence Blanchard.

Prior to scoring Dennis Villeneuve’s Arrival Icelandic composer Jóhannsson had worked on films as Sicario and The Theory of Everything. Gregson-Williams, who also scored the TV series Veep was best known in 2017 for his work on the feature film Wonder Woman.

The track City of Stars from La La Land, written by Whiplash-composer Justin Hurwitz, was awarded best original song written for film, while 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.

On Oct. 19, the Symphonic Jazz in Film Concert saw 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 performed works from the scores to The Pink Panther, Bullitt and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? among others. The World Soundtrack Awards and Film Fest Ghent ran Oct. 10-20.

To view complete nominees click here.

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