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Cathy Applefeld Olson
These music department heads from five major film studios had knockout years -- and are sharing their favorite moments.
Danielle DiegoExecutive vp/head of music, 20th Century Fox
Year in Review: Diego, who started at Fox 23 years ago, worked on Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit and Spies in Disguise, among other films this year. “The most rewarding part of the job is collaborating with incredible filmmakers to help them realize their musical vision, and ultimately, their film,” says Diego. “We get to be in the process from the predevelopment stage all the way to final delivery, so it’s a complete journey that ends with something tangible that we can be proud of.”
Favorite 2019 Score: Michael Giacchino’s Jojo Rabbit
Randy SpendlovePresident of worldwide music and publishing, Paramount
Year in Review: Working on the music for Rocketman was “a long and complicated load,” but also exhilarating, says Spendlove, who started at Paramount 13 years ago. “Working with Elton [John], Giles Martin, Taron [Egerton] and the director, Dexter Fletcher, was one of those very rare moments in our career -- it happened with Chicago and Dreamgirls and now Rocketman,” he says. “You think the whole thing is going to fall apart -- then something magical happens.”
Favorite 2019 Score: Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Joker
Spring AspersPresident, Sony
Year in Review: Tapping Ariana Grande to executive-produce the soundtrack to the latest Charlie’s Angels was a highlight for Aspers in 2019. “Ariana pulled together this very diverse group of women for the music, and I love that it portrays a future for young women that’s really strong,” she says. “It’s very empowering, and that’s the point of that movie -- that people find hope and empowerment. That is where soundtracks can be so personal. Music can get you straight in the heart.”
Favorite 2019 Soundtrack: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Mike KnoblochPresident of global film music and music publishing, Universal
Year in Review: Nearly a decade into his tenure at Universal, working on Cats this year was momentous for Knobloch. Of the collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Taylor Swift for “Beautiful Ghosts,” he says, “It’s such a tall order to take a legendary body of work, like his music for Cats, and add a new song to it… The way it plays in the film like it was always meant to be there is just stunning.”
Favorite 2019 Scores: Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Chernobyl and Nicholas Britell’s Succession
Paul BroucekPresident of music, Warner Bros.
Year in Review: Broucek takes pride in the fact that everyone on his creative team comes from a music supervision background -- himself included. “The day that I can’t work on films and I just have to be an executive is probably the day when I go, ‘Well, what else can I do?’ ” says Broucek. “I just love the whole film process, working with the directors and with the composer.” Broucek, who worked on The Goldfinch and Joker this year, came to Warner Bros. 10 years ago from New Line.
Favorite 2019 Score: Trevor Gureckis’ The Goldfinch
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 16 issue of Billboard.
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