Director M. Night Shyamalan and composer Hans Zimmer both sent personal greetings to the Vienna Concert Hall that were delivered to an emotional James Newton Howard on stage by Hollywood in Vienna founder, Sandra Tomek. Hans Zimmer graciously expressed his admiration for his colleague and for his music, and Shyamalan exclaimed how Howard brings so much talent to his films.
After a beautiful tribute conducted by Keith Lockhart of the Boston Pops Orchestra and performed by the prestigious ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra, James Newton Howard received the “Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award” from Norbert Kettner, Managing Director of the Vienna Tourism Board. The award is meant to be a symbol of recognition for exceptional achievements in the art of film music, by the City of Vienna. In his acceptance speech James Newton Howard thanked Hollywood in Vienna and the City of Vienna, the music capital of the world and a place he’s always dreamed of, for this distinct honor and furthermore expressed his gratitude for this meaningful award.
World premieres of several of James Newton Howard’s pieces were performed live, including “The Hanging Tree” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, which touched the composer and brought him not only to tears but also up on his feet for a standing ovation. In addition, selections from Maleficent and Blood Diamond had their concert debut.
The first part of the concert titled, “Tales of Mystery,” took the over 1.800 audience members on a journey to the unknown. Stunning visuals, a hauntingly beautiful lighting design and gripping musical performances, including “Signs”, “The Addams Family” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” transported the attendees into the twilight zone.
Three different choirs and an array of soloists, led by 16-time Grammy nominee Brian McKnight made the Film Music Gala an unforgettable event. The guests, including composer Richard Bellis (“IT”) and the U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Alexa Wesner, cheered the talent and the producers after a successful show.