First Artists Partners Leaving to Form New Agency, Fortress Talent Management

Robert Messinger, Rich Jacobellis and Randy Gerston bring with them composers Howard Shore ("The Hobbit"), Gustavo Santaolalla ("Brokeback Mountain") and Philip Glass ("The Hours"), among others.

Robert Messinger, a partner and owner at First Artists Management, the music agency representing such Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning composers as Mychael Danna (Life of Pi), Howard Shore (The Hobbit), Gustavo Santaolalla (Brokeback Mountain), Philip Glass (The Hours) and Clint Mansell (Black Swan), among others, is leaving the firm, along with Rich Jacobellis and Randy Gerston, to form Fortress Talent Management.

The full-service boutique agency, like First Artists, will represent composers and music supervisors for visual media and be based out of Calabasas, Calif.

May the 4th Be With You: Remembering the Bizarre 'Star Wars' No. 1 Disco Hit

Among the music supervisors Fortress will represent are Alexandra Patsavas, Liza Richardson, Kevin Edelman, Tracy McKnight, Wendy Levy and Gary Calamar.

The company is currently working on several stage musicals, including Pan's Labyrinth and Like Water for Chocolate. It also boasts projects in the gaming world.

Says Messinger in a statement announcing the new firm: "We are thrilled to begin this new adventure and to seek out the next generation of great storytellers from around the world. In a time of fundamental change in the film, television and music industries, one thing that remains constant is our commitment to our clients and the value they bring to each project."

Prior to First Artists, Messinger was a founder and svp at Blue Focus Management, where he worked with Jacobellis. Messinger began his career as a publicist at IRS Records, label home to R.E.M.

Gerston comes to the film world from a career as a music executive, working in studios and A&R-ing in addition to holding music supervisor titles for more than 25 films including James Cameron's Titanic.

This article first appeared on


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.