BMI Honors Terence Blanchard and William Ross at 2019 Film, TV & Visual Media Awards

Terence Blanchard and William Ross
Lester Cohen/Getty Images for BMI

BMI Icon Award recipient Terence Blanchard and BMI Classic Contribution Award recipient William Ross attend the 35th annual BMI Film, TV & Visual Media Awards on May 15, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Broadcast Music, Inc celebrated film composer and jazz musician Terence Blanchard and composer William Ross Wednesday night at the BMI Film, TV & Visual Media Awards, honoring them with the BMI Icon Award and Classic Contribution Award, respectively. The private ceremony was hosted by BMI vp creative of film, TV and visual media Doreen Ringer-Ross and BMI president and CEO Mike O'Neill at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Blanchard, a five-time Grammy award winner and most recently an Oscar nominee for his music in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlaansman, was showered with praise by his peers with the formal recognition for his significant contributions to the cinematic community. Blanchard's work also includes scores on films such as Malcolm XWhen the Levees Broke, Eve's BayouTalk to MeRed Tails and Barbershop.

After a video tribute from Blanchard's colleagues, O'Neill presented Blanchard with the prestigious Icon Award, noting the honor was "reserved for extraordinary members of the BMI family, whose artistry has had an unparalleled impact on both music lovers and music creators." O'Neill continued to say, "You've humbly said that you stand on the shoulders of musical legends. Well Terence, I hope you've been working out and exercising your shoulders, because there are many you will need to carry who aspire to your legacy." 

"What makes Terence truly exceptional, is the way that his riveting music makes powerful statements about American tragedies that must not be forgotten, while also encouraging all of us to heal," O'Neill told the audience. "While music has changed your life, in turn your music has certainly changed ours."

Blanchard recieved a standing ovation as he made his way to the stage to accept his award. In recieving this recognition, Blanchard joins an elite group of previous BMI Icon recipients including Alan Silvestri, James Newton Howard, Alexandre Desplat, Rachel Portman, David Newman, Thomas Newman, Danny Elfman, Harry Gregson-Williams and John Williams, among others.

"The most rewarding thing is when you work with great people and you work on great projects. [Recieving this award] was something I wasn't expecting honestly," Blanchard told Billboard before the ceremony. "For me it's a very powerful thing and for them to honor me tonight in this way, I can't even put it into words." 

Earlier in the evening, Ross was honored with the Classic Contribution Award for his skills as an arranger, orchestrator, conductor and composer across film, the recording industry and television. His works include scores for The Tale of Despereaux, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas and Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, among others. The award's past recipients include Rick Baitz, Lucas Richman, Peter Golub, Mike Post, Chris Montan, David Newman and Terence Blanchard.

Many other composers also recieved awards throughout the night for music featured in categories such as the past year's top-grossing films, top-rated network television series and highest-ranking cable network and streamed media programs. Nathan Barr, Tyler Bates, Ludwig Göransson, Harry Gregson-Williams, Mark Mothersbaugh, Mac Quayle, Rob Simonsen and Brian Tyler all took home multiple awards, while Atli Örvarsson topped them all with a total of four crystal statuettes for his work on the hit TV shows Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and FBI.

"It's all about feeling like you're fresh and like your ideas can flow. I think it's absolutely essential to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, whatever that might be," Örvasson told Billboard. "I love to write music away from an instrument or away from a computer, and just keep searching for new ideas."