Jul 13

Composers React to Emmy Nominations

via Billboard by

Thursday’s (July 13) Emmy Awards nominations highlighted the work of several top composers and, for the first time, music supervisors, who got their own category this year.

Billboard reached out for reaction from a number of nominees, who revealed how they found out about their nod and what made their music stand out:

JEFF BEAL
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series: House of Cards 
“I was home getting ready to start my writing day when my publicist called me with this news. It sounds strange to say, having won an  Emmy Award already for House of Cards, but I am incredibly surprised to be recognized with a nomination for Season 5. It just shows that people are still invested in the Underwoods, and I am genuinely proud to be along for the ride. For me, Season 5 was about the ascent of Claire Underwood and Frank’s secret self-immolation. This episode, [Chapter 63],was pivotal for both of these characters. I loved the way Claire becomes a fourth wall breaking character, and Frank seems increasingly paranoid — this sense of lying, and breakdown of trust amongst every one in the West Wing, which now in today’s climate doesn’t feel so atypical.”

MAC QUAYLE
Outstanding original main title theme music: Feud: Bette and Joan
Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special: Feud: Bette and Joan
“My publicist called me to tell me. This is the third year in a row with a nomination, so if I see her name show up on my phone it’s good news. The theme was the first thing I wrote. The idea from the beginning was that the music should evoke 1960s Hollywood, which pretty much meant an orchestral sound,  and would bring us back to the era and pay homage to great composers like Bernard Herrmann and Henry Mancini, as well as would help tell the story of the feud between these two great actors and the sad story of how they would treated by Hollywood. It’s not a small order, but it’s pretty defined. With the theme, what was unusual was I am usually given the visuals and write to that, but here, all I was given were some stills and then they animated the stills to the music. [For the score], I chose the pilot as the submission because I felt it really established the themes and it had some of the groovy, fun jazz stuff that we did for a lot of the episodes.”

LORNE BALFE
Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music: Genius
“You’re talking to a man with a very heavy case of jet lag,” says Balfe, who arrived in London this morning and was trying to catch a few winks before heading to the Dunkirk premiere tonight when he got the news. “My publicist woke me up to tell me  and now I think I’m going to fight through my jet lag and go get a drink.” Balfe and Hans Zimmer wrote the main theme for the series for [executive producer] Ron Howard after “a lot of talking and more talking. When it’s the main title, you can spend more time talking than the theme actually lasts. The music was very important to Ron. It was part of the DNA because other than woman chasing and solving theories, music was a very important part of Einstein’s life. We knew there was going to be more than one Genius, so it had to be not just about Einstein, but about the concept of being a genius.”

JEFF RUSSO
Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special: Fargo
“Paul Doucette from Matchbox Twenty, who’s one of my closest friends tweeted that I’d been nominated and then he texted me. The nominations were announced way faster this year, I hadn’t been looking yet,” says Russo who is celebrating his third nomination for the music for Fargo in three years. “This season we talked a lot about  Russian-feeling music and Russian composers and I really connected to that a lot. I think the particular episode submitted is a very emotional episode.  It’s the penultimate episode and a lot of things become very clear, not the least of which is Carrie Coons’ character has a big cathartic moment. It  was super emotional and the one closest to my heart.”

RUPERT GREGSON-WILLIAMS
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series: The Crown
I found out about my nomination after receiving multiple phone calls from colleagues and friends while I was “writing the score for the latest series of The Crown. What made the nomination extremely special is that working on The Crownand with Stephen Daldry and Peter Morgan is such a creatively rewarding experience.The episode that was submitted entitled Hyde Park Corner is brilliantly written and performed and deals with the death of the King which had such an important effect on the politics of the world at the time.”

JEREMY TURNER
Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special: Five Came Back
I was on a trail run this morning, and when I got back to my car there was a congratulatory text from my wife with a photo of her and our newborn, both smiling. I began working on Five Came Back just before the holidays, with very little runway left in the schedule so it was a real race. But the finish line for me was recording the score at Warner Bros, having friends fly in from all over to be a part of the orchestra. That was truly special.”

GARY LIONELLI
Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special: O.J.: Made In America
“I was at my computer but had actually forgotten to check when I saw a Google News headline that the Emmy nominations were just out. I was pretty stunned to read my name when I scrolled down. I feel incredibly honored to have received this nomination, and I’m thrilled so many others associated with the film have gotten nominations, too. It’s all a very strange turn of events — from watching the Bronco chase live on TV with the rest of America more than 20 years ago to so many years later scoring the exact scene, play by play. So the challenge was how to score such an epic real-life event that everyone is so familiar with and not oversensationalize it or trivialize it in any way. I decided to focus on the overall tragedy of the circumstances and let that direct the course of the music. The feelings from that time are something no one who remembers the events will forget, and I know my own feelings from that time came through when I was writing.”

MARTIN PHIPPS
Original Music Composition for a Series, Victoria
Original Main Title Theme Music, Victoria
“Totally delighted to get 2 nominations for Victoria, especially the title music. Writing music for a memorable title sequence has been an ambition since childhood days. My youngest daughter recently came home from school saying that the girl next to her was humming the theme under her breath. Job done!”

KYLE DIXON and MICHAEL STEIN
Original Main Title Theme Music, Stranger Things
“I was on the way to the dentist when I heard the news,” said Dixon in a statement. “Glad I wasn’t already in the chair or I would have missed the call!.” “We’re thrilled to be nominated!” added Stein. “It’s a great feeling to be included alongside so many other great composers.  It is an honor and a treat.  Cheers!”

JASHA KLEBE
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series, Planet Earth II
“My mother had the privilege of breaking the news to  me, when she screamed into the phone early this morning,” says Klebe, who scored the series with Jacob Shea. “It’s just such an honor to be recognized, but we would be nothing without the remarkable team that brought us this unbelievable footage.”

NORA FELDER
Outstanding Music Supervision,  Stranger Things
Wow!!!! I feel like I just entered a parallel universe! Such fantastic news to be included in this historical Emmy first that acknowledges music supervisors as the music warriors that they are,” Felder said in a statement. “Stranger Things is a huge phenomenon, and its a honor to be a part of the casting process of  one of the shows main characters: The Music!”